Translators (and interpreters or linguists) are generally thought of as a quiet, nerdy bunch who might hit the limelight for a few minutes if they are translating at the Oscars, but who usually stay hidden in a booth at the back of room, or in a little office with a computer and internet access, but they are actually the unsung heroes who are saving the world!
While most of us are going about our daily business; reading articles online, taking medication when we’re ill, communicating with people online around the world, or even flying off on holiday, we don’t realise that many of things are only possible because of translators.
Developing new medicines is a laborious process which includes lab research, long-winded human trials, clinical research, cost-effectiveness tests, marketing and patenting, so when these medicines need to be available around the world there must be accurate translations for all of the above.
One mistranslation can cause delays, or even loss of funding, so that worthwhile drugs never reach the people they are created to help.
Translators are essential in this process, providing precise translations for directions for use, ingredients, research data, product packaging, and so on.
Without these accurate translations, medicines could be misused, patients may take the wrong dose, or be allergic to an ingredient, which could end in severe illness or even death.
Translators who translate prescription and medication information save lives all the time – we rarely think about this or even realise that our lives depend upon the accuracy of the translations.
There are also medical translations relating to the machines that are used in hospitals all over the world.
Machines such as, defibrillators, ECG machines, traction equipment, medical imaging machines, and many more, all require translations for use in different countries around the world.
For instance, defibrillators were first invented in Switzerland in 1899 but the first patent for a portable device was from Belfast, Ireland. Since then these machines have been used accurately in emergency vehicles all over the world thanks to the shared knowledge of linguists, engineers and doctors.
When you are jetting off on your holidays, have you ever wondered how a Middle Eastern engineer knows how to repair a Boeing engine on the airplane in which you are travelling?
The chances are, you have never even considered this, but Boeing is an American company (founded in Seattle, Washington) with planes now in use all around the world, so they must have documents relating to the planes available in every language.
All planes must be maintained and serviced regularly, with daily safety checks and guidelines for when issues arise.
These documents need to be highly accurate and contain technical information specifically related to aviation and aerospace so should be translated by native-speaking linguists who have specialist sector knowledge alongside their expert language and translation skills.
Translating Vital Information during Pandemics
With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting most countries around the world, there has been a greater need for highly accurate, professional translation services than ever before.
Information such as, infection risks, treatment plans, vaccine production, contamination data, virus statistics, and other vital medical information must be shared by governments around the world to help combat the pandemic.
Translators have been working tirelessly alongside front-line workers such as doctors, nurses, and lab technicians, and in conjunction with government groups, the World Health Organization, and so on, to ensure the sharing of accurate data is as fast as possible.
Translators are essential in ensuring seamless communication between people, no matter where they are based in the world.
They bridge the language barrier, forming an international connection, so that we can all keep in touch with and understand work colleagues, business associates, friends and family, and so we can still have access to essential imported/exported products without language difficulties delaying the process.
Translators (and professional language services providers) have been saving the world, quietly and consistently, for many years.
Remember, next time you reach for your medicine, or strap into your seat on the plane, that it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of translators!
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