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  • Kati Peltomäki

Patience is a forgotten virtue



Long gone are the days when you’d fire up the computer to go online and have time to make a cup of tea while listening to the sweet sounds of the dial-up modem connection. Some rare souls have managed to preserve that degree of patience, but for the most part we jumped for joy as things sped up. But have they sped up too much? Why do we expect professional translators to work at the speed of machine translation engines while maintaining the quality level of a perfect human translation? Have we forgotten what rushing leads to?


We are used to getting everything we want, now. And having become such masters of speedy multitasking, our perception of time may have shifted as well. We catch up on audiobooks and podcasts while exercising, check social media for updates about how our friends and family are doing while having dinner, and solve work problems while watching a movie. The list goes on. With our attention constantly divided between a million tasks, something you did an hour earlier can feel like it was done many days ago. I often find myself wondering why I haven’t received a reply to an email I sent last week just to realise that it’s actually only been a couple of hours!

 

So why is it that, in a time when online translators can translate a 20-page text from one language to another in a matter of seconds, you have to wait for hours or a full day to get back a tiny 100-word text from a translation company?

It’s true that active translation time for a short text isn’t hours or days, but regardless of the text length, each translation order requires certain steps even before the actual translation can start. Orders need to be processed and set up, and a translator and proofreader need to be secured for the job. With good luck, they don’t have a long list of other projects to finish off first, but more likely they won’t be able to start on your text that very second.

 

This may require slightly more planning ahead and some extra time allotted, to which our easily-frustrated brains are less accustomed these days, but that extra time allows for the language artists at Transfluent to bring your message to life in a different language.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, they say, and neither are carefully handcrafted translations!

 

If you want to know more about the difficulties in translation, have a look at our article about translating idioms.

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