Advancement in technology is not elusive to the translation industry. Translators are exposed to Computer-aided translation (CAT) tools and other localization programs which make them more efficient in carrying out their tasks. To some extent, translating has become automated that it may feel like an equally automated, stoic profession.
On the contrary, translation is not as monotonous as it seems. Believe it or not, translation involves feelings. It needs our attention, energy, and dedication. It needs our love. Yes, as cheesy as it seems, there is romance in translation. In fact, there are a lot of parallelisms between translation and love more than we consider. Let us look at some of the qualities of love that can be found in translation.
Translation is patient.
Translators deal with hundreds or thousands of words most of the time. They can be in front of the computer for more than eight hours just dealing with words. At times, the source text may not be easy to understand. They are always not perfect. There are times when the source file itself contains grammatical errors or may have incoherent thought. Jargons may be used that do not have an exact equivalent in another language. The topic, the length, or the tight deadline may frustrate a translator. It is in these challenges that translators develop the patience to continuously understand the wholeness of the file and overcome all adversities. Patience is what will get a translator through a project, especially the tough ones.
Translation is faithful.
“Source” and “Target” can be considered the main couple in the field of translation. It is important that the target word or message remains faithful to the source word in order for them to be a perfect match. It is true that one word can be translated in more ways than one as there are more than one synonym for every word. However, no matter how many choices are available, the translator must not lose sight of the right translation. It should be accurate and used in the proper context. Accuracy is everything in translation after all.
Translation needs understanding.
Without understanding, translations will not work out. It will not happen. In any given project, whether it is a simple letter of invitation or a manual for the assembly of an aircraft, translators need to have a full understanding of the terms and context of the files in order to effectively relay the message in another language.
Translation requires an open communication.
Translators are not alone in the pursuit of excellent translation. Open communication between the translator and the client is essential, since it is the latter who best understands the file. The client may entrust the file to the translator but the former still has the full ownership. The client must make his preferences clear so that the translations delivered suit their style. A style guide, if available, will work wonders especially for highly specialized documents.
Translation should be trustworthy.
Although humans are born to make mistakes, this should not apply in translations. One mistranslation may lead to conflict between nations (read: “We will bury you” incident between Russia and the U.S.) or worse, may cost lives with a mistake in an instruction manual for a medical procedure. Therefore, a responsible translator proofreads and edits his or her work prior to submission to avoid embarrassing or even fatal mistakes. A clean record will build trust among clients, making them stay for a long time. Universal rule is, people stick with the ones they can trust.
Translation is a commitment.
Once a translator gives a resounding “Yes” to a project, he or she agrees to a long-term commitment. The client, after choosing among dozens of ardent translators, entrusts his precious file to that one translator who best fits his requirements. This thought alone is enough reason for the translator to take all measures to reciprocate that trust. Along with each project is a deadline to meet and instructions or style guides to follow. Upon sealing the deal with the client, the translator is committed not only to deliver on time but also to make sure that the translation is something they can depend on. Submission is not even the end of it. Compromises may be made due to preferences, thus, revisions are inevitable. Concerns may arise after submission so it is important for the translator to have the same passion when translating in the beginning.
Technology will continue to advance and so will the translation industry. More programs will be developed that may challenge the industry itself. However, no matter how much the times will change, translators will remain relevant since language is dynamic in itself. A forever in love may be debatable but in translation, there is forever. A translator may retire from the service but his translations will forever be in the manuscripts, books, manuals, and all other files he has worked on.