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Last Update: 23.08.2012

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Translating as a Mission

The Solution of "Babel"

People, cultures as well as businesses that once drifted apart, are re-united by translators.

The biblical background

i(1) And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. (2) And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. (3) And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter (4) And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. (5) And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. (6) And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. (7) Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech! (8) Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

The World nowaday without translators

Mitterand & Kohl in Verdun

Conciliative gesture between former wartime enemies, France and Germany, in Verdun

Imagine what the world would look like and the effects it would have on world industry without people in the position to communicate with other nationalities, peoples and cultures in the respective foreign languages.
Imagine the world resembling the Bible’s description for the construction of the tower of Babel.

Without such people - translators and native speakers (which requires that one speaks at least one other foreign language) - the world we know would be very different and would have proliferated the history of mankind in other directions.

There would be various institutions which contribute today to the understanding between countries, such as UN, NATO, and various aid organizations that would not exist because their intentions were too difficult or even impossible to transmit.
It would not be possible to communicate "international" - between the tribes. Consequently there would exist an economy unlike we know today, and goes without saying, let alone ever build. Trade, business, exchange operations and transactions could not be completed.

Imagine you were a tourist, with no knowledge of Arabic language, going to a bazaar in Morocco and trying to buy something. A bargain in this situation is already very complicated and tempers are easily frayed. But even in such a situation, communication is possible, since there is always someone on hand who acts as a mediator. Without such opportunities for multilingual communication – the thought is seemingly unthinkable.
The situation concerning war policy would be catastrophic because of the numerous misunderstandings. Any attempts to placate certain conflicts of interest would be impossible. Thus irritable and wayward princes would become opponents to their ranks, and any misunderstanding might mean the downfall of a nation.

The translator's role

The translator assumes different roles today. Whether on business for employment in various commercial transactions, or as a mediator and ambassador between two conflicting parties. Without translators each nation would be a world for itself and wouldn’t need a snow storm to "cut itself off from the outside world" ...

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