posted by: Ravi Kumar
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By Ravi Kumar, Founder, Modlingua Learning 
First presented at International Symposium on Technical Translation and Terminology for Cross-Cultural Dialogue: 12-13 November 2009, Hacettepe University, Beytepe/Ankara; Later published at ITI Journal, UK in March- April 2010
This paper deals with Translators as entrepreneurs who are slowly getting aware of their profession and have begun coming to a common platform to share knowledge, experience and resources – a most desired step necessary for the better future of the profession. Further, this paper will propose “networking” as a possible solution to entrepreneurs who can economize their process and speed up their growth by using available resources and infrastructure without having to invest huge.
Bilingualism, multilingualism, challenges, economizing efforts, Babelfish, Google, limited resources for translators, entrepreneurship, common platform, networking, Co-creating values.


Before we enter into discussion on the Translator as an entrepreneur it is important for us to define entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship means different things to different people. For J.A Timmons, The Entrepreneurial Mind, 1989, it is the ability to create and build something from practically nothing. For Wennekers and Thurik, Linking Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth, 1999 it is the creation of new economic opportunities. For Wickham, Strategic Entrepreneurship: A decision making approach to new venture creation and management, 1998, it means creating and managing vision and demonstrating leadership. For Peter Druker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, it is a practice with a knowledge base.

Conceptually and in practice, the term hints of no stereotypical model. Yet it has its root in the French word ‘entreprendre’ which literally means to undertake – indicating the minimum characteristics of an entrepreneur.

From the perspective of economic functions, three crucial characteristics of entrepreneurial activity are: risk taking, innovation and venturing into new business activities for profit. (David Kirby, Entrepreneurship, 2003 McCraw Hill).

National Knowledge Commission (NKC), the core advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, which focuses on creating knowledge capital, has recognized entrepreneurship as one of the key factors of wealth creation and employment generation. As per NKC, ‘Entrepreneurship is the professional application of knowledge, skills and competencies and / or of monetizing a new idea by an individual or a set of people by launching an enterprise de novo or diversifying from an existing one (distinct from seeking self employment as in a profession or trade), thus to pursue growth while generating wealth, employment and social good’.

Entrepreneurship in India

Entrepreneurship has been ‘embedded in the Indian genius and is a part of its tradition’[1]. To quote the renowned economist, T.N. Srinivasan, ‘India has been an entrepreneurial society…we had the entrepreneurial skill but suppressed it for too long a time…and now it is thriving. The entrepreneurial spirit is an ongoing characteristic of India’s history, particularly visible in a number of communities engaged primarily in trading.[2] Traditionally, the Entrepreneurship of such communities is facilitated principally by the successful use of informal ‘entrepreneurial ecosystems’ and interdependent business networks. Further, there is also a rich tradition within the Indian Diaspora, spanning the past several hundred years, whose spirit of enterprise is legion.

Entrepreneurship in India occurs in ‘far more encompassing and far reaching ways than in developed countries’, and could, therefore, be far more complex,’ for there is so much more that needs to be done.[3] Commentators today celebrate the ubiquitous Indian attitude of ‘jugaad’ (a Hindi word roughly translated as ‘creative improvisation…a tool to some how find a solution based on a refusal to accept defeat, and calling on initiative, quick thinking, cunning and resolve…to quickly fulfill market demands at the lowest possible prices[4]’) as an entrepreneurial trait that has been as much a part of everyday Indian living as its rich tradition of philosophy and speculation.

The salience of Entrepreneurship in India has intensified in recent times, particularly with the rise in knowledge-intensive Services. New entrepreneurs who do not belong to traditional business communities have begun to emerge in large numbers; Entrepreneurship has grown rapidly, visibly so, creating wealth and generating employment especially in the past twenty years. Crucial efforts initiated after economic liberalization – including systematic attempts to reduce the ‘licence raj’, greater efforts to make finance more easily accessible to entrepreneurs and other institutional support to ‘techno-preneurs’- have helped improve the climate for Entrepreneurship.

The Translator as an entrepreneur

After several years of struggle, in many countries Translation has evolved as a professional activity and its practitioners have been able to get a professional status. However, it is important to note that India, in spite of having recognized and documented the presence of 1635 rationalized mother tongues, classified into 234 mother tongues and grouped under 122 languages, has failed to achieve professional status for its translators. Translation is an activity that not only helps bridge communication gap, rather it facilitates the whole set of business activity in terms of localization and globalization thus generating employment. An individual translator not only generates employment for himself/herself but also facilitates multiple activities and thus multiple employment activities ranging from DTP, advertising, education etc. to development and facilitation of high-end software and products. A translator applies his knowledge, skills and competencies and consistently evolves and applies new ideas at the individual level or collectively and in most of the cases, he/she is one person enterprise that generates employment and wealth and contributes to the economic development of the country.

It is also notable that most of the translators in India are forced to orient their profession and tune it as per the language demand of the industry by being restricted to the roles of language teacher, BPO employee, tele caller, etc. Those who remain loyal to their professional orientation as translator become freelance translators and often slowly grow into translation agencies. Unlike big business houses, translation businesses are usually run from home or from sparsely-furnished small offices, have limited resources and often the owners don’t know where the next penny is coming from to keep the operation going. Most of the time, such translators or agencies work in isolation and lead lonely existences as few can empathize with their troubles.

Socio- Cultural situation of translators in India

Bilinguals have always been respected in India as persons with superior qualifications, and they have played a pivotal role in social and cultural change. Slowly, bilingualism has become so widespread that it is complementary in nature. For example, an individual may use a particular language at home, another in the neighborhood and the bazaar, and still another in certain formal domains such as education, administration, and the like. In addition, the languages of national and international communication, Hindi and English, are also part of the linguistic repertoire of a sizeable number of Indians. In India, linguistic diversity is not by accident, but is inherited in the process of acquiring the composite culture of India.

Economic Situation of a translator in India

On the one hand, bilingualism/ multilingualism have played a pivotal role in shaping the diverse society of India, and even UNESCO has appreciated India’s situation on maintaining its linguistic diversity. On the other hand, Indian translators face challenges that are byproducts of the bilingualism / multilingualism inherent in Indian society. For example, it is very common to equate a translator with a bilingual neighbor, friend, relative or office colleague who are readily available for help or extend their services either at a very low price or, many times, even for free. I define these actions as part of the entrepreneurship attitude inherent in almost every Indian who tries to make best use of available resources and economizes his/ her efforts by making use of available resources. In this case, the resources are readily available bilinguals or multilinguals. These challenges become tougher when a Project Manager, knowingly or unknowingly equates the service cost of a professional translator with that of his in-house bilingual colleague whose services he / she has been availing of, free of charge. The challenge becomes stiffer when a translator has to explain to the Project Manager or the Indian Businessman (who still insists on using online freeware like Babelfish, Google or Systran) the difference between a machine translation and a professional translation, while trying to bid for an international project. This further confirms the resolve of an Indian businessman to prove his entrepreneurship skill which finally leads to a fiasco.

Making of a translator in India

As explained above, in spite of India’s very rich and continuing diversity of languages, there are only a few universities that offer translation courses in their curriculum, and these find it difficult to sustain themselves because of lack of infrastructure, lack of trained faculty, lack of well formulated course curriculum and, above and all, public lack of awareness and government apathy.

In this situation, it becomes very challenging for a translator to evolve as a professional, and those who evolve as professionals can be easily put into the category of entrepreneurs as they develop the ability to create and build something from practically nothing, and they practice this process of building wealth daily and continue to face all odds with a hope that one day they would be established translators. 

External challenges faced by the translator entrepreneur

Once a professional translator starts interacting with the Industry, external challenges multiply. The translator goes on to face many other issues, including payment issues with clients followed by lack of continuity of work, government apathy towards professional recognition, lack of established standards, lack of certification, lack of funds for up gradation of skills,  etc.

Global challenges faced by the translator entrepreneur

Many of the leading portals have developed a strong foothold in India. It is true that they have given good opportunities to many of the translators to get in touch with domestic as well as International agencies and that this has resulted in an increase in income. However, it is important to note that most of these portals are operated from outside India and they follow their own rules. Many times, Indian translators are cheated and then, to add insult to injury, blamed for bad quality. This kind of situation arises because of a mismatch of expectations, lack of documented guidelines and supports that agencies or clients must offer translators. Outsourcing is a good phenomenon, but service takers as well as service providers need to develop trust and culture sensitive relationships that is so often lacking in these web portals.

