The Impact of Translations on Global Communication…

Graphic of a globe surrounded by various icons like chat bubbles, computers, and books, titled "a world without translations.
Graphic of a globe surrounded by various icons like chat bubbles, computers, and books, titled “a world without translations.

Imagine there are no… translations!


Imagine all the people
Livin’ life at half-speed…



Yes, that was my attempt to adapt John Lennon’s song to our topic for today…
Anyway, today we’re talking about a hypothetical world without translation. Have you ever imagined how it would be?

Translation affects almost every aspect of our lives (if not all!), and most don’t even notice.


On the economic side of things, for example.


Would the concept of exporting even exist? How could you expand your business internationally? Why would customers buy your products if you didn’t have a way to tell them about their benefits in a language they understand?

How about online shopping? It would be almost impossible to buy products from foreign web shops. How would you comprehend product specifications and payment terms before purchasing something?

Still, on the topic of economy, how would you be able to understand an international crisis? When an event like this happens, it is decisive to comprehend crucial information instantly. In this scenario, I think it isn’t farfetched to say that translation could even save lives since it makes it so much easier to know how to act.


What about culture?


Imagine watching a film in a language you don’t understand without subtitles in your language. The level of entertainment or even the amount of knowledge you would be able to absorb would be much more limited. We can also talk about books: would the Harry Potter saga be as successful as it is if it were only accessible to English speakers? Also, imagine never hearing about Pinnochio. Impossible, right?

And gamers: you would be affected as well. How would you expand your horizon within video games if the content was not translated into your language? Also, would the industry have developed the same way without translation? For example, the Asian video gaming industry was decisive in video gaming history overall. Imagine non-Japanese speakers not knowing about Mario, Sonic or Pokémon?

Traveling would not be the same as well. Can you imagine trying to plan a trip abroad without understanding any information about the journey, the hotel or the places to visit? Would you risk it anyway and figure it out along the way?


In many situations, we can avoid danger only because of localized emergency and warning signs. Apart from common sense, of course… One simple example: would you be able to tell if a fluid is toxic just by looking at it? How about avoiding allergens in food or medication? This crucial information would still be listed on the label, but not in a language you could understand.


And, to end this article, how would you keep yourself informed? Staying up-to-date and knowing what is going on in the world is so important to all of us. But how would we be able to read or listen to news from other countries if they were not translated?


Many other examples could emphasize the impact of translation in all of our lives, and the more everyone is aware of this, the better.




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