The translation profession is not exactly widely recognised as a global necessity. Translators are associated with lonely chambers where skilled humans type away only to give away their art without much attention or recognition. Nowadays, consumers and readers don’t need to know where a product or a book is coming from because close to everything is being translated. Translator’s names are barely known – except for within the industry or when a translator is already famous for another reason, such as being an author – or even printed next to the original writer’s name.
But why is that? Are translators really considered merely a means to global expansion or reaching targeted markets? That sounds ironic. Translators offer businesses access to a whole new consumer and gain authors an additional readership.
Personally, I do not agree with translating being a silent profession, nor should it be thought of as such. Translation is present all around us every day. From the foods we buy in the supermarket to the films we watch, books we read, machines we use and objects we surround ourselves with. It is silently screaming at us everyday. It is the foundation to sharing knowledge across language borders. In fact, the accuracy of a translation can mean the difference between life and death, peace and corruption, or simply globalisation and pre-globalisation.
Just take a moment to envision a world without translation. What would it look like? What would it feel like, smell like? What would you know what wouldn’t you know? What would you eat? Drink? Dress in? Work with?
What can you do? When you work with translators, acknowledge their skill, create a workable timeframe, put their name on the product (with their consent, of course) and value their time by reimbursing them with an acceptable rate.