Hand-crafted or Industrial…Really a Dilemma?

Obviously, for some, the question will go beyond the limits of the discussion focused specifically on translations. In each answer there will surely be a certain philosophical position reflected.

A negative answer most likely will be judged by some as a manifestation of relativism. By contrast, the absolutists say that there is no dilemma and tend to align themselves with the ranks of the defenders of either side (hand-crafted or industrial producers).

The truth is that the alternative is still present in all sectors and activities. It is also a common historical evolution from the hand-crafted to industrial. Thus we find St. Jerome, now revered as the patron saint of translators, who in a literary effort of immense proportions translated the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin back in the fourth century. Nobody would debate the hand-crafted nature of this work that led to the spread of the religions of the Old and New Testament in the regions of the West.

Perhaps it is a shock to the system to make the leap some fifteen centuries into the future to face one undeniable phenomenon: globalization. The breakdown of barriers to communication and the search of the gaps for the transfer of information has created a demand difficult to satisfy: that of having so much information available in different languages ​​that serve as a means of expression of many other cultures.

It’s not just the volume of such information, but also the acceleration to which it should or must be disseminated so that it arrives where it needs to go when it needs to get there.

And … I haven’t even touched on the most important aspect, which is, as always, the quality! This must be at least sufficient to ensure the transfer of the significance of the original language text. However, the other two conditions, volume  and opportunity, in some ways work to the detriment of the latter. That’s when we should accept that some translations are to be managed industrially.

At the risk of being accused of “relativism”, I think in today’s world there is still room for both. Translations will always be a place of demand for works that are hand-crafted, with a lot of added value and will surely be rewarded with a higher price. But I cannot deny that we should be open to accepting a demand for industrial translations that may provide support for the expansion of the phenomenon of globalization.

(Versión en español: https://www.trustedtranslations.com/traducciones-artesanales-o-industriales-realmente-una-disyuntiva-2011-05-03.html)