Competition from International agencies

It is true that the majority of Indian translators still follow the translation approach of translation – many times translations are handwritten, followed by typing, re-checking – and final delivery; this translation approach has its own importance, but it results in delivery delay and lack of quality control, making the whole affair vulnerable to stiff competition.

On the other hand, International agencies who maintain in-house teams of translators are sophisticated. They make use of trained translators who are well versed with computer applications and CAT tools (Computer Aided Translation Tools). Unless Indian translators also upgrade themselves with this modern translation approach, they will continue to suffer the snobbery of a select privileged few. Also, there are a few MNCs who have already made their presence in the Indian market, and, as a matter of practice, with their organizational strength and economic power, it would be easy for them to develop an economically competitive process that would be a big challenge to Indian translators entrepreneurs who are still struggling for their identity. By the time they realize their weaknesses, it would be too late to start competing with these translation houses. 

Internal challenges faced by the translator entrepreneur

An individual, after having gone through the hurdles involved in evolving as a translator, faces the next stage of problems and  challenges that many times originate from his / her own self:   

1) Translation activities have been treated as a very personal and private affair by individual language professionals. Many times, even best friends do not share information between themselves about their translation projects.

2) Translators suffer from an identity crisis - Let us say, an Indian language professional refers to himself as a translator in a gathering of friends or acquaintances who otherwise have no other association with the translation industry. The response the professional's statement would commonly receive would simply be, "Okay, this is what you do. But what is your profession?" This underlines the very simple fact that the translation industry generally has very little professional recognition in the perception of the masses. This does affect the credibility and the position of a professional translator in the eyes of his social peers. This is what we translators refer to as an Identity Crisis.

3) Ego clashes - identity crisis makes an individual more sensitive to issues that have been making him suffer, any new initiative is regarded with suspicion - once suspicion comes - questions are asked, many times resulting in absurd questions offending egos and ultimately, failure of any collective initiatives for professional development.

 4) If at all logic prevails - the established translators start fearing loosing their business which they have established since years, making personal efforts - but very privately. Under no circumstances do they want to come to a common platform and discuss relations or issues related to their clients. But this thought is not expressed directly (part of identity crisis), rather it is expressed in terms of pin-pointing personal or professional or organizational weaknesses of the individual who has taken the initiative. 

 Successful translators and diversification

In spite of all the odds mentioned above, there are quite a good number of translators in India who face these challenges and overcome all hurdles to finally make a living and contribute to the economic and cultural growth of the country. In addition, there are a few who grow enough to launch small and medium sized translation enterprises which further add value to translation as a profession.

Need for collaborative efforts

With the collaborative efforts of a few like minded professional translators, the Indian Translators Association was established in December 2007. It seeks to unite the widespread translator and interpreter community of India on a common platform to address issues for the betterment of the industry and take steps to ensure that its members provide services meeting the professional standards of the industry. Its integration with the International Federation of Translators (FIT) in July 2008 and its subsequent collaboration with Termnet Austria prove its commitment towards achieving its objectives and goal of developing a vibrant platform for the translator’s community of India. 

Networking as a Possible Solution

To counter external as well as internal challenges a translator needs to take into consideration the phenomenon of globalization that has brought tremendous dynamism into market forces. The world is evolving towards finding innovative ways of achieving customer satisfaction that is based on N =1 (one consumer experience at a time) and R = G (resource from multiple vendors and often from around the globe). [5] To achieve competitiveness and provide unique, personalized experiences to consumers the firm needs to create a system that involves individual customers in co-creating a product / service that provides a unique experience. No firm is big enough in scope and size to satisfy the experiences of one consumer at a time. Therefore, all firms will access resources from a wide variety of other big and small firms – a global ecosystem. The focus is on access to resources, not ownership of resources. Not to go too deeply into the logistics of this innovative thought, it is very important to understand that even the biggest companies do not own all the necessary resources to cater to the needs of their customer, nor do they have complete production in-house as the new dynamics of market demands inter-dependency on internal and external sources.

The above thoughts are very encouraging for an entrepreneur and especially for the translator who depends heavily on external sources and who does not have enough funds to own resources. As explained above, nor do the big business houses have the complete ownership of resources. The idea is to have fast access to these resources. A translator entrepreneur needs to be connected to fellow translators within his own country as well as outside the country to have access to information and knowledge and develop teams for the execution of a project through available resources and provide services and achieve customer satisfaction. For developing connectivity and networking, there are already various online systems in place that allow free access to their platform and offer options to develop connectivity and develop social or professional networks that further helps individual members to build on relationships, share knowledge and help in the overall growth of a complete social or cultural system thus allowing the creator of the system to benefit from the presence of a large number of human networks connected to its server. Amongst many other networks, I find Google, LinkedIn, Face Book, Hotmail, Groupsite and Twitter to be examples of the N=1 and R=G phenomenon.   

Even for translators, there are well known networks that work wonders, and a translator must tune himself / herself to changing dynamics and bring competitiveness through using these networks (for example, Termium Canada, Terment Austria or even Termtruk and various other initiatives). In the Indian context, although there has not been a very visible network of translators, empowered by big business houses, however many personal initiatives are in place (for example, and it is expected that in times to come when better understating of the market comes, translators would start networking in an organized way and such private initiatives would become part of a collective initiative covering a considerable number of translators.

All that remains to be said in conclusion is that, while Indian translators as entrepreneurs are slowly evolving, in spite of many obstacles, they are yet to explore their fullest potential by adopting a common platform. On the one hand, this, and the other hurdles and set backs can be attributed, to a large extent, to vestigial colonial mind sets on all sides  (the colonizer and the colonized) which have so far endured past their expiry dates yet continue to exert influence. Perhaps the time has come for change and, given the shared impacts of events, East or West, North or South, salvation for all lies in sharing knowledge, experience and resources. The future of translation as a profession lies in the “networking” of entrepreneurs to economize processes and sustain growth by using all available resources and infrastructure. All that this requires is the investment of goodwill across the globe.

[1] R. Gopalakrishnan, Prosperity Beyond Our Cities by Spreading Enterprise, AD Shroff Memorial Lecture, October 17-18, 2007
[2] Dwijendra Tripathy (ed.), Business Communities of India: A Historical Perspective. 1984
[3] Tarun Khanna, Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are reshaping their future and yours, 2007
[4] See Pawan K Verma, Being Indian
[5] This phenomenon can be more understood by going through the writings of management guru C.K Prahalad and M.S. Krishnan in “ The New Age of Innovation: Driving Co-Created Value through Global Networks, Tata Mc Graw Hill, 2008 
This Article is written by Ravi Kumar, Founder of Modlingua Learning, India's No.1 Certified Translation Service Providers
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Itamar Even-Zohar, born 1939, is an Israeli culture researcher and professor at Tel Aviv University. Even-Zohar is a pioneer of polysystem theory and the theory of cultural repertoires.
After broadening of approaches towards translation from static ones to skopos theory, and then register and discourse analysis, relating language to its socio-cultural function in 1960’s, a new model called “poly-system theory was developed in 1970’s. The theorists saw translated literature as a system operating in the larger social, literary and historical systems of the target culture. This was an important move, as till that point, translated literature was always considered as a derivative and second rate form.

Structuralist Approach

Since the early 1970s Even-Zohar has been working on developing theoretical tools and research methodology for dealing with the complexity and interdependency of socio-cultural ‘systems,’ which he views as heterogeneous, versatile and dynamic networks. In 1972, he proposed a multi-layered structural theory of text, but soon became one of the first critics of “Static Structuralism”.

Note: Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure is known to have worked on Structural Linguistics. His book “Course in General Linguistics”, published posthumously in 1916, stressed examining language as a static system of interconnected units. He is thus known as a father of modern linguistics for bringing about the shift from diachronic (historical) to synchronic (non-historical) analysis, as well as for introducing several basic dimensions of semiotic analysis that are still important today, such as syntagmatic and paradigmatic analysis (or 'associations' as Saussure was still calling them).
Even-Zohar (1978) noticed structuralist agenda as a rigid and ‘sterile’ interpretation of Saussure’s notions of structure and ‘linguistic system’.

