If you ask yourself “what is translation?”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Most likely the image of a text. Probably something printed from a book, a literary book, maybe a novel.
It’s certainly true that, because of translations, we can go to a book store today and choose from among thousands of books instead of just a few hundred. But it’s also true that when we get home and turn on an episode of our favourite series, translation is also present. As well as when a university student from India studies content that was created by someone from Europe. Not to mention the importance of translation when a vaccine needs to be shared globally in the fight against a pandemic. Or when we’re reading the news about what’s happening in a neighbouring country. And translation is almost always present when we’re browsing the Internet, when we’re buying shoes or when leaders from around the globe meet at international conferences.
All of this forms a part of our daily lives, in which three interrelated concepts currently predominate: digitisation, globalisation and communication. These concepts are all linked to each other as both a cause and consequence. And translation is another player; it is often invisible but always essential.
A translation is usually considered to be good when it remains true to the original text but is easily comprehensible for the target reader. However, we would add one more factor, especially considering the times in which we live: localisation.
Localisation involves adapting a message from the original culture to the target culture. In other words, it refers to translating cultures.
In a globalised and digitised world where communication is indispensable, let’s think about all the advantages offered by culture translation:
- it represents progress and modernity
- it shows that we value the diversity of cultures and that we know we can learn from them
- it positions us strategically so that we don’t lose out on globalisation
- it allows creating and reaching viral content, opening up markets and improving marketing
- it facilitates comprehension of the message we want to convey, such that everyone sees different words, but the message is always the same
- it preserves the customs, styles and ways of life of a particular place
- it leaves readers feeling good; comfortable in their own language
- it brings us closer to the target audience by making readers feel that they have been taken into account
These days, translation isn’t just about transcribing words: it’s about bringing cultures, markets and people closer together. And we love working in such a beautiful profession, so full of diversity.