Significance of translation in contemporary life

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Significance of translation in contemporary life

Poltava Korolenko National Pedagogical University

The department of English philology


“Significance of translation in contemporary life”

(Theory and practice of translation)

Work by the second year student

Chevnova Yana FD-25

The professor: Lapochka V.O.

Poltava, 2010


1.   Introduction

2.   Translations services Industry

3.   Translation services market

4.   Importance of translation in culture life

5.   Importance of translation in business life

6.   Conclusion

7.   The list of the sources

1. Introduction

Translation is mean of interlingual communication. The importance of translating and interpreting in modern society has long been recognized. Practically not a single contact at the international level or even between any two foreign persons speaking different languages can be established or maintained without the help of translators or interpreters.

Equally important is translating and interpreting for uninterrupted functioning of different international bodies (conferences, symposia, congresses, etc.) to say nothing about the bodies like the E.E.C.(European Economic Council), the I.M.F.(lnternational Monetary Fund) or the United Nations Organization with its numerous councils, assemblies, commissions, committees and sub-committees. These can function smoothly only thanks to an army of translators and interpreters representing different states and working in many different national languages.

Numerous branches of national economies too can keep up with the up-to-date development and progress in the modern world thanks to the everyday translating/interpreting of scientific and technical matter covering various fields of human knowledge and activities. The latter comprise nuclear science, exploration of outer space, ecological environment, plastics, mining, chemistry, biology, medicine, machine building, electronics, linguistics, etc. In the present days translation of scientific and technical matter has become a most significant and reliable source of obtaining all-round and up-to-date information on the progress in various fields of science and technology in all countries of the world.

2. Translation Services Industry

There is a large demand for translation services and it is growing. The translation industry is all about communicating and the importance of translation technology in different spheres of modern life is increasing. With increasing development of the global market, industry, business and commerce function on an international scale, with the growth of freedom and flexibility in terms of exchange of products and services, it is obvious that the translation industry is affected by these changes.

There is increased demand for translation services in many areas such as

· Economic (Free trade agreements)

· Ecological (Greenpeace)

· Educational (Exchange programs)

· Humanitarian (Doctors ) etc.

In-spite of the fact that the English language is important and known to many, there is the commonly held belief that people have the right to use their own language. But still the different languages spread across the globe should not be an obstacle to mutual understanding. To facilitate bilateral and multilateral relationships, linguistic problems can be solved through translation. Thus, different aspects of modern life have led to the requirement for more efficient methods of translation.

Industry composition

The translation industry is made up of many thousands of individual translators and companies. When we talk about individual translators, they belong to a wide variety of backgrounds. While some have actual translation training or education, but most do not. Very often there are translators who have had formal language training and because of this they have some exposure to translation. There are universities and language schools who can provide such individual translators. These are free lance translators. These individuals are divided into three main groups-in-house translators, full time and part time translators. There are professional translation companies who provide translation and translation-related services in all languages. In one way or the other the individual translators do come in contact with the translation companies.

Thus the industry can be divided into the following categories of translation service providers:

· Language Schools

· Universities

· In-house translators

· Full time translators

· Part time translators

· Translation companies

Key market drivers

Several factors have contributed to an increased growth in demand for translation services in recent years:

· Use of greater number of complex products, leading to increased requirement of documentation.

· Globalization of markets and International trade and finance have led to increased demand of product literature and other documents in several languages.

· There is growth in the interpretation market with increased travel, in the form of business trips, conferences, tourism.

· Mobility of people, thereby leading to growth in demand for translation and interpretation.

· The expansion of new technologies, processes, applications affecting terminology.

· Desire to cater to larger markets results in the need for multiple language product versions simultaneously.

· Growing of new platforms and media for communicating and publishing information.

· Changing styles of product distribution and channels.

· Increased presence of software in several products and information environments.

· Growth in the importance of the language element in products and product documentation.

· Growth in the number of languages which must be handled in international business operations.

The top 10 globalising sectors

· Aerospace

· Automotive

· Business Services

· Engineering & Electronics

· Financial Services

· ICT equipment

· Pharmaceuticals

· Printing & Publishing

· Software Publishing

· Trans-national Organizations

3. Translation Services Market

From government to business to industries, translation service companies are in great demand as effective communications with partners, employees, officials, customers in the language of your target market becomes a necessity. As such it is seen today that inspite of the fact that the translation industry is not an organized industry, with a very low number of professional translators, the translation service market is growing. The American Translation Association (ATA), which was formed solely to help in the growth of translation and interpreting professions, says membership has doubled in the past 10 years to 10,000 because of the growing demand for language translations and translation market.

