The Role Translation Plays in Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism is an objective all humanity works towards. It has existed, in some form or another, from the dawn of civilization but today, when the cultures of the world are distinctly placed on their permanent tiers, it is all the more evident.

When you pick up a book written by a foreign writer, the last thing you think about is the process that book went through for you to be able to read it. For all you know, it’s a product of your own culture, even though that writer was born thousands of miles away.

To a certain extent, that writer becomes a multicultural entity through the fact that you can read what he/she has written. And this would not be possible without a practice you probably deem trivial: translation.

No translation = no multiculturalism

Even from the most ancient ages of mankind, materials were translated to and fro. The flux of translated material was equal to the flux of material that was translated and given in exchange.

Even the Bible, the most famous book in history, was translated time and again until it reached the form it has today. The point is: absolutely every piece of paper, regardless of whether it’s from a newspaper, magazine or book, eventually goes through a translation process.

Most of the information that’s on it was probably translated anyway. Countries exchange not only goods but intellectual products, too. Without translation, there would be no multiculturalism, and that’s a fact that cannot be negated.

A gigantic industry

Translation is among the most fructuous industries of the moment. Unbelievable amounts of materials are translated 24/7 by millions of translators worldwide. That novel information is then processed by a country then translated by another.

It’s less likely that you’d have a favorite book were it not for translation. Can you imagine a world without translation? Neither can us. You’d have to spend your entire life learning new languages, which isn’t feasible, to say the least.

Thanks to translators, you can indulge in reading books written in the original languages of their authors. Maybe it sounds far-fetched for some, but we owe our development as a race to translation.

The fact that this sounds like a sophism makes it no less true. If you think about it, information – just like energy – never dies. It only takes another form. A book that cannot be found in a country, for example, as a translation, can still be found in the original language.

That can be applied to the entire bulk of knowledge from the moment it became a constant of human life to today, when you can translate an entire book with a more or less accurate translation software.

How then, could translation not play a crucial role in multiculturalism? Various cultures merge into one another through gateways of language, before anything else. There is an endless flux of material between countries and their distinct cultures.

Even the very definition of multiculturalism as “the coexistence of various cultures” warrants giving translation the credit it deserves.

Concluding Remarks

We often think of translation as something trivial that we could do without. Wrong. Few things would be possible without it. You’d have to write the books you’d want to read, write music that you want to be able to understand, etc.

In the modern age, everything is based on translation. It is the leading mechanism in the diffusion of knowledge all throughout the world. Perhaps we should not look at translation, then, as a low-rank job, but one that is more important than any other.

Hope this cleared things a bit, because they ought to be transparent.

The Role of Creativity in Translation

Did you ever acknowledge the role creativity plays in translation? To some extent, translation accounts for an act of adaptation. Therefore, it is a creative act. Translators are involved in a continuous process of negotiating between two languages, cultures and mindsets. This process requires a profound comprehension of the two languages.

The creative process of translation and adapting one text to a distinct reality connotes that a translator’s responsibility is both complex and creative.

Why do translators need to be creative?

Creativity is an irreplaceable element in the compelling translating process. Many a time, a translator will be torn between presenting form in favor of content or the other way around. On that note, creativity is the element that may bring a harmonious balance, making the translating process a form of art. You might already know that some languages embody idioms and expressions that don’t exist in other languages.

Many of those are inspired by cultural cues, which are non-existent in other cultures. In the same respect, translating poetry accounts for an intricate endeavor. A literal translation won’t do. Aspects such as rhyming, rhythm, flow, and imagery ought to be taken into account. To that end, translating into a distinct language while respecting the elements present in the original work can be overwhelming.

There are distinct degrees of creativity. Too much or too little of it could result in unwanted outcomes. In simplest terms, too little creativity may lead to a bland, dry translation. Meanwhile, too much creativity could compromise the accuracy of the original text and, therefore, replace it with the author’s intent. On that note, we could say that a masterful translator should focus on translating the literal meaning of the words, while interpreting the cultural and background context, as well.

The language is a creative tool

It is indisputable that a language is a creative tool, first and foremost. Similar to a way in which an artist utilizes colors, and combines them so that they serve the goal of a project or another, a translator will use language as a mechanism to deliver a message. Since a translator ought to know at least two languages, this aspect stimulates one’s creativity at an entirely different level.

One’s knowledge enriches his/her comprehension. To that end, one can fill in the blank spaces in one language by using information from another language. There are numerous studies that highlight the way in which learning multiple languages stimulate the human brain in a unique way.

Each translator has a personal style

Although the translator ought to deliver an accurate message, he/she is due to instilling a personal mark. That makes sense, considering that each individual approaches a text distinctively. For instance, if one text were to be translated by more than one person, that might lead to more versions of the same translated text. The differences could be significant or insignificant, depending on the case.

Nevertheless, one thing is for sure: translators manifest their creativity with every text they tackle.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, translation is far from being simple. In fact, it is considered by many as being a difficult task, while others undermine its complexity. One thing is for sure, the world has distinct perceptions of translators and their input on a text. They are prone to be lost in the translation.

Nevertheless, this is a profession that incorporates a unique combination of skills, one of them being creativity.

The Perks of Working in the Translation Field

As a child growing up in a multilingual environment, you probably had one dream: when I grow up, I want to be a translator! Granted, not all of them can reach that dream. Some of them will end up teachers, some will become writers, and others will become writers and start writing content in said foreign language.

If you do, however, succeed to land work as a translator, you should know that this job comes with a couple of perks. Indeed, the task requires strong skills, and you will spend most of your days talking and writing in a foreign language to the point where you may even forget which one is your mother tongue.

At the same time, however, the job is very interesting, and there are a few good reasons why you might enjoy it.

  1. You can be your own boss

You can work as a translator from an office if you prefer the corporate environment and the promise of a fixed salary every month. However, once you get your authorization to be a translator, you will no longer be forced to spend your days locked in a cubicle, socializing with people you don’t particularly like.

While you will still need clients to request for translation, you won’t need to work under anyone’s orders. With the internet today, it’s very easy to cast the net and build a reputation that will land you clients. You will be your own boss, without anyone dictating your every step or admonishing you for everything that you do.

  1. You’ll get a multicultural experience

Those who only know one language will only be tied to their own culture, without insight on any other one. A person working in the translating field, on the other hand, will be with one foot set in both worlds. You’ll be in touch with many people from all across the globe, learning about their food, their way of life, and particularities of a certain culture.

You’ll be traveling through different countries simply by means of text and experience their world more than other travelers ever will. With your knowledge, you’ll basically become a cultural ambassador.

  1. You’ll have a competitive salary

It is a well-known fact that translators have salaries that are higher than the average – especially if you land work in technical translating. They even earn more than those working in the government. In the US of 2012, the average income of a translator was $45,500 per month, while the “veterans” would go as high as $91,800. It’s pretty convenient, considering that all you have to do is sit in front of a laptop and write.

  1. Your brain gets a workout

Since you are proficient in more than just one language, you are instantly part of the smarter people category. There have been various studies where they found that a person able to speak in multiple languages possesses a more active brain. This makes sense, considering that unlike most of the people who only speak one language, you can think in two of them.

  1. You’ll have an exciting life

If you translate works online, then you can work from wherever you want, as long as you have a laptop. So, if you want to spend your workday lounging on a beach, listening to the sound of the waves, then nothing can stop you. Plus, if you are collaborating with tourists or business professionals, you may also get the benefits of nice surroundings and good food.

You may have to spend long hours as a translator with your work – even odd hours – but the perks will surely outweigh any drawbacks.