Kalanjiyam - International Journal of Tamil Studies

ISSN : 2456-5148

New Frontiers of Translation in 21 st Century

Miss.Sivapalan Kopika



Translation is one of the various branches of learning and it has become an important discipline that encompasses separate body of Knowledge. Newmark considers translation as ” A craft consisting in the attempt to replace a written message or statement in one language into another language ”. The need for translation has existed since immemorial. Translating important literary works from one language into others has contributed significantly to the development of international culture. Particular social forms and cultural norms and ideas have constantly been spreading an assimilating into other cultures by the way of translation. This paper attempts to examine the status of Translation in this Century. It is also intended to help budding translators to understand the current status of the field of translation and to suggest ways and means for them to prepare themselves in advance for their professional task. No one can down play the crucial role played by the translators in serving as a bridge between languages thereby coming to the rescue of monolingual speakers. That is why translation is viewed as a means to reinforce international and intercultural relationship.

It is known that translation was carried out as early as the mesopotamian era when the Sumerian poem, Gilgamesh was translated into Asian languages. This dates back to around the second millennium BC. Other ancient translated works include those carried out by Buddhist monks who translated Indian documents into Chinese. In later periods, Ancient Greek texts were also translated by Roman poets and were adapted to create developed literary works for entertainment. It is known that translation services were utilised in Rome by Cicero and Horace and that these uses were continued through to the 17th century, where newer practices were developed.

It is argued that the knowledge and findings of Greek academics was developed and understood so widely thanks to the translation work of Arabic scholars. When the Greeks were conquered, their works were taken in by Arabic scholars who translated them and created their own versions of the scientific, entertainment and philosophical understandings. These Arabic versions were later translated into Latin, during the Middle Ages, mostly throughout Spain and the resulting works provided the foundations of Renaissance academics.

The need for translation became greater with the development of religious texts and spiritual theories. As religion developed, the desire to spread the word and encourage faith means that religious texts needed to be available in multiple languages. One of the first translated religious texts is known to have been that of the Old Testament which was translated into Greek in the 3rd century BC. Without the use of our modern practices and tools, this translation was carried out by no less than 70 scholars who painstakingly converted the text into Greek and this became the basis for future translations of the bible in multiple languages.

Significance of Translation


The role of the translator in mediating source ideas across cultural and national boundaries places him or her in a unique position specially for understanding a range of development issues.  Translating narratives from the global South is an invaluable source of knowledge about unfamiliar languages, indigenous cultures and experiences, and is immensely useful for gaining an understanding of non-European societies.  Moreover, translation can also have a critical influence in politics and can act as an agent for reconciliation or social integration.  Translations can therefore have a distinct effect on how global and human rights issues can be conveyed and communicated.

Scope  of  Translation

Translation in 21st century is not limited to literary texts only or non- literary texts only , its scope has widened. So far , now translations are used in following areas as well. Translation is exceptionally important for companies and businesses which operate in multiple countries and often need to share and receive information from different global offices and branches across the world. In such cases, the shared information needs to be translated into a locally preferred language so that everyone involved is on the same page. Translation is also useful when companies need to tie up with local businesses, or make governmental proposals.

Translation of various art forms like music, film and literature from a region is necessary for global understanding of a region and its life. The Plight of Palestine refugees, the poverty in Brazilian streets, the colorful life in Spanish cities are spreading across the world through good media translation. Translated films and subtitled films generate more revenue for global film industry, while translated music and literature provides added royalties to the artists. In our modern era of globalization, many companies want to engage with audiences in more than one country in order to sell their products and raise awareness of their brand. Media translation  helps to achieve this goal.

Today, international diplomacy is the most important aspect of a nation’s external affairs. World leaders always present their ideas and thoughts in a language they are comfortable in. It is very important that these ideas are translated in an expressive and accurate manner without any deviation and omission. Companies that are serious in their efforts to attract, retain and please tourists, it’s vitally important that translation is carried out correctly. This is why expert translators are needed when it comes to even simple things like translating tour materials, travel guides and other things that people will typically use when they’re on holiday and it takes more than just someone who has a working knowledge of both the target and source language. You want to be working with a translator who is fluent in both, so they can retain the magical, mesmerising tones used to sell holidays and activities, even after translation.

The translator are the first linguist to work with the source text. His main goal is to accurately render the text from original language into target language. Editing is the phase that follows translation. The translator re-checks the target language content again in order to ensure that the message from the source text delivers the intended idea accurately.

Impact of technology in Translation

Following on from the Industrial Revolution, the economy developed rapidly and evolved into a machine with the potential for global success. Since 18th century, businesses have benefitted from formalised translation services but the dawn of modern practice came with the widespread introduction of the internet. The internet has revolutionised the ability to access, translate and understand texts and documents from all over the world, whether they be contemporary or historical pieces. Crucially, the need to understand the culture of the original country and that of the target audience is further enhanced by modern tools and practices. translation is not only the basic tool for intercultural communication and a vehicle for understanding among nations but has turned into an essential element for the economy of any company seeking an international presence beyond the borders of its home country (Corte, 2002).

Modern tools in Translation

Technological advancement in the world has brought new trends in translation process as well. These recent trends in translation are following

  • Machine translation(Systran , Trados , Wordfast, memoQ, and Deja Vu )
  • Translation memory software
  • Automated real time translations
  • Computer Aided Translation
  • Digital dictionaries
  • Collaborative translation
  • Transliteration

It is essential to encourage the usage of  CAT tools in translation. They’re designed to support a translator in their work, allowing a professional to make use of a machine’s speed and memory to increase the overall efficiency of the translation process.

The time factor is very important for translation of any texts .It is necessary for a translator to finish the translation before the deadline. Even though , the human translators provide the complete translation but they always struggle with the dead line. Modern technologies are introduced in the field of translation in Western world. Especially the usage of CAT tools help us to do numerous translations in the field of Linguistic discipline.CAT software can lead to huge increase in terms of speed of Translation.It will help to do number of translations. For instance , when working on a translation of Legal text we come across lengthy list of terminologies that are specific to the discipline.The use of modern technology help to render the translation of appropriate terminologies electronically with the help of CAT.

Statistics show that around 85% of translators already use CAT tools in their work. However, the rest 15% are still unwilling to grasp the potential of CAT. It is mostly because of the limited understanding of CAT and the fear of being replaced by technology.

Once translators become aware of the useful CAT software or platforms, they can use the potential of the tools to excel in their careers. Overall, translators show a 40% to 60% increase in productivity when they use CAT tools in their translation process. The combination of human creation, assisted with computerized machines is the key to quality content creation and translation.


Translation is very necessary for democratization of knowledge, social harmony and peace, and ensuring human happiness in the new world integrated by technology and economy. Nowadays, when translation is the language of Europe when, in the age of globalization, we are facing an ethically challenging activity – since it needs to combine identity and otherness in a world which is becoming richer thanks to migration, the coming and going of peoples and the resulting pluralism and cultural relativism, but which is also confronted with the problems this may lead to – translation is much more than just a mirror.All in all, computer-assisted translation should be an essential part of the workflow of every modern translator. Every good translator should opt for using computerized tools to increase the efficiency, productivity, and quality of a translation. Grasping the new ways of computer-aided interpretations is a path to obtaining continual success.