Whenever we mention that we work in the field of translation, often the first thing people ask is: “Do you translate books?”.
Sure, while it’s true that literary works such as novels, stories, magazines, etc., are usually associated with translation, there’s a whole other world of sectors and content for which translations are continuously needed. In fact, with over 10 years of experience in this field, we usually ask ourselves: “Is there any sector for which translation isn’t needed?”.
Just like new technologies and globalisation, we’ve integrated translation into our lives such that it’s already an intrinsic part of our routines, and we don’t even realise it.
Let’s look at a few examples, for which we’ll describe a hypothetical daily routine.
In the morning, your mobile phone’s alarm wakes you up. You get up, shower and get dressed. You get the coffee maker going to have a cup while you read the newspaper. On the way to work, you take a look at your social networks. Once at work, you turn on your computer and log on. You use a number of different programmes and web pages to handle the tasks of your job. At break time, a friend recommends the latest novel she’s just read, which she found very interesting. And if you buy it through Amazon, they deliver it straight to your home. At the end of the day, you go to the gym to get some exercise while you listen to Spotify for motivation. You go by the Japanese restaurant close to where you live and order a couple of takeaway dishes. When you get home, your children are playing a board game. Since you have a bit of headache after dinner, you take some medicine for it. You turn on the telly, and there’s an ad for a well-known car brand. You connect to Netflix and watch an episode of your favourite series before going to bed.
There are obviously an endless number of variations to this routine, but we can generally relate to most everything described above. Now we’d like to pose a challenge: look at the words in bold. Can you identify where translation is present in all the related areas?
- A mobile phone, a computer, an operating system, web pages and all the programmes and apps you use every day most likely had to have their texts translated (technical translation of software, telecommunications and marketing).
- If you buy the recommended novel in your native language, it’s probably a translation (literary translation).
- Items that are for sale on the Internet, as well as the packaging of board games, need to have their features translated (content translation).
- Coffee makers and gym machines come with instructions for use that almost certainly have been translated from another language (technical translation of manuals).
- The interfaces of the social networks you visit and the TV ads you view have been translated into several languages for globalisation (marketing translation and transcreation).
- The tags of the clothes you wear must, by law, be translated into the language of the country where the clothing is going to be marketed, and the instructions of board games are usually given in our language (technical translation).
- The instructions for use that come with medicinal products must be translated into the language of the country where the products are marketed (medical-pharmaceutical translation).
- Some television series are originally produced in other languages and are then subtitled and/or dubbed into your native language, unless you want to watch the original version without subtitles (audiovisual translation).
You might be surprised to realise that there is an invisible but necessary presence of translation in our daily lives. Precisely because there is such a considerable need for translation, we always recommend using professional, native translators to ensure optimum quality.
In the end, is there anything more important than what we experience every day?