Poly-system theory
In 1978, Itmar Even Zohar constructed a research program that dealt with literary systems rather than text. It allowed researchers to break away from the normative notion of “literature” and “culture” as limited sets of highbrow products and explore a multi-layered interplay between “center” and “periphery”, and “canonized” and “non-canonized.”

Zohar emphasized that translated literature operates as a system:

1. In the way the TL selects work for translation.
2. In the way translation norms, behavior and policies are influenced by other co-systems

Shuttleworth and Cowie (1997:176) follows: The polysystem is conceived as a heterogeneous, hierarchized conglomerate (or system) of systems which interact to bring about an ongoing dynamic process of evaluation within the poly-system as a whole.
Dynamic process of evaluation is vital to the polysystem. Broadly there are two types of systems: 1) Innovatory System 2) Conservative system. Both the systems are in constant state of flux and competition. Because of this flux the position of translated literature is not fixed either. It may occupy a primary or a secondary position in the polysystem.

Primary (Innovatory)
It participates actively in shaping the center of the polysystem. It is likely to be innovatory and linked to major events of literary history as they are taking place. Often, leading writers produce the most important translations and translations are a leading factor in the formation of the new models of for the target culture, introducing new poetics, techniques and so on. Zohar gives three major cases where translated literature occupies the primary position.

1. When a young literature is being established and looks initially to older ones for ready –made models.
2. When a literature is peripheral or weak, and imports those literary types which it is lacking. This can happen when a smaller nation is dominated by the culture of a larger one, or this can happen within a nation where various levels of literary canons exist. Eg. Within Spain, Galicia imports many translations from the dominant Spanish form Castillian, on the other hand, Spain itself imports canonized and non-canonized literature from English speaking world.
3. When there is a critical turning point in the literary history at which the established models are no longer considered sufficient, or when there is a vacuum in the literature of the country. Where no type holds sway, it is easier for foreign models to assume primacy.

Secondary (Conservative)
It represents a peripheral system within the polysystem. It has no major influence over the central system and even becomes a conservative element, preserving conventional forms and conforming to the literary norms of the target system. Secondary position is normal one for translated literature, however, translated literature itself is stratified.

Translation Strategy
Position occupied by translated literature in the polysystem conditions the translation strategy.
If it is primary, translators do not tend to follow target literature models and are more prepared to break conventions, they thus produce a TT that is close match in terms of adequacy, reproducing the textual relations of the ST. This itself may, then lead to new SL models.
If it is secondary, translators tend to use existing target –culture models for the TT and produce more non–adequate translations.
Genztler sums up, polysystem theory as per the following

1. Literature itself is studied alongside the social, historical, and cultural forces.
2. Even-Zohar moves away from the isolated study of individual texts towards the study of translation within the cultural and literary systems in which it functions.
3. The non-prescriptive definition of equivalence and adequacy allows for variation according to cultural and historical situation of the text.The last point helped theorist to escape from the constant use of concept of equivalence in 1960’s and 1970’s.

Critique by Gentzler
1. Overgeneralization to universal laws of translation based on relatively little evidence
2. Over reliance on formalist model of 1920’s, Zohar later evolved it, thus contradictory to its own theory, and might be inappropriate for translated texts in the 1970s.
3. the tendency to focus on the abstract model rather than the real-life constraints placed on texts and translators.
4. How far the supposed scientific model is objective ?
This Article is written by Ravi Kumar, Founder of Modlingua Learning, India's No.1 Certified Translation Service Providers
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An overall assessment of the book "The never cold call again Online Playbook" Written by Writer: Frank J.Rumbauskas Jr. 

1. Purpose of the book

“The never cold call again online playbook” is an informative book that shows how to create a targeted, web-based sales and marketing strategy that fits small as well as well large enterprises. It systematically deals with all important aspects of creating a platform, its branding and marketing that involves increase of online presence through e-mail campaign, building buzz online, social media marketing and search engine optimization, traffic generation, website planning in order to turn traffic into sales and generation of back-end profits etc.

1.1 Author’s goal

The author in a very simple language explains the facts and strategies that he applies to his own online business. He shares his experience and how his business turned out to be one of the well known success stories of present time. Through this book, he aims to impart knowledge related to online marketing strategies involving creation of an online business platform, its branding and marketing. Before entering into details of the strategies that he has developed over a period of time through his own involvement in an internet based business, he warns the reader not to expect overnight results by simply creating a website. He further explains that good profit and results can be achieved only through a well-planned strategy and consistent online efforts through branding, building buzz online, generating highly targeted high value traffic, turning traffic into sales and getting backend profits.

1.2 Target readers

The book deals with a variety of subject matters related to online marketing, branding, media coverage, buzz building through blogging, podcasting, vodcasting, tweeting, use of social network, traffic generation, e-mail marketing, use of craiglists and other internet classified sites, youtube, affiliate programs and joint ventures, creation of viral effects and website planning and development with a view to increase profit and sales and make use of online identity to generate offline income. Therefore, it serves as a reference book for students, academicians, practitioners, business managers, entrepreneurs as well as knowledge seekers with interest in the internet and online marketing.

1.3 Content

Although the book is not specifically designed to be used as a text book, it contains considerable amount of usable information. The book has been written in a narrative and story-telling form and its simple language makes it more readable and easy to understand. The use of “you” to explain the facts and figures not only makes the language more informal, but also helps the reader to quickly understand the given explanations and relate them with his or her own realities. The reader is easily able to understand that only creating a website is not enough, it is rather the first step towards the intended goal of achieving larger sales and profit. After creation of a well-planned website, it becomes mandatory on the part of the owner to design and develop online marketing strategies, build trustworthy online followers, build a durable brand over a period of time through continuous online marketing while using mass mails, traffic generation, back linking, effective use of various social media channels like Google, Facebook, Youtube, Itunes etc.

1.4 Organization
The content of the book is divided into six sections/areas, namely:
1. Online marketing today
2. Building a brand online
3. Building buzz online
4. Generating highly targeted, high-value traffic
5. Turning traffic into sales
6. Unlock hidden back-end profits.

Each section is further divided into respective chapters that systematically explain the situation, define problem areas, and suggest solutions through examples followed by case studies of success and failures that the author has encountered while trying to build his online enterprise.

This strategy of dealing with practical issues by citing real examples renders the book useful.

2. Strong Points

The book is written in an easy language. It is systematic and covers all topics defined in the proposed course namely:

a) Online marketing
b) Bulk e-mailing and spam filters
c) Social media marketing
d) Search engine optimization (SEO)

In addition, the book also covers the strategies to turn traffic into sales and maximize profits. Further, the author also explains how to monetize through affiliate promotion while building online brand. In addition, it is of great interest to know that the online identity can generate offline income. The author has explained these aspects in detail thus, providing valuable additional information and knowledge to the reader.

A person with very limited knowledge related to information technology can easily understand the basic fundamentals of online marketing as the description has been presented in a graded manner. The author initially defines simple issues followed by more complex issues which helps the reader fully understand the importance of creating a solid platform, durable branding followed by online marketing to finally increase sales and profits.

All major areas related to internet based activities have been explained through examples of real issues, encountered by the author, on his way to creating a successful online venture. For example, while trying to explain the importance of online marketing, the author explains how cold calling is dead, and it annoys people and is frequently illegal.

3. Weak points
The informal writing style and the manner of presentation clearly demonstrate that the book is not specifically designed as a teaching manual. Although the book has been divided into six broad sections followed by specific chapters within respective sections, they neither clearly define the specific learning objectives, nor the general learning objectives.

The book does not give an opportunity to solve problems, as it does not have any exercises where the student can learn through problem-based learning activities. The book provides only surface learning experience to students and as a result, it fails to motivate students who are yet to enter the professional world. It demands a teacher’s intervention to provide additional inputs and make use of teaching strategies in order to motivate students for achieving intended learning outcomes through cognitive activities.

Also, it is important to mention that the book does not provide any supplemental materials in the form of task based activities. This absence may become a hindrance in developing self-directed learning skills of students.

The book does not cover the mass mailer called “sendblaster”, an integral part of the proposed course.

Moreover, many times, the author ends up self-praising his success without giving any concrete proof and data.

