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Bilingualism – Its Advantages and Disadvantages in the Translation Industry

A person is said to be bilingual when he can fluently make use of two languages. Being bilingual, everyone thinks that you are qualified to be a translator. However, becoming bilingual can be a need after migrating to a different country or location with a particular country. For a bilingual to be working as a translator, there should be a clear understanding of the language, the ways to communicate, and comprehend any work to be translated. It is necessary to have theoretical knowledge of the language. Bilingualism and translation go a long way with Hindi to English translation being one of the most common translations. Both these languages are spoken by large communities around the world.

Here are the advantages of bilingualism in the translation industry –

1. Positive emotional and cognitive effects

Professional translators interpret and understand words in a different way that have positive effects on the way they think and communicate with others.

2. Improves the chance of success

Being bilingual, you can become a professional translator or a part-time translator. It can be practiced as a supplementary job as it doesn’t require any special education. Jobs of translators makes to the top 15 fastest-growing occupations in the world. In many multinational companies, bilinguals are paid 5-20% more than monolingual employees.

3. Highly focused

Being bilingual gives you an advantage over monolinguals. They are able to concentrate more and for longer periods and focus well. Bilingualism delays the onset of various neurological and neuromuscular disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

4. It increases your efficiency in multitasking

A study done in Scotland reported that bilingual children were more successful in problem-solving as compared to those who only knew one language. It helps you at making better decisions in life.

Here are some disadvantages bilingual translators come across

1. Free work

Even though you make a living out of it, friends and family would want you to translate some work for them for free. At that time, you need to make them understand that it is your livelihood and will only be dealt professionally.

2. Absence of words

While translating, one of the major issues you shall face is the absence of a word. A particular word might not have a one-word translation, but require two-three words to describe it. This happens in Hindi to English translation.

3. Not enough cultural knowledge

To thoroughly understand a language, you must know the culture behind the language. Learning a European language without understanding the country’s culture and history will make it difficult to translate. Professional translators often come across such language blocks which need to be dealt with quickly.

4. Accent issues

Even if you are a master in the other language, it isn’t possible to mimic the exactly same accent. Locals might disregard a professional translator for being unauthentic and fake in such situations.

Bilingualism is a talent and is innate. To go ahead and become a professional translator one must keep in mind the excessive number of hours and dedication required to master both the language equally.