Many critics, no defenders

“Many critics, no defenders,
translators have but two regrets:
when we hit, no one remembers,
when we miss, no one forgets.”


This is a well-known verse among translators, but is it really true? Are translators really given due credit for their work or are we destined to deliver translation after translation without the thanks we deserve?

Our task is difficult for various reasons, but the underlying challenge in our work is to deliver a final product that not only reflects the source document as much as possible, but also ensures that the language used makes perfect sense to a native speaker. However, when clients request translations, how many of them really understand the effort that goes into finding the intricate balance between these two issues?

Aside from the fact that without translators, our world would not be as globalized as it already is, many people are still hesitant to use translators as they have the power to change the entire meaning of a phrase by modifying a single word. Unless a client is bilingual in both the source and target language, complete, blind trust is placed in the hands of translators to accurately deliver the message of the document in another language.

So, is this just the nature of our job? What do you think?