4. Overall assessment

4.1 Quality

Although the book is quite informative, its simplicity of language and detailed description of internet marketing and social media in a systematic and progressive manner has given considerable commercial success to the book and world fame to the author, it cannot be used as a standalone course manual.

The author’s main focus is to give factual as well as conceptual knowledge. The book fails to provide procedural as well as meta-cognitive knowledge. Therefore, the absence of these may act as a hindrance in developing the self-directed learning skills of students. It becomes mandatory for the teacher to provide supplemental materials for cognitive activities and deep learning process. The absence of problem-based learning exercises, further poses a challenge to the teacher as well as the students in developing self-directed learning skills.

4.2 Usefulness

In the absence of course materials specifically designed for translators on the given course module, “Information Technology Integration: Online Marketing and Social Media”, the identified book, “The Never Cold Call Again Online Playbook”, serves as a ready reference for teachers as well as students. The book is concise and informative that broadly covers all aspects of the course content. However, at the same time, it certainly also demands a careful approach to achieve a general objective, a specific objective and an intended outcome learning defined in the course module.

5. Conclusion

This book can further help in developing a customized course manual for professional development of translators by specifying cases related to translation profession. The development of problem-based learning course manual is very important to develop self-directed learning skills, especially when translators are ready to enter into the professional world.

posted by: Ravi Kumar
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This research deals with a critical study of the reseach Outline for a Sociology of translation: Current issues and future prospects” by Heilbron, Johan and Sapiro, Gisele.2007, published in Constructing a Sociology of Translation. Michela Wolf and Alexandra Fulkari (eds). Amsterdam: John Benjaminis Publishing Company. pp 93-107


The cultural turn shifts focus to “the text embedded within its network of both source and target cultural signs” (Bassnett and Leferevere),  and broadens the perspective and opens the doors to research on translation process revealing the power relations underlying any translation activity and therefore pointing to the fact that translation can never be neutral.

The methodologies developed through cultural turn do not provide sufficient scope to broaden research on role of translators and various agencies involved in translation process as an agent.

Translation emerged to be viewed as “socially regulated activity” (Hermans 1997). Therefore, experts turned to sociology to describe the social implications of translation in its various forms and profile.

Influenced by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu approach to power within the context of comprehensive theory of society, Heilbron and Sapiro reject the idea of interpretive approach to the text and the purely economic analysis of transnational exchanges.  (QUOTE)

  1. Interpretive approach consists of two opposite tendencies
  2. Objectivist: arises from classic hermeneutics
    1. focus on literary and philosophical studies of translation
    2. more to do with understanding of text and involves comparison of translation with the source text, source language or source culture and examine the creative deviation from the original
  3. Subjectivist or relativist: has its affinity with framework of culture studies  
    1. Focus on various modes of appropriating texts, on the instability of their meaning and the mutual permeability of cultures
    2. Considers translation in the context where they are produced and actually function, in other words in the target culture   

2. Economic Approach

The economic approach, more powerful socially but much less widespread within studies on translation, performs a reduction that is somewhat the contrary.

  1. assimilates translated books into the most general category of goods, identifying them as merchandise produced, distributed and consumed according to the logic of national and international markets.
  2. To considering  translated books as commodities like any other commodities occults the specificity of cultural goods as well as the modalities specific to their production and marketing.

The market of symbolic goods is a specific type of economy that functions according to its own criteria of valuation (Bourdieu 1977, 1993). Thus both favor a proper sociological analysis that embraces the whole set of social relations within which translations are produced and circulated.

  1. Development of sociological analysis

The methodologies developed through cultural turn or economic approach to translation do not provide sufficient scope to broaden research on role of translators and various agencies,  involved in translation process as an agent.

Translation emerged to be viewed as “socially regulated activity” (Hermans 1997) that involves following:

  1. Questions about the stakes and functions of translations
  2. Their agencies and agents
  3. The space in which they are situated
  4. Constraints: both political and economic that circumscribe them

Therefore, experts turned to sociology to describe the social implications of translation in its various forms and profiles.

Focus : Translational circulation of cultural goods

Through sociological approach to translation, both the writers tend to analyze conditions of transnational circulation of goods as per the following

  1. Structure of the field of international cultural exchange
  2. Types of constraints – political and economic – that influence these exchanges
  3. Agents of intermediation and process of importing and receiving these by the recipient country

International Field

Based on the program proposed by Pierre Bourdieu (2002) on social conditions of international circulation of cultural goods, both the writers place transnational transfer of translation within space of nation states and language groups, and propose to analyze translation as embedded within the power relations of national sates and their languages.

Power relations are of three types

  1. Political
  2. Economic
  3. Cultural: a) power relations between linguistic communities as assessed by number of primary and secondary speakers b) symbolic capital accumulated by different countries within the relevant field of cultural production.


In these power relations, the means of political, economic and cultural struggles are unequally distributed. Cultural exchanges are therefore unequal exchanges that express relations of domination.   These relations are structured and highly hierarchical, so is the global system of translations.

Worldwide % distribution of translation   

Hyper- Central

Central Semi – peripheral Peripheral

Source language English: 50%

Source language

German: 10%

French: 12%

Source language

8 languages including

Spanish 3%

Italian 1%

Rest other languages

Less than 1%

(Sources not mentioned, acknowledges the comments made by Pym on deficiencies it contains)


Chinese, Arabic and Japanese languages are one of the widely spoken languages but do not represent central position, hence number of speakers do not play role in determining hierarchy of central language and peripheral language

  1. Flow of translations are highly uneven and flowing more from center towards periphery
  2. Communication among peripheral languages very often passes through an intermediary of a center language (mainly English, German or French)
  3. Proportionally, central languages have more genres of books translated from them to other languages
  4. Unequal share of translations in different countries also attests to these power relations that are proportional to degree of centrality and their relative significance.

Worldwide % of translated book in comparison to national production of books

England and USA : Less than 4%

Germany and France: 14% to 18%

Italy and Spain: 24%

Netherlands and Sweden: 25%

Portugal: 35%

Greece: 45%

(1990: source not mentioned)


  1. The dominant countries export their cultural products widely and translate little into their languages, dominated countries export little and import a lot of translated foreign books
  2. The more the cultural production of a country is central, the more it serves as a reference in other countries, but less material is translated into this language
  3. Therefore, Translation Studies in small countries like Netherlands, Belgium and Israel  has gained more importance and status than those countries which represent system’s center
  4. Since translation studies emerged in small countries with high translation ratios, it is possible that the cultural significance of translation has been somewhat overestimated.
  5. A country’s loss of power or prestige can result in diminuend effect. Eg. Translations from Russian decreased and underwent abrupt change after its disintegration, followed by sharp rise in number of foreign translations published in Russia.

Principles of differentiation in the dynamics of exchange

International cultural exchanges are differentiated according to three main factors:

  1. Political relations between countries and political orientation of the government - also involves type of government, liberal, communist, fascist etc.
    1. Economic relations (especially the international book market) and economic factors –
      1. also involves liberalization of the book market, as in the United States, cultural goods appear primarily as commercial products that must obey the law of profitability.
      2. calls for study of purely economic logic through more refined technique than standard models of cultural economics, as non- market forces, notably state institutions are also involved in construction of supply and demand of cultural goods.
      3. In relation to political and economic factors the degree of protection of market and degree to which culture fulfills an ideological purpose, one finds a series of possible configurations, specially with liberalization and GATT agreement of 1986 and its Uruguay Round of negotiations, TRIPS adopted in 1994 within the framework of WTO etc.
  2. Cultural exchanges between countries: within which literary exchanges may enjoy relative autonomy.
  3. From the standpoint of literary exchanges, transnational relations are above all relations of domination based on the unequal distribution of linguistic and literary capital (Casanova 1999).
  4. The dominated languages are those endowed with little literary capital and low international recognition. The dominant languages, due to their specific prestige, their antiquity, and the number of texts that are written in these languages and that are universally regarded as important, possess much literary capital.
  5. translation of a canonic work of classic literature may serve to accumulate symbolic capital, whereas the translation of a text of a dominated literature into a dominant language like English or French constitutes a veritable consecration for the author (Casanova 2002).
  6. Large scale circulation: profit vs. small scale circulation for ideology, prestige and diversity, and state intervention to curb effect of economic constraints in a free trade economy.

