International Translation Day 2022
We 🧡 translation
Translation is the transfer of words and their meaning from one language to another. You might even say it’s a simple concept, one that in basic, practical terms enables people from different countries and cultures to communicate. Easy right?
Well in many ways, yes. It can certainly be pretty straightforward with AI-powered apps giving us the impression that translation is carried out in the blink of an eye and could be done by children in kindergarten. Of course, new technology is exciting and we’re not denying the marvels of recent advances in how artificial intelligence processes language, but translation is so much more than that.
Translation offers us infinite gateways into untold arenas of knowledge, culture and ideas that would otherwise be unreachable. It gives us glimpses into other lives, other experiences and other types of thinking that might, without translation, never have been known to us. It has shaped our world through the spread of religion and literature and it is a major enabler of all types of business on an international scale. Without translation, sharing scientific discovery would be nigh on impossible and the spread of technology unthinkable. The connection translation gives us to pivotal news and events all over the globe is vital and for aide work and diplomacy, it’s an indispensable tool.
And in all these cases – when it really matters – translation must be carried out by highly skilled linguists. Their work takes many forms.
Translators work with written language, interpreters with the spoken. Subtitlers, dubbers, content creators, localizers, international SEO consultants, sign language interpreters, transcreation specialists and many more, are all experts at moving meaning across languages and their work requires dedication, precision, dexterity and in-depth knowledge. They are the often unseen, and nearly always underappreciated, magicians of multilingual communication.
As we begin to properly understand the importance of safeguarding all the languages on our planet, whether they be spoken by one person or one billion, language and its translation have never been more important. Instead of championing a few global languages over thousands of others, we now recognise the value of each and every one and the richness they give to the expression of human experience. Translation offers us the means to achieve interaction between all these languages and in some cases, to keep them alive and flourishing.
So, on this International Day of Translation, t’works would like to raise a cup to all translators and everyone involved in the industry of translation across the globe. And we’d like to ask you to have a think about their work and maybe reflect on where we might be without translation and the people that practice it. The world might look a little different from the one we’re familiar with.
And for more insight into the realm of translation we would recommend taking a look at this edition of UNESCO’s online magazine, The Courier, which devotes most of its pages to this wonderful craft.