Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Are Military Translators Capitalising On Conflict?

Recently we read an article stating that the translation industry has grown significantly since the Second World War due to conflict and inflated military budgets, we forget where so if you find it, tell us below in the comments. Like most people, we find war quite abhorrent and as linguists, find linking the success of the translation industry to global conflict quite disturbing.

We like to think of ourselves as logical, rational people so we decided we'd look into how true this statement is. So let's delve deeper into this topic.

What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!
We covered the morality and neutrality of interpreters a long time ago and know that translators follow the same code of ethics. The transferral between languages is the task that translators undertake and they cannot be blamed for translating documents that are eventually used for war.

Translators, like most people, earn their living by their trade and their duty is to ensure that their source material is accurately translated into the target language. The content of the source material is fairly arbitrary as, after all, the translator did not write it. They certainly are responsible for the content in the translation, but only as a faithful reproduction of the original in the target language.

Of course, we support translators who follow their moral code by refusing to translate racist, bigoted or downright horrible propaganda, but in the military this is rarely the case as speculation cannot win a battle. Only cold, hard facts can do that and if they want to earn some money translating them, we wish them all the best.