It was mostly by chance. In high school, I had planned to take a Russian class at the local university, but at the last minute the teacher was unable to come and the class was canceled. The same university offered a beginner Japanese class taught by a Taiwanese instructor so I took that instead.
I was always better at reading than speaking. I started reading books in Japanese before I could even have a proper conversation. (Even now, my conversation skills are not the best.) I tried translating, and was happy to have the opportunity to put my reading skills to good use.
I have studied many languages in the past, although I have forgotten most of them now. Based on my experience, Japanese is somewhat unique in that the initial barrier in learning the basics is high, but once you are past that it is all quite enjoyable. With other languages, the beginning was much easier, but it became much more difficult and frustrating when I reached the intermediate levels.
There is such a wide variety of materials, and each offers a glimpse into a different world. Translating is just one job, but I enjoy the fact that it can be put to use in so many highly different fields. Of course, there are also many difficult points. One is that, just like in English, the styles of writing vary a lot depending on the individual. While there are many writing styles that are extremely clear, there are also a few which require much effort to see clearly what the writer is actually trying to say.
I look forward to translating in all kinds of fields, both those I work in regularly and those which are completely new.