How to Give Translators the Recognition They Deserve

This is a guest post by Julija Savić, resident wordsmith at Zingword

It’s been stated thousands of times — translators and interpreters are the backbone of global business, science, and collaboration. However, they still often go unnoticed by the public. Unlike other industries, professional translation services mostly go on behind the scenes of a process (be it in business, publishing, filmmaking…) and as such they are often hidden from the public gaze. Even though society consumes translated content regularly, from literature classes in school to online articles we scroll through daily, people in many countries aren’t really aware of how much translators affect their lives — except when it comes to public uproar over mistranslations, as we’ve seen time and time again.

This kind of public treatment directly affects translators livelihoods. Our work is often perceived as:

These perceptions can lead to translation being undervalued as an activity and a skilled profession, which in turn leads to decreasing rates and lack of recognition.

However, as language professionals ourselves, supported by communities such as translation associations, we can definitely do more to advance our position.

Examples of awareness-raising campaigns

Recently, several global campaigns dealing with translators’ visibility have been launched. Here are some examples:

#DiscoverTranslation

Created by the European Commission, #DiscoverTranslation aims to “promote the translation profession and highlight its vital role in our daily life,” and it is targeted at people outside the translation industry. The campaign mostly revolves around social media sharing, and its dedicated webpage includes tons of material explaining the crucial nature of the translation business.

#TranslatorsOnTheCover

Aiming to highlight the absolutely essential part literary translators play in the international dissemination of literary works, #TranslatorsOnTheCover is in fact an open letter created by Jennifer Croft and Mark Haddon, published by the Society of Authors, and co-signed by 1700+ translators and authors. The initiative calls for publishers to include translators’ names on the front cover, rather than treating them as an impressum entry that readers often skip over. You can sign the letter yourself right here.

#Traduboom, #xl8promote, #MeetTheTranslator…

Apart from formal initiatives, many individual translators are also using hashtags to help their colleagues promote their work online. While this is mostly useful in terms of marketing, it also helps translators connect with fellow translators, as we’ve seen from Zingword’s own visibility thread back in January. These kinds of threads and hashtags also serve the purpose of educating the Twitter community on what translators actually do.

How to create a local outreach campaign

An important way of educating non-translators is creating local initiatives and events that inform the public on what professional translation entails, and why it should matter to them. Here are some tips on how to kickstart your own campaign:

  • connect with your local translator association(s) and suggest an initiative;
  • identify channels to which your local public reacts the best;
  • put your heads together and create a public outreach campaign via the most popular publicity channels in your country;
  • organize events that are open to the public, and discuss translation as a professional service and an art.

Such efforts can gradually lead towards a better social standing for translators, and in turn create a climate where fair payment for language work is not only possible, but is permanently expected.

How Zingword is helping

Professional translation services deserve proper remuneration and recognition, and the Zingword team, two of whose members have been a part of the translation industry for a while now, is keenly aware of that. Our marketplace is designed to help translators describe their service in detail, and in a way that attracts clients, while also supporting their own price standards. Additionally, our blog is a space where translators can give interviews, describe their specializations, and show off their expertise with guest posts.

If you’d like to join our visibility raising efforts, join Zingword with Tranix’s invite, and get in touch with us via our social media channels:

Use this invite to create your free Zingword profile, set your own rates, and connect with clients you really want to work with!

If you’d like to write a guest post for My Words for a Change, please read this page and get in touch. You can gain an idea of the topics explored on this blog by looking at the categories page.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

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