Happy Translator’s Day, my fellow Translators and Interpreters! On this day, I would like to recognize and commend fellow translators for the work we do and what it requires, and address any layperson’s misconception that a fluent bilingual may as well serve as a qualified translator. That this is not so may be so (painfully) obvious to us, but the confusion persists. Translation and interpretation are very specific skills which, just like any specialized capability, requires certain cognitive and operational faculties. Some of these are: a quick aptitude for understanding complex and diverse subjects; an analytical mind, and extensive research ability — one has to analyze complex information, deduce what additional information they may need, and identify the resources of where and how to find it.
As a translator in a time when technology is constantly evolving, it would be easy to think that the industry is constantly evolving and changing too. However, you would be hard-pressed to find a more stationary industry. We still use dictionaries, but those dictionaries have moved from bent and stuffed shelves to online databases or applications. We still translate without smart programs, but rather than an empty piece of paper, we look at an empty Word document. And then, we have what is likely the biggest advantage of the modern technological world of translation: CAT tools. Historically, these have been divided into the Big 3, and as is standard for their time, they are desktop applications made for just one type of OS. Windows, specifically, so if you have a Mac, tough luck.