Translation demand for few languages

Some languages which were in great demand for translation in 1991 (the trend which is continuing even today) is shown below:

As seen above English dominates the market.

Market of MT and HT

Machine translation

Europe & the United States

2.5 million pages

300 million pages


3.5 million pages

150 million pages

The development of both machine translation (MT) and human translation (HT) is based on demand and supply. On the one hand, there is availability of new technology and on the other, socio-political and economic need for change. Despite the advances in technology, machine translation presents only a small percentage of the market. At the beginning of the 1990s the translation market was as follows:

It can be seen from the above table that only 6 million pages were translated through machine translation, whereas through human translation 450 million pages were translated which implied that MT covered only 1.3% of the total. This percentage has not changed much in recent years as well. Market analysts say that MT will remain only about 1% of an over US $10 billion translation marketplace .

According to Allied Business Intelligence, the size of the "human translation" market is around US$11.5 billion and "machine translation" US$134 million in 2007. Software localization reached US$3.4 billion in the same year. Another market segment with strong expected growth is technical documentation.

Japan Translation Market

Japanese language translation took the second position which reflected the importance of the role of Japan in technology and foreign trade. In Japanese language translation, of all fields , technology occupied two-thirds of translation volume at the end of the 1990s:

Foreign Trade










Business Administration



China's Translation Market

China's translation industry is a big industry and China can now claim to be a translation giant. According to the China Bibliographic Library, between 1978 and 1990, China had published 28,500 kinds of translated works, and the number grew to 94,400 between 1995 and 2003. According to the Translators Association of China, China's translation market is anywhere between US$ 1.3bn and US$ 2.5bn. China's translation industry accounted for 1.33 billion US$ annually in the later part of 1990s, and that number grew to 21 2.53 billion $ in 2005.

Global Translation Market

According to another estimate, the global translation market grosses US$13 billion annually. The Asia-Pacific region has a 30% share of this market. According to a survey by an authoritative US institution, the global translation market has reached gross US$22.7 billion by 2005. As the global reach of Internet expands, the translation market is expected to grow continuously at a staggering rate of 30 percent a year. Europe will continue to be the largest region, with 49% of the market, followed by Asia, with 39%.

The size of the language/translation services market in 2006 and beyond

According to a study made by Common Sense Advisory (CSA), the market for outsourced language services was US 8.8 billion dollars worldwide in 2005, growing at 7.5 percent per year. The CSA made these estimates based on their calculations on the total revenues of the several companies involved in the business, many translators and free lancers, and an estimate of the revenue generated by international marketing agencies, system integrators, consultants, and other service providers who help in translation and localization

4. The Importance of Culture in Translation

The definition of "culture" as given in the Concise Oxford Dictionary varies from descriptions of the "Arts" to plant and bacteria cultivation and includes a wide range of intermediary aspects. More specifically concerned with language and translation, Newmark defines culture as "the way of life and its manifestations that are peculiar to a community that uses a particular language as its means of expression" (1988:94), thus acknowledging that each language group has its own culturally specific features. He further clearly states that operationally he does "not regard language as a component or feature of culture" (Newmark 1988:95) in direct opposition to the view taken by Vermeer who states that "language is part of a culture" (1989:222). According to Newmark, Vermeer's stance would imply the impossibility to translate whereas for the latter, translating the source language (SL) into a suitable form of TL is part of the translator's role in transcultural communication.

The notion of culture is essential to considering the implications for translation and, despite the differences in opinion as to whether language is part of culture or not, the two notions appear to be inseparable. Discussing the problems of correspondence in translation, Nida confers equal importance to both linguistic and cultural differences between the SL and the TL and concludes that "differences between cultures may cause more severe complications for the translator than do differences in language structure" (Nida, 1964:130). It is further explained that parallels in culture often provide a common understanding despite significant formal shifts in the translation. The cultural implications for translation are thus of significant importance as well as lexical concerns.