Agents of Intermediation and dynamics of reception

International cultural exchanges are organized by the means of institutions and individuals agents, each arising from different political, economic and cultural dynamics in a given space and time, as per the following stages:

Stage I: with formation of nation- states, the following agents played role

-          Embassies, cultural institutes, translation institutes, journals promoted by specific government agencies to promote national literature etc.

Stage II: Industrialization of book market

-          Emergence of specialized agents in trade of translated books: independent publishing houses with foreign rights departments, literary agents, international book fairs etc.

-          Development of market of cultural goods and liberalization of cultural exchange in their latter period marginalized the role of government agencies.

-          Government agencies including foreign policy representatives of the government responsible for promotion of national literature work in close cooperation with specialized agents to participate in the commercial exchanges, and they also work like literary agents, and a set of specific agents like authors, translators, critic, academics and scholars who benefit from such engagements.

-          Appearance of a group of importers and exports have added new range of activities, who apart from playing role of intermediation, also help literary production into central languages

Stage III – Professional development

With professionalization of specialized agents and emergence of professional association, the global system of translation saw new breed of social agents in the system with some peculiar characteristics.

-          World of literary translators is bifurcated into academics and professional translators characterized by strong individualism and division in terms of gender, ideology, political and social affiliations

-          They are also characterized by elitist individualism and logic of completion in order to gain symbolic capital and hence supremacy in their area of activities  

Structure of space of reception.

  1. This space is also more or less governed by either market or political factors, and depends on the functioning of its institutions: controls over print publication, specialized book series, the editorial policy of each publishing company, the space of journals and periodicals, the modes of consecration (literary prizes and awards), etc.
  2. Also depends in part by the representations of the culture of origin and by the status (majority or minority) of the language itself.
  3. Recipients reinterpret translated texts as a function of the stakes prevailing in the field of reception.
  4. In a more general way, translation has multiple functions:
    1. an instrument of mediation and exchange, it may also fulfil political or economic functions, and constitute a mode of legitimation, in which authors as much as mediators may be the beneficiaries.
    2. The value of translation does not depend only on the position of languages, but also on the positions of both translated authors and their translators, and each of them in both the national literary field and the global literary space (Casanova 2002).
    3. The translation into central languages constitutes a consecration that modifies the position of an author in his field of origin. Inversely, it is a mode of accumulation of literary capital for groups
    4. Translation is also means of accumulating symbolic power for publishers lacking economic and cultural capital
    5. Literary translation may play a role in the creation of collective identities including national, regional or social, religious or genre identities.


Thus we notice translation as a socially regulated activity that has following three dimensions

  1. Nation states and various agents get engaged in the cross- national transfer that involves existence of field of international relations of exchange forming global system of translation
  2. These exchanges involve power relations, and nation states and various agents involved compete with each other to gain supremacy through political, social or cultural dynamics
  3. The dynamics of translation depend on the structure of space of reception and the way relevant intermediaries shape social demand.


  1. How we apply social theory of Bourdieu in the field of Professional translation that deals with technical and scientific text ?
  2. Where do we place influence of IT, social media and crowd outsourcing (the role of non-human actants) in translation in wake of resources becoming global,?
  3. With reference to practice and role of various agents involved in circulation of cultural goods, where do we see improvised performance, or doxic experience (not fully conscious)  as proposed by Bourdieu? On the contrary, in international arena, especially GATT and TRIPS, or international relations, all actions are conscious and fully negotiated and deliberated?
  4. How do we explain habitus of the agents in global system of translations ?
  5. How far the research applies to Indian context, where there is multitude of layers of culture, languages, religions, beliefs and a quasi-federal structure of political system. 
posted by: Ravi Kumar
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Ravi modlinguaOriginalmente esta investigación fue presentada por Ravi Kumar durante el “Simposio Internacional sobre Traducción y Terminología Técnica para el Diálogo Intercultural: 12 - 13 de noviembre de 2009, la Universidad de Hacettepe, Beytepe / Ankara" (International Symposium on Technical Translation and Terminology for Cross Cultural Dialogue: 12 – 13 November 2009, Hacettepe University, Beytepe/Ankara")

