June 7, 2015

A Few Interesting Facts About Translation Services in the Contemporary World

by brenton

A big part of providing translation services is keeping in touch with what’s going on globally when it comes to translation.

Although translation is an art that has existed since ancient times, languages keep changing and translation has to evolve as well.  The demands on translation today are different than they were a hundred or five hundred years ago.  Historically, translation was often used for academic purposes, to understand texts written in Greek or Latin.  Today, academic translation is just one field of translation, and translation for commercial purposes has become very important.  Of course, it’s still necessary to be sensitive to the delicate nuances of language so that you don’t say something absolutely absurd to the consumer.  Given the changes in this growing field, it’s interesting to note the following facts about translation today:

  1.  There are about 330,000 translators in the world.  Of course, this is not counting people who translate things informally, whose number is even bigger.
  2.  78% of all books between the years 2000 and 2010 were translated into French or German and only 5% into Chinese.
  3.  According to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, his book, One Hundred Years of Solitude was better in the English translation than in the original Spanish.  This may seem like a strange idea because, in general, people believe that books written in the original language are better than their translations.  However, it just goes to show that a great translator is an artist who can even improve a book.
  4.  Vladimir Nabokov was extremely opposed to translations, believing that they destroyed the beauty of the original work.  He once attempted a word-for-word translation, with hilarious effects.  Thank goodness translators of his work did not accept his views or we would not have his great works of literature available to us in the English-speaking world today.
  5.  Translators refer to English for the international market as “World English” and they make sure that it is neither U.K. nor U.S.-biased.

At Keylingo, we try to keep abreast of changes in the world of translation and to incorporate them into our work. Contact us if you need translation services and rest assured that our translators will do their best to give you the kind of service Gabriel Garcia Marquez received; you may even find your document reads better in translation!

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