Lotman's theory states that "no language can exist unless it is steeped in the context of culture; and no culture can exist which does not have at its centre, the structure of natural language" (Lotman, 1978:211-32). Bassnett (1980: 13-14) underlines the importance of this double consideration when translating by stating that language is "the heart within the body of culture," the survival of both aspects being interdependent. Linguistic notions of transferring meaning are seen as being only part of the translation process; "a whole set of extra-linguistic criteria" must also be considered. As Bassnett further points out, "the translator must tackle the SL text in such a way that the TL version will correspond to the SL version... To attempt to impose the value system of the SL culture onto the TL culture is dangerous ground" (Bassnett, 1980:23). Thus, when translating, it is important to consider not only the lexical impact on the TL reader, but also the manner in which cultural aspects may be perceived and make translating decisions accordingly.

5. Importance Of Translation And Interpreter Services On Business Trips

In today's globalized economy, one cannot down play the significance of translation services during overseas trips. To make your business trip a success you need to communicate with your potential customers in their own language. By communicating with them in their own language, you can gain their trust and their business as well. The advent of the internet has led to an explosive growth in the level of business activity between nations. What we are seeing is a convergence of cultures and economic systems all across the globe. This means that people all over the globe will be communicating more than ever highlighting the need for translation services.

Some agencies bundle translation and travel services for their clients. This means that the customers can avail of translation service right from the time they embark on foreign territory. Many organizations find the translation and travel services bundle quite valuable, as their executives do not feel lost in a foreign land. These agencies ensure that the visitor is picked up from the airport and taken to the hotel room. He or she does not need to involve him in the hassle of booking a taxi or finding a hotel room in a country where the natives do not speak the same language as he does. These operators design the visitor's itinerary in consultation with the clients and arrange for domestic travel if desired by the visitor. If needed, they also accompany the visitor during factory visits or for client meetings. If there are some contracts to be signed then these agencies also perform the document translation work and explain the nuances of the contract.

If a visitor desires to visit trade fairs, exhibitions or places of historical importance then these agencies provide personal interpreters during these visits also. All these services ensure that the visitor utilizes his time productively during a business trip and make his investment worthwhile. By availing these translation and interpreter services during overseas trips you can prove to your clients that you are serious about their business and are willing to go that extra mile to serve them better than competition.

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6. Conclusion

The work of translation agencies is essential in a lot of different areas. Not only do they translate a variety of technical texts for small and middle sized companies from one language to another; even international trades and the global economy depend on the support of translation agencies in order to ensure fluent communication between the trading partners and to facilitate trade and commercial relations and the exchange of goods easier. By translating product descriptions, order lists and other important documents, fatal misunderstandings and therefore delays in delivery of products can be avoided.

Professional translators specialize in a certain field that they cover for their translation agency, such as technical, legal or financial translations. With this specific knowledge they are able to translate a wide range of texts accurately.

Translation agencies experience a growing demand for translations of texts from cultural institutions and media-related companies like marketing agencies or PR departments. International marketing campaigns or advertising slogans not only have to be translated, but also localized in order to adapt them for a foreign market. In these cases it’s important that the documents are not translated word for word, but rather in a way that carries the message from one language (and thus, one cultural background) to the other. But also in industry and in industrial chemistry, the work performed by a translation agency is gaining importance. Even in medicine there is a variety of medical texts that has to be translated to make them accessible worldwide and distribute medical innovations. Internet and telecommunications is another huge source of revenue for language service providers. For example, software localization is a crucial business for software companies: new applications have to be localized so they are presented in the target country’s language and suitable for local peculiarities such as different keyboard layouts.

As globalization moves forward and it is important to communicate to customers in the whole world, the demand for professional translations grows. Translation agencies will always play an important role in the provision of language services.

7. The list of the sources

1)   Ilko, V. Korunets. 2003. Theory and practice of translation. – Vinnutza: Nova Knyha, pp.13-15.

2)   Bassnett, S. 1991. Translation studies. London: Routledge.

3)   Lotman, J., Uspensky, B. 1978. “On the semiotic mechanism of culture”, New Literary History, pp. 211-232.

4)   Nida, E. 1964. “Plinciples of Correspondence”. In Veniti, L. The translation studies reader. London: Routledge.

5)   Guennadi, E. Miram, Velentina, V. Daineko, Lyubov, A. Taranukha, Maryna, V. Gryschenko, Oleksandr, M. Gon. 2003. Basic translation (основи перекладу). – Kyiv: Elga Nika-Center.



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