Recently I discovered a really interesting company called Smartling. In case you didn’t know, Smartling is a translating software company which translates websites into many different languages so they can be shared with anyone worldwide. I think this is such a great solution to an issue a lot of us probably don’t think of.
I believe that any type of text should be accessible to anyone around the world to read no matter what language they speak. Just because a book or text is written in one language doesn’t mean its audience should be limited to speakers of that particular language. By translating texts we can widen the audience of various forms of literature and spread the stories that are told in them.
What I value most in literature is the storyline and theme of each book. I believe that anyone interested should be able to access and read these. In different books or texts, authors can share significant messages with their audience. Most of these messages are very important and relevant to many people worldwide and should therefore be shared with as many people as possible. The act of sharing these messages should not be limited by language.
This is when translation comes in, which I think is very important. I believe that the most important aspect of writing that should be preserved through translation is the key messages of a story. Having these key messages translated will still allow new audiences to experience the text in the same way and hopefully gain the same messages out of it as the audience of the original text would.
I am a firm believer, as such a big bookworm, that literature can shape our lives in many ways. I decided to research various books that I’d read that were translated into English from other languages. I was actually quite surprised with what I found and just how many books I read were originally written in other languages. One book that I really loved as a kid which I think definitely shaped part of my life was Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. But little did I know that this book was originally written in Swedish and without it being translated I wouldn’t have had access to read it. Other examples include Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and Heidi by Johanna Spyri as well as other well known classics such as Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Think of how different many people’s lives and society and culture in general would be without these books. On top of this many fairytales were originally written in other languages and then translated and adapted worldwide. A classic example of this is Cinderella. One of the most popular original versions of this story was originally written in French yet now almost anyone from around the world would recognise the name Cinderella.
Now with virtually everything being online, (pun not intended ;)) it’s important to realise that we again face the problem of translation. Millions of websites don’t have translation options and therefore have a limited audience. Lots of people, myself included, forget this issue. I’m sure we’ve all felt the frustration of clicking on to a website and then realising that it’s not written in our language. And since we speak the third most spoken the language in the world this is sure to happen a lot less then people who speak lesser known languages.
This is why I think Smartling is such a great idea and solution to a problem faced by many around the world. Because of Smartling it may one day be possible for anyone to go online and know that any website will be available for them to read. But for now if you are interested you can learn more about their translation software.
I hope after this you gained a bit more of an understanding or appreciation for translation. Leave in the comments what your favourite translated book is! Thanks for reading!
Gabby The Dauntless Warlock xx