In a number of sectors and departments, however, a genuine skill and artistic talent needs to be applied for the translation process to be successful. Indeed, at the current stage of development, automated translation services are merely useful for getting the gist of a meaning and nothing more.
In the literary world, for example, translation is more than simple linguistic interpretation and rather an adaptation of the energy, tone, sentiment and rhythm of an artistic piece. As professional book translation expert, Maureen Freely, puts it, she has to “capture the music” of the language as she hears it.
Indeed, Robert Wechsler’s book ‘Performing Without A Stage: The Art of Literary Translation’, is one in a long line of writings specifically detailing the art of book translation. In it he says, “Like a musician, a literary translator takes someone else’s composition and performs it in his own special way”. He goes on to suggest that translation is an “odd art form”, but an art form all the same.
The translator is performing a separate role to the initial composer, and Wechsler states “If an actor did the same thing as a playwright, a dancer did the same thing as a composer, or a singer did the same thing as a songwriter, no one would think much of what they do either.” In essence what he is suggesting is that the book translation is an artistic process quite separate to the initial creation, but with a comparable level of artistic merit.
Outside of literary translation too you see the need for a level of knowledge, expertise and indeed natural ability. Not everyone can be good content writer or marketer, for example, and thus too, not everyone can translate in such a way either.
Within the business context, when you translate language, you are not simply replacing word for word, but rather adapting the content for a new cultural environment. This requires knowledge of the specific sector or industry, as well as the unique target culture. It demands also an ability to communicate with a set audience and to understand the tone and message of a company.
In conclusion, the process of adaptation of one language to another; be it through book translation, web copy, marketing, or any other such text, requires a certain nous and ability that itself has unique artistic merits. Professional translators are equipped to perform the process to such a level, in order to achieve quality. Automated translation tools, on the other hand, lack nous, creativity, flair, cultural sensitivity, and all manner of additionally required facets of knowledge and expertise.