While people always respect authors and poets and consider them to be great thinkers, they do not feel so for translators. For most of us, a translator is nothing but a person who rewrites someone’s original work in another language. In other words, a translator is a mere mediator and contributes nothing substantial to the original creation. This is a wrong notion altogether.
A translator, we believe, deserves an equal, if not more, respect as creators get. Without great translators, the world would not have been as progressive and evolving as it is today. It is only because of translation that we succeeded in unraveling numerous mysteries around the world. Translation helped us share amazing, life changing facts and rules among us. From holy books like the Bible to the Qaran to the Mahabharat and Ramayan, and from Ayurveda to Reiki and from Martial arts to movies, so many things successfully crossed borders, have become universal thanks to translation. Without translation, our academia too would have been poor and mediocre!
Yet, translation is not seen as a respected profession and that’s really strange. Someone who seldom needs translation, and is least aware of efforts and insights going in a translation work, usually feel surprised by charges of translation. “Oh, you mean to say you’d charge me per word?” Such a reaction, especially in countries like India, is not new. Another weird thing is that translation seekers often expect small to huge discount in a smart way. He would say, “Look, it’s a 532 words file. You charge me for 500 words, ok?” Do we ask for undue discounts from other service providers? No. Then why expect and demand it from translators? A translator, in fact, remains unknown, works hard on a project, while his/her clients get complete satisfaction and returns from translation. A simple press release translation can help a brand to reach millions of people and generate great sales. A legal translation of court documents can make a case and change someone’s fortune or fate, or both! A medical translation can help in saving millions of lives and also in reducing production cost. A news report translation can help information reaches different shores in quickest time. A dubbed or a movie with subtitle increases earning for its producers by manifold. Without dubbing and subtitling, the same movie would have remained restricted to only a certain audience. All these jobs are handled by some translation, an unsung hero who expect nothing but a fair fee for serviced rendered. A translator, who is contributing so much to the society, deserves more!