In 2020, the European Commission launched the campaign "Discover Translation" to promote the translation profession to audiences outside the language industry. That's right up our alley!


In this article you will find 14 different aspects of life as we know it that wouldn't be the same without translation. Because:

"Without translation, the world would be a duller, poorer and more unequal place, both economically and culturally, where only the 'happy few' with a knowledge of other languages would have access to goods, information and culture from other countries."
(The European Commission)

 

1. Export without translation?

Expanding your business across borders and selling your products and services in new markets would not work well.

If you can't tell foreign customers about the benefits of buying your products in a language they understand, then why should they buy them?

Export without translation?
 

 

 

2. Online shopping without translation?

Buying products from foreign web shops would be
almost impossible without translations.

At least if you want to understand things like product information, specifications, payment terms and so on before making a purchase.

Online shopping would to a great extend be limited to national markets.
Online shopping without translation?

3. Cross-border trade without translation?

Many requirements must be met when you seek trade partners in international markets. Contracts, forms,
instructions etc. must be present in the relevant
language(s).

How would that work without translation? It probably wouldn't. At all.

Cross-border trade without translation?

 

 

 

4. Understanding a crisis without translation?

When an international crisis hits, people must be able to understand crucial information instantly in a
language they know.

You could even say, that translation can help save lives in such cases. Humanitarian documents, information sheets and guidelines are cornerstones when it comes to international crisis communication.

How would you know how to act, if you didn't
understand the language in which the information
is given?
Understanding a crisis without translation?

 

 

 

5. Netflix without translation?

Imagine your favourite TV series without subtitles. Would it still be your favourite?

TV series produced in small languages would be highly uncompetitive in a world without translation.

For instance, look at the international success of Scandinavian series. Would they even have been produced in the same scale, if they were limited to their own nations upfront?

 

 
Netflix without translation?

 

6. Staying safe without translation?

Localised emergency communication and warning signs help us to avoid danger.

Sure, common sense helps too. But can you for
example tell if a fluid is toxic just by looking it at?
If you can, please fill us in on your secret!


 

 

Staying safe without translation?

 

7. International bestsellers without translation?

One might wonder, where J. R. R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling would be, if their works had only been accessible to English-speakers.

And imagine a childhood without knowing of Pippi, Pinnochio or le Petit Prince. You can't, can you?

 

 


 
International bestsellers without translation?

 

8. Video games without translation?

It would be pretty difficult to expand your horizon within video games, if the content could not be
translated into a language you know.

Also, the landscape of video games would most likely have been completely different from the one we know.
How would the Asian video gaming industry have
conquered the Western world, if the content of the games could not be translated?

Would Europeans even know the Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong or Pokémon, if Nintendo had not had the opportunity to make those franchises available in
several languages?

 

 

Video games without translation?

 

9. Staying healthy without translation?

Translation helps us stay healthy by avoiding potential allergens in food, chemicals or medicine, all listed in the ingredients or composition. Crucial information to have access to in a language you can understand!


 

 

 

 

Staying healthy without translation?

 

10. Films without translation?

Watching a film in a foreign language without subtitles and/or voiceover in your own language would most likely bring you a limited amount of entertainment.

Or a limited amount of new knowledge, if you are not in it for the entertainment alone.

Would you consider that to be time well spent?



 

Films without translation

 

11. Keeping informed without translation?

Staying up-to-date is of utmost importance to many of us! (FOMO and all that).

But how should we process news from other countries, if they could not be translated?

 



 

 

Keeping informed without translation?

 

12. Music without translation?

All right, of course you can "sing along" to tunes in
foreign languages. That can even be a lot of fun!


But where would the music industry be, if there was no such thing as translations? If collaborations across countries and continents were almost impossible,
because singers, musicians and producers couldn't find mutual understanding with a little help from their friend "translation"?



 

 

Music without translation?

 

13. Museums without translation?

Imagine going to a museum or exhibition without
being able to read the accompanying texts and
explanations, or with no opportunity to listen to an
audio guide in a language you know.


Of course, going to a museum is to a great extend a visual experience, but how often do you turn to the texts to gain greater insight into the artwork? Wouldn't you miss that?



 
 

 

Museums without translation?

 

14. Travelling without translation?

Try buying a trip abroad, without understanding any of the information about the journey itself by plane/train/boat/etc., the area, the hotel, the sights worth seeing.


Would you take your chances and just do it blindly?




 

Travelling without translation?

 

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