September 30 of each year is International Translation Day. This year, we are celebrating International Translation Day with ten themes highlighting this industry. Some will be funny, others heartwarming— we hope to generate discussion about a field focused on being undetectable, and interest even non-translators and interpreters to join the conversation. You can follow our updates on Twitter @ALLTRADIS or follow our discussion by following #ALLTRADISt9nDay.
If there is one overarching theme we saw in the last ten days, it is that language goes beyond a collection of letters and words on a page. Translation, therefore, not only converts letters and words, but renders culture, and history, and identity.
To wrap up a week of translations and interpretation past and present, we are going to explore some game-changing aspects of the industry in years to come.
Improvement of instant translation
On Day 3, we saw some hilarious examples of translation errors. It is safe to say that in the near future, there will be fewer ghastly mistakes. Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are among some of the biggest corporations investing into language barrier-free future with computer translators.
Translation by Google Translate is every language instructor and translation professional’s nightmare. It is mechanic, incoherent, and soulless. However, this may not be the case in the near future: big bucks corporations are investing considerable amount of its resources to perfect the art of machine translation with a goal to break down the language barrier.
Why do people use machine translations? They are fast, convenient, and most of all, cheap. Many businesses are already opting for far-from-perfect results from Google Translate for its convenience and cost. Once free options like Google Translate can closely imitate work that of a human translator’s, the demand for human translators will inevitably decline.
However, technological advancements are not all bad news for translation professionals. Translators of tomorrow will have access to infinite number tools and resources, and in more languages. This will inevitably increase the productivity and quality of human translations. There will be loads of more tools available to translators, allowing them to work faster and more effectively.
Increase in international business
Gone are the days of unilingual, single-market business. With the advent of the Internet and online commerce, political borders no longer govern businesses. More companies launch international campaigns, partner with organizations of different countries, branch out to other countries, or target multicultural clients in their mother tongues. For example, look no further than Coca-Cola’s 2014 Super bowl commercial:
With increase of international contact, translation and interpretation at professional level will be required. English is currently the most used language in commerce. However, that may soon change. In rapid and consistent growth in the Chinese and Indian population, their language will inevitably become more prominent in the years to come.
Communicating the barebone minimum to be understood won’t be enough, too. As we saw on Day 3’s translation fails, many examples were understandable, though horribly obvious that they were not professionally translated. Going forward, demand for translation that is as thoughtful and artful as the original will be in demand.
Engagement with the developing world
Africa’s economy is growing at an undeniable pace. There is no doubt that the continent overlooked in the past will become a major player in the IT and engineering world. Gaining power industrially also means it will gain greater power in global politics, policies, and commerce.
Thus far, many Africans were communicated in English or French out of convenience. It may be cheaper and easier to do so, but this simple act denies them of their culture, and indirectly perpetuates imperialism.
Translator and Interpreter Training Head of European Parliament, Alison Graves mentioned the importance of allowing parliamentarians to speak their language and having native translators. Graves said, “People’s identity is often very much bound up with the language(s) they use. We need to allow people to express their identity.”
This speech was made in relation to the European Parliament. But with greater influence emerging from developing countries, their voice will be too loud to ignore. They will be heard, and they will be heard in their languages.
In the past 10 days, we explored various aspects of translation and interpretation—everything from its famous faces, its 15 seconds of fame, and its long history and relevance. Facing new technological and commercial frontiers, translation and interpretation will face new challenges. One thing is for sure—the industry has been here for a very long time, and it is here to stay.
What was your favourite post? Do you agree with our idea for translation and interpretation’s future? Why or why not?
Since its creation in 1995, Alltradis has translated over 19,000 written projects in various language combinations, organized simultaneous interpreting for the largest international conferences and gathered a long list of loyal clients. Alltradis has truly become a fundamental part of their success. We specialize in diverse industries such as; medical/pharmaceutical translation, cosmetic/luxury product translation, technical and industrial translation, marketing/finance/HR translation, legal translation, etc.
Many world leading companies trust our expertise – what are you waiting for? For more information, visit our website: www.alltradis.us