One might ask why we need translators. The population on our planet has reached to about 6 billion. More than 6000 languages exist and are spoken all over the world. Our world, with the fastest means of communication and travel has become a global village. No country can survive without developing relations with other countries for their mutual benefit. Trade and cross-border investments and only take place through inter-cultural communication. Common threats such as terrorism, diseases like AIDS and HIV and environmental concerns can all be dealt with by collective efforts of the key players. But without translators, communication would only be possible between those who share a common language.
The history of language and its translation is very interesting. Whenever imperialist powers ruled over other countries, they always began the process of knowing the culture and traditions of that region by translating their texts in their own language. After physically establishing their power, they hired translators from the local population for communication purposes. As Anthony Burgess says,
“Translation is not a matter of words only: it is a matter of making intelligible a whole culture.”
An example can be cited here from the British rule of the Subcontinent. The British wanted to know about the people being ruled by the East India Company. A. Moonachie was a British scholar who urged the British sovereign at that time, to take measures “as may be necessary for discovering, collecting and translating whatever is extant of the ancient work of the Hindus.”
So as a result an Asiatic society was formed, headed by a translator and scholar named Jones, and they mutually agreed that translation of texts from Hindi to English will “gather in” and “rope off” the Orient. In simpler words, an alien country is hard to be ruled but after knowing about the country, its people and their customs in depth, it becomes easier for the colonialists to rule them.
It may be said, that this use of translation to usurp the resources of other states and rule over them has become outdated. Translation service and translators in the present world are a binding force that brings nations close to each other. Countries like to do trade with each other, they like to invest in multifarious affairs and engage in mutually benefiting financial enterprises. All this needs the aid of translators. Translation today has more constructive purposes than it ever had in the past. As Jean Francois Jolly says:
“Translation cannot be dissociated from the notion of progress; some even maintain that a society can be measured by the translation it accepts.”
In Today’s world we need more and more translators to bridge the language gaps people face. Many translation service companies are doing a commendable job in this regard. Our present world will progress if we will end all cultural distinctions and work together to improve the living conditions for everyone without any disparity of religion or country.