Professional translator: a threat to other professionals?
Many people might question the ability of the professional translator to carry out different different assignments and do them well. “For those who are afraid, everything is noise,” said Sophocles. The fear of losing customers or others breaking into the market and taking the piece of cake is a constant among some entrepreneurs.
Power of Technology for the Professional translator
The depth of technology in our day to day has brought, as has been shared hundreds of times on the web, a cultural change that also affects the way we work. Although, obviously, everything has its advantages and disadvantages, in my case I prefer to focus efforts on the most positive aspects.
Internet is a perfect showcase for all types of companies and professionals, in which we can tell others how good we are at doing something, how much we know and how we differ.
Of course, we must be aware that this exhibition implies that there are those who want to copy because of the interest and attraction generated, and that will become real competition.
Yet, we must not forget that, thanks to technology, new positions and activities have been created. Those were previously unthinkable or very complicated, and require, more than ever, certain capacities and not only knowledge.
The Professional translator, a Professional of the Future
The future of work, which is already a reality today, demands professionals with the most varied skills depending on the positions they will occupy. If entrepreneurship has brought me something wonderful, it is meeting different people, who enrich me every day.
I have known many cases of physicists, chemists, historians or computer engineers, among others, who are dedicated to very different subjects than those that would make more sense for their education.
And it is those personal skills and passion that are factors that have become an indispensable part of the equation in the search for new professional opportunities and talent, if we think of recruitment specialists.
By this, I do not mean that someone who has studied philosophy might not be the most suitable person to develop a specific job in this field, but that not everyone who has studied a certain career ends up developing in that field.
Degrees lead to communication, management & marketing
Added to this is the fact that there are university degrees that, by their very conception, are very versatile for the labour market. One of them is the degree in Translation and Interpreting. It offers not only translation practice in different languages or the most current technology applied to this activity, but also very useful training in multicultural communication, change management, entrepreneurship or marketing, to name a few of the options. This type of training allows a person to be incorporated into different positions. Also, the global vision and the relational capacity – to communicate effectively – are basic ingredients in almost any job. If those professional translators who have studied Translation and Interpreting characterize themselves for something, it is precisely because they are tremendously versatile. That is what causes that some may see the professional translator as a threat. However, I wonder:
Questions to ponder
Should a new discipline be prohibited because of the training you had? How many engineers, for example, converted into professional translators? As long as the profession is respected, studying or acquiring the necessary knowledge to be able to develop a good activity can only be seen as fairplay.
Who said that a professional translator can only write in several languages? Indeed, we professional translators pass texts from one language to another, but we also edit content, review it, create it … and this without counting our ability to learn new software and applications in record time. Additionally, we can act as tour guides, occupy a position in a hotel, teach languages, as linguistic mediators or as business managers.
All part of the attitude and passion of each professional translator and not so much of whether the boundaries of the university career are here or beyond.
Are there not great entrepreneurs with a degree in physics, chemistry or philosophy? Why do we insist on being so inflexible? Why can’t an astrophysicist become a director of Human Resources? The fundamental thing, as I see it, is to show respect for the profession and colleagues who strive to provide good service, something that affects us all. With determination and discipline, everything can be learned.
The Chameleonic Character of the Professional Translator
There are many examples of the chameleonic character of the professional translator and how well they can do what they set out to do. Some have their own translation company.
For others, the most logical thing is to be a freelance professional translator, but also a marketing school for professional translators, where they help other colleagues to start their own businesses.
Knowledge and skills that are developed in university or professional training are useful for life and not just for a specific job. They are part of our personal backpack, where we also keep good and bad experiences. It is those skills that set us apart from others.
However, there will always be people who may feel threatened by the ability or success of others. Not everyone knows how to face their fears (and that includes me), so my recommendation is simply… make your own way.