30th September is International Translation Day – a day close to our hearts. As a language service provider, ALM works with some seriously talented linguists who are passionate about their work.
International Translation Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the vital language services offered by translators and interpreters. This profession needs to be valued for the essential service it offers and the number of problems it solves for people.
Food for thought
Try to imagine a world without translators. Today is a great opportunity to think about the role of translation in the world and where we would be without it.
“The limits of my language are the limits of my world” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
Translators and language service providers are the unsung heroes of commerce and industry, as well as serving in diplomatic situations, essential talks, war zones, hospitals and in many important negotiations that shape our world.
Translators also translate some of the world’s most famous literature and provide subtitles so we can enjoy international films. They enable us to communicate globally, whether it’s on social media, even face to face or even in virtual meetings.
With Brexit looming, the one certainty among all the continued uncertainty is that translators will be more in demand than ever and their services will start to be valued by the people who engage them.
We simply don’t have enough qualified professional translators, and language courses are being drastically cut in schools and universities. With the speed of change we’re experiencing this century, this is going to create a problem sooner than people realise.
Currently, language service providers, whether they are freelance translators or businesses and their in-house teams, believe that we do not shout about how great we are and the value we add in industry and in the world. This is why International Translation Day is the ideal opportunity to spread awareness.
Translation services add value
People value the work done by professionals with years of experience and expertise, such as doctors, consultants, lawyers and other essential roles, and yet linguists, who are highly educated and have excellent language skills as well as superior subject matter knowledge in various fields are not valued in the same way. Currently, translation is mostly bought on price. This needs to be readdressed and translators and interpreters need to be valued in the same way as any other essential services and their value recognised and compensated accordingly.
Combined with AI and translation technology, translation services will soon be able to reach larger audiences, produce more translation in a faster time. Time is such a precious commodity and this combination should enable translation to have an even greater reach, for the benefit of everyone.
A popular misconception is that, as English is the lingua franca of business, it’s fine to sell and communicate using English alone. Research shows that consumers still prefer to buy in their own language. As buying becomes more sophisticated, this will become an expectation. Microsoft already translates into every feasible language in the world. This vast corporation has the budget to do this, but they have also weighed up the benefits this investment will reap. We need to understand that, in the future, consumers won’t settle for anything less.