The work of translators is so underrated yet it is one of the most important and painstaking works in the world. This is because knowledge is power and it is knowledge written down and preserved for posterity that latter generations have relied on to do incredible things from building skyscrapers, making advances in technology and even travelling to the moon. What people forget is that in the background is a team of very hardworking translators who burn the midnight oil for years, translating this useful knowledge into various indigenous languages so that it can benefit people in most corners of the world.
Consider the Bible, for instance. This is the most important piece of literature in the world because the message it transmits has such resonating potency with the citizens of planet earth that it is unsurpassed in sales and is the most translated book of all time. As of 2017, according to Wikipedia, the full Bible (both Old and New Testaments) has been translated in 670 different languages whereas the New Testament alone is available in a whopping 1,521 languages.
Why? Because of the sheer universal value of its message. In fact, it has been established by researchers that people who read and believe in the message of the Bible are less prone to depression and suicides, and live longer, happier lives than those who don’t believe in the message of hope and eternal bliss conveyed in the Holy Book. Here is the question? Do you think people in all parts of the world would have benefited from the values and ideals espoused in the Bible had it not been translated from original Greek and Hebrew into other languages? I bet your answer is a resounding no!
Take a look at some of the language translation services done;
Tigrinya translation services
Somali translation services
Malagasy translation services
Yoruba translation Services
Oromo translation services
Ndebele translation services
Wolof translation services and so many others.
The Work of a Translator is Tough
Yet you wonder why the work of the translator is often a thankless one. The ability to have a deep grasp and appreciation of a language to the point of decoding it coherently and artistically for didactic purposes into indigenous languages is not an easy ability. That is why the translators all around the world are still few, unappreciated and underpaid.
For the uninitiated, translating a piece of literature is a complex process that involves initial research and consultation about all the people and the distinct places in that piece of literature. To produce a concise version of the original book in another language in no mean feat. It’s often an onerous task involving a lot of experts who have to decode little things; analyze grammar, have an eye for small details and keep cross-checking to stay on the right track. Martin Luther the reformist was a very bright theology professor who was the first to translate the Bible into German and confessed that during the process of translation, one quest for an expression would sometimes take a month. That is how tough the business of translation can be.
It is my prayer that governments globally may recognize the thankless job of translators and reward them accordingly. It is a good sign that institutes of languages are becoming key entities in most universities around the world. I hope they continue to churn out better language experts and translators because more and more are needed and their work is indispensable in the transmission of knowledge important for building stronger societies.