Esta ponencia trata sobre los traductores considerados como empresarios, puesto que aquellos son cada vez más conscientes de las posibilidades de su profesión y han empezado a coordinarse para compartir conocimientos, experiencia y recursos – un paso altamente deseado y sin duda necesario para un futuro mejor del gremio. Asimismo, esta ponencia propone networking o la creación de redes como una posible solución para que los empresarios optimicen los procedimientos y aceleren su crecimiento usando recursos e infraestructura disponibles sin una inversión extrema.
Antes de comenzar nuestra discusión sobre el traductor como empresario consideramos importante definir ¨iniciativa empresarial¨. ¨Iniciativa empresarial¨ tiene un significado diferente para cada persona. Para J.A. Timmons (The Entrepreneurial Mind, 1989) se trata de la habilidad de crear y construir algo prácticamente de la nada. Para Wennekers and Thurik (Linking Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth, 1999) es la creación de nuevas oportunidades económicas. Para Wickham (Strategic Entrepreneurship: A decision making approach to new venture creation and management, 1998) significa crear y gestionar unos objetivos y demostrar liderazgo. Para Peter Druker (Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 2006) es una práctica que tiene como base el conocimiento.
Conceptualmente y en la práctica el término no apunta a un modelo estereotipado. Sin embargo, tiene su origen en la palabra francesa entreprender que significa literalmente ´llevar a cabo´, lo que indica la característica básica de un empresario.
Desde la perspectiva de las funciones económicas hay tres características fundamentales de la actividad empresarial: asumir riesgos, innovar y aventurarse en nuevas actividades empresariales a fin de conseguir un beneficio (David Kirby, Entrepreneurship, 2003 McCraw Hill).
La National Knowledge Commission (NKC), principal órgano asesor del Primer Ministro de la India, dedicado a la creación de capital de conocimiento, ha reconocido la iniciativa empresarial como uno de los factores clave en la creación de riqueza y empleo. Según la NKC, ¨la iniciativa empresarial es la aplicación profesional de conocimientos, habilidades y competencias y/o la obtención de beneficios de una idea nueva por un individuo o grupo de personas con el lanzamiento de una empresa nueva o la diversificación de una ya existente (distinta de la búsqueda de empleo por cuenta propia como en una profesión u oficio) para así promover el crecimiento generando riqueza, empleo y bienestar social".
La iniciativa empresarial en la India
La iniciativa empresarial ha sido ¨un componente del genio indio y es parte de su tradición¨, Gopalakrishnan (2007). En palabras del reconocido economista T. N. Srinivasan, ¨la India ha sido una sociedad empresarial… teníamos la habilidad empresarial pero la reprimimos durante mucho tiempo… y ahora está aflorando¨. El espíritu empresarial es una característica constante de la historia de la India, particularmente visible en una serie de comunidades dedicadas principalmente a la actividad comercial, Tripathy (1984). Tradicionalmente la actividad empresarial de tales comunidades ha sido posible sobre todo por el eficiente uso informal de ´ecosistemas empresariales´ y redes interdependientes de comercio. Además, hay también una rica tradición en el seno de la diáspora india, que comprende los últimos cien años, cuyo espíritu empresarial no tiene parangón.
La iniciativa empresarial en la India se define ´de un modo más integral y tiene mucho más alcance que en los países desarrollados´, y podría, por lo tanto, ser mucho más compleja, ´puesto que hay mucho más que hacer, Khanna (2007). Comentaristas contemporáneos celebran la ubicua actitud india de ´jugaad´, Verma (2007). Jugaad es una palabra hindi que podría traducirse como ´improvisación creativa… un instrumento para, de alguna manera, encontrar una solución basada en la negativa a aceptar la derrota y una exhortación a la iniciativa, a la agilidad mental, la astucia y la determinación para cubrir rápidamente las demandas del mercado al menor coste posible como un rasgo empresarial que ha sido parte de la vida cotidiana india tanto como su rica tradición filosófica y especulativa.
La relevancia de la iniciativa empresarial en la India se ha intensificado en los últimos tiempos, particularmente con el aumento de los servicios intensivos en conocimiento. Hay un gran número de nuevos empresarios que no pertenecen a las comunidades tradicionales de negocios; la actividad empresarial ha crecido rápidamente, creando riqueza y generando empleo especialmente en los últimos veinte años. Importantísimos esfuerzos iniciados con posteridad a la liberalización económica – incluidos intentos sistemáticos por reducir la licence raj, mayores esfuerzos por hacer los recursos financieros más accesibles a los empresarios y otros apoyos institucionales a technopreneurs – han ayudado a mejorar el clima para la iniciativa empresarial.
El traductor como empresario
Después de varios años de lucha por parte de los traductores, la traducción se ha convertido en muchos países en una actividad profesional reconocida. Sin embargo, es importante señalar que la India, a pesar de haber identificado y documentado la existencia de 1635 lenguas maternas, a su vez clasificadas en 234 lenguas maternas y agrupadas en 122 idiomas, no ha logrado alcanzar la condición de profesional para sus traductores. La traducción es una actividad que no sólo facilita la comunicación, sino que además posibilita el conjunto de la actividad empresarial tanto local como globalmente y genera empleo. Un traductor particular no sólo genera empleo para sí mismo sino que también hace posible otro tipo de actividades que crean puestos de trabajo que van desde el DTP, publicidad, educación, etc., al desarrollo de productos y software de alta gama. Un traductor, individual o colectivamente, aplica sin descanso sus conocimientos, habilidades y competencias en el desarrollo de nuevas ideas y en la mayoría de los casos, es como una empresa pero compuesta por una sola persona que sin embargo genera empleo y riqueza y contribuye al desarrollo económico del país.
Además cabe destacar que la mayoría de los traductores en la India se ven obligados a reorientar su profesión según la demanda lingüística de la industria quedando restringidas sus funciones a las de profesor de idiomas, empleado de BPO o telemarketing, etc. Los que permanecen fieles a su
orientación profesional como traductores se hacen autónomos y, a menudo se convierten lentamente en agencias de traducción. A diferencia de las grandes empresas, las empresas de traducción se gestionan generalmente desde casa o desde oficinas pequeñas escasamente amuebladas y disponen de recursos limitados. En muchas ocasiones sus dueños no saben de dónde va a venir el cheque siguiente para mantener el negocio en marcha. La mayoría de las veces, estos traductores o agencias trabajan aislados y llevan una existencia solitaria puesto que son muy pocos los que pueden identificarse con sus problemas.
Entorno socio-cultural de los traductores en la India
En la India los bilingües han sido siempre respetados y considerados personas con cualificaciones superiores, y han desempeñado un papel fundamental en el cambio social y cultural del país. Poco a poco, el bilingüismo se ha ido extendido por cuestiones prácticas ya que las lenguas se complementan. Por ejemplo, una persona puede utilizar un idioma en particular en su casa, otro en el barrio y el mercado, y otro en determinados ámbitos formales, como la educación, la administración, etc. Además, las lenguas de comunicación nacional e internacional, el hindi e inglés, también forman parte del repertorio lingüístico de un número considerable de indios. En el subcontinente asiático, la diversidad lingüística no es casualidad, sino que se hereda en el proceso de adquisición de la rica cultura de la India.
Situación económica de un traductor en la India
Por un lado, el bilingüismo / multilingüismo han desempeñado un papel fundamental en la configuración de la compleja sociedad india, e incluso la UNESCO ha valorado el mantenimiento de su diversidad lingüística. Por otra parte, los traductores indios se enfrentan a desafíos que son productos del ese mismo bilingüismo / multilingüismo inherente a su sociedad. Por ejemplo, es muy común ver a un traductor bilingüe en un vecino, amigo, pariente o compañero de oficina que esté disponible a ayudar con sus servicios a un precio muy bajo o, muchas veces, incluso de forma gratuita. Entiendo estas acciones como parte del espíritu empresarial inherente en casi todos los indios que tratan de hacer el mejor uso de los recursos que tienen a mano. En este caso, los recursos son los bilingües o multilingües disponibles. Estos desafíos se complican cuando un director de proyecto, de manera consciente o inconsciente, iguala el coste de los servicios de un traductor profesional con los de su compañero de trabajo bilingüe cuyos servicios ha estado utilizando de forma gratuita. El desafío se agrava aún más cuando el traductor tiene que explicar al director de proyecto o el empresario indio (que todavía insiste en usar programas gratuitos en línea como Babelfish, Google o Systran) la diferencia entre una máquina de traducción y una traducción profesional, al intentar hacer una oferta para un proyecto internacional. Esto confirma aún más la determinación del hombre de negocios indio por probar su habilidad empresarial, pero es sin embargo una iniciativa abocada al fracaso.
Cómo se hace un traductor en la India
Como explicamos anteriormente, a pesar de la rica diversidad lingüística de la India, sólo hay unas pocas universidades que ofrezcan cursos de traducción en su plan de estudios, y estos se llevan a cabo con muchas dificultades por la falta de infraestructura y de profesores capacitados, por la ausencia de planes de estudios bien formulados y, por encima de todo, la falta de conciencia pública y la apatía del gobierno.
En este contexto, resulta muy difícil para un traductor desarrollar su carrera profesional. Aquellos que sin embargo son capaces de hacerlo, pueden fácilmente encajar en la categoría de empresarios puesto que desarrollan la capacidad de crear y construir algo prácticamente de la nada, y se ven envueltos en el arduo proceso diario de creación de riqueza con la esperanza de que algún día sean traductores reconocidos.
Desafíos externos a los que se enfrenta el empresario traductor
Una vez que un traductor profesional comienza a interactuar con la industria, los desafíos externos
se multiplican. El traductor se enfrenta a muchas otras cuestiones, como problemas de pago con los clientes, seguidos de la falta de continuidad en el trabajo, la apatía del gobierno hacia el reconocimiento profesional, la falta de normas establecidas, la falta de certificación, la falta de fondos para la formación continua, etc.
Desafíos globales a los que se enfrenta el empresario traductor
Muchos de los portales de internet líderes se han establecido con fuerza en la India. Es cierto que han dado a muchos de los traductores buenas oportunidades para ponerse en contacto con organismos nacionales e internacionales y que esto se ha traducido en un aumento de los ingresos. Sin embargo, es importante señalar que la mayoría de estos portales son gestionados desde fuera de la India y siguen sus propias reglas. Muchas veces, los traductores indios son estafados y luego, para colmo de males, acusados de ofrecer trabajos de mala calidad. Este tipo de situación se presenta debido a un desajuste de expectativas, la falta de directrices documentadas y la falta del necesario apoyo de las agencias o clientes hacia los traductores. La subcontratación es un fenómeno positivo, pero los depositarios, así como los proveedores de servicios necesitan desarrollar relaciones de confianza y cultivar el sentido común del que tan a menudo carecen estos portales.
La competitividad de las agencias internacionales
Es cierto que la mayoría de los traductores indios siguen el enfoque clásico de la traducción: traducciones muchas veces hechas a mano, luego escritas a máquina, y después verificadas una vez más antes de entregar. Este enfoque clásico tiene su relevancia, pero también sus limitaciones como, por ejemplo, los retrasos en la entrega y la falta de control de calidad, lo cual resta competitividad al trabajo del traductor.
Por otra parte, las agencias internacionales que tienen equipos de traductores en sus propias filas son más complejas. Hacen uso de traductores formados que están bien versados en aplicaciones informáticas y herramientas CAT (herramientas de traducción asistida con ordenador). A menos que los traductores de la India también se adapten a este enfoque moderno de traducción, seguirán sufriendo el esnobismo de unos pocos privilegiados. Además, hay unas pocas empresas multinacionales que ya han hecho sentir su presencia de manera general en el mercado indio, y para las que con su fortaleza organizativa y poder económico, sería fácil desarrollar procedimientos económicamente competitivos lo que sería un gran reto para los empresarios traductores indios que siguen luchando por su identidad. Ya que si no son capaces de reaccionar con premura a estas nuevas tendencias, sucumbirán a la competencia de estas agencias de traducción.
Desafíos internos a los que se enfrenta el empresario traductor
Un individuo, después de haberse enfrentado a los obstáculos que forman parte de su desarrollo como traductor, ha de pasar por una siguiente etapa de problemas y retos que muchas veces se originan en el propio traductor:
1) Los profesionales de la lengua han tratado las actividades relacionadas con la traducción como asuntos muy personales y privados. En muchas ocasiones incluso los mejores amigos no comparten entre sí la información acerca de sus proyectos de traducción.
2) Los traductores sufren una crisis de identidad – Pongamos el caso de un profesional indio de la lengua que se presenta a sí mismo como traductor en una reunión de amigos o conocidos que no tienen ningún tipo de relación con la industria de la traducción. La respuesta que el profesional recibiría sería simplemente: "Bien, esto es lo que haces. Pero, ¿cuál es tu profesión?" Esto confirma el hecho de que el sector de la traducción tiene generalmente muy poco reconocimiento profesional en la percepción popular. Esto, que afecta a la credibilidad y estatus de un traductor profesional a los ojos de sus coetáneos, es a lo que los traductores nos referimos como una crisis de identidad.
3) Choque de egos – una crisis de identidad hace que una persona sea más sensible a cuestiones que le han hecho sufrir anteriormente; cualquier nueva iniciativa es vista con recelo –; las relaciones se nutren de desconfianza y se hacen preguntas, muchas veces absurdas y ofensivas. En última instancia esto deriva en el fracaso de cualquier iniciativa colectiva para el desarrollo profesional.
4) Incluso en las situaciones más favorables, los traductores reconocidos temen por su negocio en el cual han invertido mucho tiempo y esfuerzo personal. Bajo ninguna circunstancia desearían acercarse a una plataforma común y discutir cuestiones relacionadas con sus clientes. Pero estos pensamientos no se expresan con palabras - parte de la crisis de identidad -, sino que se manifiestan en el acto de señalar debilidades personales o profesionales del individuo que sí ha tomado la iniciativa.
Traductores con éxito y diversificación
A pesar de todas las posibilidades antes mencionadas, hay un buen número de traductores en la India que se enfrentan a estos desafíos y superan todos los obstáculos para finalmente ganarse la vida en esta profesión y contribuir al crecimiento económico y cultural del país. Además, hay unos pocos
que crecen lo suficiente como para poner en marcha pequeñas y medianas empresas de traducción que añaden valor a la traducción como profesión.
Importancia de los esfuerzos conjuntos

