Should translation be considered a blessing for those scholars who decide to study this field, or does reality, culture, and society make it feel like you have been cursed in some way? That was the question that daunted me throughout my life as a student of translation, and even as an employee after graduation. When I was introduced to the writings of Susan Bassnett, as well as Theo Hermans, and Ubaldo Stecconi I found out that my struggles weren’t just happening to me alone, but it turned out to be a common issue for all who studied translation, as well as those who chose the practice of translation as a profession. Because some might assume that you are some sort of a walking thesaurus, even in other cases employers might ask you for tasks that cannot be properly executed from a translator’s perspective, apart from it having nothing to with your job title, just because you’re bilingual, or you hold a degree in translation. In order to deepen our understanding about translation, we must further look at the types of challenges that face translators, how they are conceptualized, in addition to, the statistics, theories, strategies, and the best possible solutions that were presented from time to time.
When I started my studies in linguistics and translation it felt like being a biologist exploring nature. Barely knowing what language fully is, but at the same time open to expecting the unexpected, even though my English knowledge was fine to some extent, and regardless of what others said about it being a tunnel with no end. Nevertheless, I was very curious about how languages function, and the way how they intertwine in harmony regardless of the barriers that sometimes separate them. This made me very keen to study this field, but when you graduate and enter this industry you soon realize that there is a range of limitations that can hold back your progress. For instance (Hermans, and Stecconi) described translators as “hostages of history” because not many know, or properly understand our role in the language transfer process, which sometimes caused us to condemned by others because it did not fit the mindset of particular person or certain audience regardless of how faithful, and competent the translator was to his/her target text. This misunderstanding also varies depending on where you are in the world, the type of translation you are conducting, and how a certain culture uses language and, how some texts are rendered. Raising awareness about translation does not only assist us in making the right decision, above all it helps people to understand what we do, why we do it, and how to do our best at serving the people who request our services.
Furthermore, despite the efforts of different international translation organizations, codes of conduct, and other suggestions given by studies, we as translators are not given enough credit for our renderings by most agencies, and authors. As a matter of fact Bassenett characterized this phenomenon as “translator invisibility” which is very frustrating for us, because I feel that the intellectual effort we put in our work is sometimes greater than of the original author, and we deserve some sort recognition to keep giving the best we can without being anxious about how others see it. This frustration might make many of those who choose translation as a career path to change their mind for many reasons, including me being one of the people who were unsatisfied aside from all the ‘anxiety’ and ‘invisibility’. In addition to how hard it is to make a name for yourself despite your efforts, especially if you work for agencies because repetition sometimes cuts out about a quarter of how much you can earn off a job if the agency uses CAT’s. But as a freelancer you have more space to navigate by consulting others in the field, learning from your mistakes, by the word of mouth, and looking for the proper prospects to do business with. In the survey conducted in 2009 by (Katan), he asked “How satisfied are you in comparison with your expectations?” which did not exceed 46%, a number that did not surprise me at all, emphasizing how hard a life of translator is. On the other hand it is important to mention that translation isn’t all about negativity, because there is always an opportunity to learn new things such as laws, interesting scientific information, politics, and how things function, because when we receive a text we live it, in order to transfer it to the target language. That’s why a good translator is the one who stares all the difficulties in the face and embraces them if they decide to make a living out of it.
Moreover, if you insist on choosing translation as a career you should consider taking a look of the codes of conduct in the country that you work in, to assist in making the correct decision in case you find yourself in a dilemma whether personal or professional . The use of “Computer Assisted Translation” software also facilitates in managing your time as well as relieving you from translating repetition especially if you work with a client that works in a certain field e.g. lawyers, a printing press, or an agency, finally the reviewal of the UN’s Nairobi “Recommendation on the legal protection of Translators and Translations and the practical means to improve the Status of Translators” of 1976 that internationally protects your rights as a translator.
In conclusion, translation can be whatever you want to make out of it, if you focus on the enrichment you gain, life, your mind, how you view the world, and language’s cultural differences, Or even becoming a contributing member of this worldwide community. Instead of only looking at what I can add to you your pocket, because if that’s the case you can look for another job to do rather than wasting your time, your effort, on something that will only turn out to be a lost cause on your behalf.