The cultural importance of translation and the role of the translator
Translating is essential for ensuring understanding between institutions and individuals that are not able to communicate in the same language. Translation is a way of overcoming cultural barriers by communicating from the author’s native language and to pass messages as closely as possible to the original.
Translating is more than just saying or writing something in another language. It is a demanding process that involves perceiving and passing on the original intention of the message while taking into account the nature of the audience for which it is intended.
In the world of diplomacy, when an interpreter channels the communication between world leaders, one wrong phrase in the translation can cause a real international incident while a translation of quaility can prolong and improve international relations.
With everything that is at stake in international politics translation accuracy is essential to understanding. It is for this reason that public institutions regularly invest in translation and interpreting, rather than communicating directly in the same and mutually foreign language (English, for example, as it is the most international).
The same need for understanding exists where humanitarian aid is required: in developing countries or in crisis situations where the language barrier could cost lives.
Whether through international or voluntary organizations like Translators Without Borders, the translator’s role is to contribute towards resolving problems of hunger, natural disaster and education through access to information.
While there are approximately 910 million people in the world who cannot read or write, many of the rest can do so only in their native language, so they also require translations.
Even more importantly, these translation services are essential for ensure their audiences feel they are understood, that the information they receive is personalized and that it takes specific account of the culture in which it operates.