Con la colaboración de unos pocos traductores profesionales con metas comunes, la Indian Translators Association fue fundada en diciembre de 2006. Su objetivo es unir a la amplia comunidad de traductores e intérpretes del país en una plataforma común para abordar cuestiones que ayuden a
mejorar la industria y adoptar medidas que garanticen que sus miembros puedan ofrecer servicios que cumplan los estándares profesionales de la industria. Su integración con el International Federation of Translators (FIT) en julio de 2008 y su colaboración posterior con Termnet Austria demuestra su compromiso hacia el logro de sus objetivos, entre ellos, el de desarrollar una plataforma dinámica para la comunidad de traductores de la India.
Networking o creación de redes como una posible solución
Para contrarrestar los problemas tanto externos como internos un traductor ha de tener en cuenta el fenómeno de la globalización, que ha impregnado de gran dinamismo las fuerzas del mercado. El mundo está evolucionando hacia formas innovadoras de satisfacer las necesidades del cliente que se basan en las fórmulas N = 1 (una experiencia de consumo cada vez) y R = G (recurso de múltiples proveedores y a menudo de todo el mundo), Prahlad y Krishnan (2008). Para promover la competitividad la empresa necesita crear un sistema que involucre a los clientes en la creación de productos / servicios que proporcionen una experiencia única y personalizada. Ninguna empresa es lo suficientemente grande en su alcance y tamaño para satisfacer todas las experiencias de un consumidor de una vez. Por lo tanto, todas las empresas han de tener acceso a los recursos de una gran variedad de empresas grandes y pequeñas - un ecosistema global. Lo que cuenta es el acceso a los recursos, no la propiedad de los recursos. Sin profundizar mucho en la logística de este pensamiento innovador, es muy importante entender que incluso las compañías más grandes no poseen todos los recursos necesarios para atender las necesidades de su cliente, ni llevan a cabo la producción completa en la misma empresa puesto que la nueva dinámica del mercado exige interdependencia entre las fuentes internas y externas.

Las anteriores reflexiones son muy alentadoras para un empresario y especialmente para el traductor que depende en gran medida de fuentes externas y que no tiene fondos suficientes para generar sus propios recursos. Como explicamos anteriormente, las grandes empresas no disponen de todos los recursos. La idea es tener un acceso rápido a los mismos. Un empresario traductor necesita estar en contacto con otros traductores de su propio país así como de fuera para tener acceso a la información y los conocimientos necesarios y desarrollar equipos para la ejecución de un proyecto por medio de los recursos disponibles y así poder poner sus servicios de manera satisfactoria a disposición de los clientes. Para promover contactos y crear redes sociales o profesionales ya hay distintos sistemas en línea que permiten el libre acceso a su plataforma y que, beneficiándose de la presencia de un gran número de miembros, ayudan a los mismos a compartir conocimientos y promueven el crecimiento general del sistema social y cultural. Entre otras muchas redes, creo que Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Hotmail, y Groupsite Twitter son ejemplos del fenómeno N = 1 y R = G.

Para los traductores hay también redes muy populares que hacen maravillas. Un traductor debe saber adaptarse a las dinámicas de cambio y ser competitivo y para ello, el uso de estas redes (por ejemplo, Termium Canadá, Terment Austria o incluso Termtruk y otras iniciativas) es muy recomendable. En el contexto indio, aunque no ha habido una muy visible red de traductores apoyada por las grandes empresas, existen no obstante muchas iniciativas individuales (por ejemplo, ) y se espera que en un futuro, cuando se conozca mejor el mercado, los traductores comiencen a trabajar en la creación de redes de una forma organizada. Este tipo de iniciativas privadas son la semilla de una futura iniciativa colectiva que abarque un número considerable de traductores.

Todo lo que queda por decir en conclusión es que, mientras que los traductores indios van evolucionando lentamente como empresarios a pesar de los muchos obstáculos, todavía tienen que explotar al máximo su potencial mediante la creación de una plataforma común. Por un lado, este y otros tipo de obstáculos así como las demoras se pueden atribuir en gran medida a vestigios coloniales en la mentalidad de tanto los colonizadores como los colonizados que continúan ejerciendo influencia más allá de su fecha de caducidad. Tal vez haya llegado el momento para el cambio y, dado el impacto de ciertos eventos globales, la salvación de todos recae en el intercambio de conocimientos, experiencia y recursos. El futuro de la traducción como profesión se encuentra en la creación de redes de empresarios para economizar los procesos y mantener el crecimiento mediante el uso de todos los recursos e infraestructura disponibles. Todo lo que esto requiere es una inversión de buena voluntad en todo el mundo.
R. Gopalakrishnan, Prosperity Beyond Our Cities by Spreading Enterprise, AD Shroff Memorial Lecture, 17 - 18 de octubre, 2007
Dwijendra Tripathy (ed.), Business Communities of India: A Historical Perspective. 1984
Tarun Khanna, Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are reshaping their future and yours, 2007
Pawan K Verma, Being Indian, 2006
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The research papers, “From Terminological Data Banks to Knowledge Databases: The Text as the Starting Point” by M. Teresa Cabré, 2003 and “Terminology in the Age of Multilingual Corpora” by Alan K. Melby, 2012 respectively confirm the opinion of Pierre Auger who presented his futuristic view on terminology in 1989 and predicated that knowledge banks will play major role in the coming years.

Cabré as well as Melby provide information on advancement of computer science that has influenced all walks of life including language processing and terminology. The advancement of linguistic technologies and artificial intelligence has brought dynamic changes in the translation process and terminology management.

Cabré first talks about the evolution of electronic linguistic resources, terminological and lexical data banks from which the nomenclature of thematic glossaries and dictionaries could be extracted. These were used as reference resources in order to find answers to the linguistic queries related to translation and standardization contexts. They followed database record format, in which each lexical or terminological unit is organized in terms of grammatical information, domain and definition. For multilingual banks similar fields are applied to their equivalents in their respective languages.  

