Translation breaks down barriers, opens doors and brings people together.
When I first started translating, I remember complaining that my desk was too small for the dozens of books I would keep at hand, either open or stacked, and that I did not have enough space to keep them all in place and focus on the project I was working on. Those sets of bound sheets were my language reference books for grammar, spelling, prepositions, collocations, and so on, as well as my dictionaries to look up technical terms in the fields of the environment, mining, engineering, oil and gas, transport, etc. Those were my working tools to produce a quality translation.
Years went by and fortunately today, thanks to technology, I no longer complain. Now I can access nearly all my reference books and dictionaries online, from the comfort of my computer, which not only facilitates and streamlines my translation work, but also helps me to be more productive and organized.
Throughout history, translators and interpreters have been key in many ways. Their work and presence have been necessary for effective communication in international conflicts, humanitarian crises, peace agreements and even during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The history of translators and interpreters can be traced back to very ancient times. Translation is said to have originated in 196 BC with the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, a stone over a meter high that weighed almost 800 kg, and which was written in three different languages: Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Demotic script, and Ancient Greek.
When it comes to the publishing process, the work of translators has always been of paramount importance. Translation has allowed thousands of writers to share their works, making them immortal through reproduction in different languages. Likewise, translation has allowed millions of readers worldwide to have access to all kinds of texts, not only literature, but also history, technology and a host of other subjects. One could argue that without translation, the world would not be globalized.
A translator is a language professional whose work is key to ensuring smooth communication between individuals, companies or institutions whenever different languages are spoken. A good translator will specialize, research and train constantly, and will therefore always choose the right term according to the context of the text being translated. Professional translators do not just translate words; they translate ideas.
Gloria Cabrejos is a professional translator, proofreader, and editor. She has run a translation agency, GCK Traducciones, since 1997. Gloria is the current vice president of the Peruvian Association of Professional Translators (ATPP) and the editor of Intercambios, the newsletter of the Spanish Language Division (SPD) of the American Translators Association (ATA).