22 September 2020

Imagine a world without translation…

“Without translation, the world would be a duller, poorer and more unequal place, both economically and culturally, where only the ‘happy few’ with a knowledge of other languages would have access to goods, information and culture from other countries.”

A world without translation? Impossible! With the slogan ‘Translation all around us’, the European Commission has launched the #DiscoverTranslation campaign. This campaign draws attention to the crucial role that translation plays in today’s globalised society. This awareness is, of course, present among people who are professionally involved in translation. But outside that group, there is often a great deal of ignorance about it.

Translation is indeed all around us. Just think of the language settings on your phone and in your apps that you can change with just a few clicks or taps, or the subtitle and audio options of your favourite Netflix series. However, translation also comes into play in international cooperation to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus. It’s also the case when you’re booking a trip abroad, or when you’re reading news from foreign media; the things we do and see happening around us almost every day, but that barely make us think about the translation work in the background.

On the website of the #DiscoverTranslation campaign, you will find short info sheets explaining how translation helps us in our daily lives, why it is so important to have professional translators and what role technology plays in translation processes nowadays. In light of the theme it is a pity that the info sheets are only available in English, but let’s assume the European Commission is still working on a translation.