Sunday, October 3, 2021

All encompassing – translation and translators


[Unity puzzle*]

I had the privilege of participating as both a presenter and attendee in two online Translation Day conferences this week, specifically the three-day KTLC Conference in Poland and the two-day International TranslatorsDay 2021. Aside from being well-organized and highly informative, they presented quite a panoramic picture of the present and future of the language industry. The most striking image was how inclusive the industry is today in terms of the variety of roles available, the people involved and the actual importance of translation. These conferences left me with a sense of how broad the terms translation and translator can be.

[Rubik's cube]
First, the task of a translator is not necessarily limited to transferring the meaning of text from one language to another. For example, in a panel discussion in the event, Marina Ilari, Kate Edwards, Belén Agulló and Yuhei Nasu provided concrete examples how they have guided game companies in adjusting content in game content and script to create seamless international distribution. Gabriel Karandysovsky (KTLC) discussed the importance of listening to buyers when localizing content.  Nina Sattler-Hovda (Proz) provided a detailed explanation of the process and future of transcreation. Translators can even act as marketers as Isabella Nanni demonstrated in her presentation (Proz). Thus, the translation industry provides concrete opportunities for people with many types of talent and background.

[Multicolored toys]
More striking than the specific roles, it was eye-opening and encouraging to see how diverse the translator community is. The experts in all of the panel discussions I viewed were entirely or mainly women, each with decades of experience and confident in their skill. Two Africans, Osman Abdullahi and Dachiny Ewekengha (Proz), presented the story of their entry into the profession. In terms of age, the presenters reflected the entire spectrum, showing that the translation business is relatively free from ageism. Furthermore, these conferences provided more than enough information and tips to allow a complete novice to build a successful career. Many lecturers, including Andrzej Homańczyk and Zofia Owczarek from Kontekst Translations (KTLC), showed how it is possible to create and develop lucrative specializations. The translation industry truly is an equal opportunity employer.

[Opened lock]

Beyond the what and who, some presenters exposed the inspiring world of the why. Translation is not merely the technical representation of content. It also opens the world to the disadvantaged. Sabina Jasinska (KTLC) exposed the importance of means of Internet access to the disabled, temporarily and permanent. M. Paula Jacinto (Proz) discussed gender pronoun use and its importance, a highly debated issue worldwide today. My contribution was to highlight the importance and manner of translating legal language such that vast majority of the population can understand the contracts they sign. The message that these and other speakers reinforce is that proper translation matters and affects millions of people.

I regret that I was not able to mention or even attend many of the lectures that were presented. However, I completed this marathon with the strong belief that the language business is much more diverse in tasks, skills, people and social roles than it has ever been before. Anybody with a love of language, skill in a relevant area, a willingness to learn and a desire to make the world better can make it a career. Translation as an industry is truly encompassing.

* All pictures from Pixabay.

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