Unfortunately, the public in general doesn't tend to know too terribly much about what we do, and many might think that anyone who is bilingual can be a translator, but that's like saying that anyone who can listen and speak is automatically a therapist or anyone who speaks English is a reporter or anyone who is funny is a comedian -- the list goes on on and on. Of course, being perfectly bilingual is the minimum requirement one needs to meet to be a professional translator, but we digress.
|That's Tree pose, and not Warrior, but close enough?|
So we have a proposal to make: join us. Instead of complaining to each other on Twitter (or elsewhere), tell the people who make the mistake and clear up the misunderstanding. This could be a simple two-line e-mail, which can be saved for future use (that's what we do). We frequently like to point out that translation (written word) and interpreting (spoken word) are like libel (written) and slander (spoken). Keep the tone nice and friendly and offer to elaborate.
Can you imagine if even 1,000 colleagues sent one e-mail a day to some media outlet? We'd get more coverage for our profession, which is always a good thing, and we might educate the media and the public while we are at it, which is fantastic. We like to think about this translation/interpreting confusion along the lines of: what if the media consistently confused psychiatrists with psychologists? We bet the American Medical Association (and other associations around the world) would be up in arms about this. When translation and interpreting get confused, we figured that in addition to our professional associations setting the record straight, it can't hurt if we do it on an individual level as well.
And you know how our profession might get more recognition, the recognition it deserves? Perhaps by being talked about in the media. So let's combine the power of the media and the power of freelance translators around the world.
Will you join us and be a translation and interpreting warrior?