It seems like English is the global language or even the language of the Universe and it’s also easy to get the idea that everybody speaks English. So, since almost everyone understands English, why do we need the professional translators?
English is one of the important translation languages in the world. The common situation is that, even if something is written with one’s own language, a translation to English is usually the next step.
It seems to be logic and reasonable because most of the world population knows at least some English and also you use English everywhere. However the perception of the English language power can be misleading. According to a report, English is spoken as first language by 309 to 400 million people, while overall as much as 1.8 billion are able to speak English. There would be more languages available. For example Chinese has more native speakers than English.
The reality can also be of difference. For instance, Icelandic texts are being translated mainly to German before any further translations. Besides these exceptions, English has its roots tightly around the World. One outcome of this trend is that the distribution of knowledge around the world is definitely not equal. When English rules the world, people who speak English have almost all the information. Other conclusion is that once people think they have to use English; their native languages are likely to suffer. Languages have less attention and resources to live and to develop, if English is used in most literature, novels and other linguistic output.
Is it seems to be so unfair? The answer is yes. But to make the World a little bit more equal, it is reassuring to know that even the English speaking world (Americans especially) don’t have everything because they don’t have much translated literature in the American market.
The entire phenomenon is not 100% positive either for English itself. When non-native speakers use English, they use it differently than native speakers do. It may sound and look the same, but the rules are different. There’s no point to deny it, we non-native speakers make more mistakes with our English than the native ones.
Let us go back to the topic- translators are needed desperately. The more English is used in the world the more difficult it is to find perfectly used English. We incorrectly think we know it. Translators help us to avoid all the possible mistakes and misunderstandings. Do you agree?