Mistakes in translation are nothing new.
Some of the “less fortunate” choices have endured for centuries and have become imprinted and even became anecdotal, with minor consequences. However, some others have had devastating effects, contributing to the outbreak or escalation of social and military tensions.
When it comes to expanding horizons and investing in the internationalisation of their brand, many small and medium-sized companies continue to find language to be an insurmountable barrier, particularly in terms of monetising their digital marketing.
The United States is blessed and cursed when it comes to languages. It is blessed because in the 21st century English is the global lingua franca and the official language in 59 countries. It is cursed because, from a group of developed countries, particularly European countries, primary age children in the US are the least likely to learn a foreign language. This is the conclusion of the Pew Research Center, which tested several North American and European education systems and noted some serious failings in the teaching of foreign languages in the US.
The National Autonomous University of Mexico’s National School of Languages, Linguistics and Translation (ENALLT-UNAM) is holding the third International Specialised Translation Forum (FITE 2019) on 29-31 October.
Among interpreters it is usual to claim, with tongue firmly in cheek, that interpretation is the world’s second-oldest profession. In Spain, for example, the term “interpret” has been found in documents dating back to the 16th century featuring Adlige Malinche, an enslaved Nahua woman who acted as an intermediary between natives and the Spanish Conquistadores. The traditional interpretation technique is bilateral or consecutive, in which the discussion is split into segments for the interpreter to convert into the target language when the speaker pauses or finishes talking.