In the second stage, the text banks become useful tools for translators, as they not only include lexical units and the fields described above, but also the multiple non-fragmented authentic contexts of a given lexical unit. This gives the translators a choice to refer to the usage of the given meaning as well. Further, text banks become test beds adapted for description of the units in discourse. This was followed by evolution of large monolingual corpora, often called as reference corpora. The texts included in this kind of corpus are selected based on the criteria of representativeness and balance. The corpora like COBUILD corpus (Bank of English), Corpus de Referenda del Español Actual (CREA), LE-PAROLE Project of European Union (EU) etc. have played an important role in compilation of large linguistic resources, at times containing multimillion words, which is yet another step forward in the advancement of linguistic resources in electronic form.

Cabré further explains about the third stage that involves moving from large general language corpora to the compilation of smaller corpora with more focused content. Cabré identifies the following three developments in this direction where Information Technology plays a key role in data storage, data update and data access in a targeted user-friendly and efficient way.

 Development of text banks on specialized subjects. They help: 

  • a)      to create standardized terminology
  • b)      to designate new concepts (neologisms) that have come into use on account of exponential growth of science and technology, not only at national level but also in international communication. Hence, they facilitate translation, multiculturalism, specialized training, etc.
  • c)      to develop tools that help in automatic identification and extraction of candidate terms and text summaries or terminological databanks and ontologies.

2.      Development of text banks on pragmatic and communicative criteria

  • a)     Text bank is classified by genre that provides explicit access to various genres. It includes text-type information about each text. This facilitates the descriptive linguistic analysis of specialized texts and makes it possible to compare them based on the selection and frequency of different grammatical devices being used. For example, the genre based text bank compiled at the Faculty of Translation and Interpretation at Universitat Jaume I, Castello.

3.      Tagged Banks

  • a)     Text banks have been enriched by adding additional information to various linguistic units through tags. The encoded information may contain tags that can be morphological, syntactic, semantic or pragmatic in nature. This gives the users various options to search through the text bank and get text/terms/lexical units or related forms belonging to a given lemma.
  • b)   Apart from many other available tagging options, parts of speech tagging (parser) is one of the critical tagging options that help to automatically process data on the basic of linguistic criteria and not only on the basis of superficial recognition of the character strings (TACT, Wordsmith). In order to avoid superficial recognition of this type, at least it is necessary to have parts of speech tagged.
  • c)      In addition to parsed text bank, morphological tagging is done by breaking each lexical unit down into its constituent morphemes. This helps in getting the groups consisting of units with the same morphological configuration.

Cabré further links these developments to the development of integrated digital resources which are termed as knowledge databases that are more comprehensive, expensive and labor-intensive. Cabré further explains that knowledge databases are superior to terminological data banks owing to several reasons. They work as the knowledge repositories of a specialized field and not only contain contexts in which a unit appears, but they also provide semantic knowledge. In general, the knowledge databases helps:

  • 1.      to retrieve all the contexts in which a unit appears,
  • 2.      to retrieve semantic knowledge of each unit,
  • 3.      to retrieve the distinctive contexts of each unit through ontologies,
  • 4.      to retrieve concepts designated by each term,
  • 5.      to retrieve other concepts in the same field connected by means of different relations (hypernymy - word that is more generic than a given word;  hyponymy - relations between meaning; meronymy-part to whole relation; causality, etc) and
  • 6.      to retrieve a set of relationship between the contents of a term, its concept and a set of relationship with other concepts in the specialized field.

On the utility of knowledge databases, Cabré explains that they can be useful to members of various professions involved in the communication of specialized knowledge:

  • a)      Translators and interpreters can find answers to linguistic and conceptual queries.
  • b)      Terminologists and lexicographers can use them to facilitate the elaboration of general and specialized dictionaries.
  • c)      Documentation professionals can use them to elaborate thesauri and classifications to index documents and to facilitate information retrieval.
  • d)      Technical writers can use them for increasing their knowledge in specialized domains.

Cabré further explains and demonstrates that it is possible to develop an Integrated Knowledge Database. She explains in detail, about “The Genome Project” (2004) that has integrated the following four types of resources into a single platform:

a)      a text bank of a specialized field

b)      a documentary bank on bibliographic information and other relevant information on texts

c)       a terminological bank of the term records/units belonging to the field

d)      an ontology that represents the concept structure of the field


The main characteristics of the above-mentioned four modules are summed up in the table below:




Documentary Bank

GENDOFAC database contains all bibliographical references of sources of context related to terms recorded.

Contains subfields of the Human Genome Project.

Contains monographs, magazines, journal, articles, references etc.


Subfields are: internal structure, genetic engineering, diseases, genetic research, immunology, biotechnology etc.

Text Bank

Contains a set of texts on the human genome thematically arranged as per the subfields explained above. 

Text is in Catalan, Spanish and English.

Text tagged morphologically by researcher team.

Terminological bank

Developed in parallel with ontology. Single concept principle. For each term there will be an associated concept.

Followed theoretical framework of the communicative theory of terminology (CTT) described in Cabré (1999, 2003). Gives scope to explain situation and understand usage of the term.


Functional tags added to concept. Helps get a set of relationship of a concept with other concepts in the field. Used OntoTerm system that has an ontology editor, a browser and a HTML code generator.

The relations belong to a closed list- similarity (positive, negative), inclusion (class inclusion or hyponymy) sequentiality (place, time), causality (causal), Instrument, meronymy, association (general, specialized)

Thus, we notice that it is possible to create an integrated knowledge database structure. Cabré demonstrates how it is possible to converge three viewpoints: the cognitive (concept) with linguistics (the term) and the communicative (the situation) approaches. Cabré proposed “theory of doors” in her research on theories of terminology published in 2003, she applied them in Gerome project. By combining text bank,   documentary bank, terminological bank and ontology at a common platform, she opened a bigger door, the integrated one, for the terminological unit that remains at the core of the terminology. 

On the lines of Cabré, Alan K. Melby in his research paper, “Terminology in the Age of Multilingual Corpora” (2012), deals with the importance of terminology management, termbases vs. glossaries, multilingual corpora and translation technology, an optimistic view of the human role in terminology and problems of standardization in TermBase eXchange (TBX) files and their interoperability and also calls for collaborative efforts on part of the translation and language technology providers to develop a consensus on using unified TBX so that advancement in knowledge sharing takes place without any technological hindrances.

Melby’s approach coincides with the second and third stage explained above by Cabré. He talks about multilingual corpora and their growing importance in machine translation platforms of Google Translate, Bing Translate and open-source Moses project. In this context Bowker (2011) opines  that termbases will be replaced by online multilingual corpora. Melby refutes this idea and emphasizes on the need of specialized and domain specific termbases.

While explaining the meaning of termbase, Melby along with his colleagues Inge Karsch and Jost Zetzsche refers to the principles of concept-oriented terminology work (ISO 704:2009), ends up siding with the idea of traditional school of terminology, the onomasiological approach that considers, concept as priori of the term that designate them and follows monosemous relationship-the single concept principle. He differentiates between termbase and an electronic general purpose lexicographical dictionary that contains general meaning and usage. He also affirms that concept orientation in termbase does not imply that the concepts are universal across all cultures and time periods.

Melby differentiates between termbases and glossaries and explains that monolingual glossaries containing a collection of terms and definitions that are relevant to a particular domain or a particular project, generally used for maintaining consistency, may be considered as monolingual termbase. On the other hand, a two-column bilingual list of terms, created from a source text, without following terminology principles, generally prepared by translators for their reference and use in translation, do not meet even the minimal requirement of termbase, i.e., the single concept principle. Hence, they do not qualify as content of a termbase. Melby further explains about the basic structure of termbase, and the necessary information needed to create a termbase and refers to LISA Terminology standards SIG 2008:4, ISO 12620, 1999 and ISO CAT, 2009 respectively. He also refers to Marshman et al. 2012 on concept relations, such as generic-specific and part-whole.

Melby presents a critical view of the impact of multilingual corpora and translation technology that tend to lessen the need for termbases and reveals that the new techniques of using multilingual corpora, machine translation and translation memory features help in getting better results. Also, he gives importance to ‘clean’ data for creating automated glossaries of termbases. He explains that although the new technologies have given access to large multilingual corpora, but as most of them do not contain clean data, human intervention becomes mandatory and therefore, may slow down or impede the translation process. Therefore, there exists the need of domain specific corpora, high quality termbases, human intervention for quality control, consistency and other linguistic validation once the automated processing of translation or terminology is done by new technologies. This would further mean new roles to be played by translators or terminologists in the translation process.

Based on the optimistic view of translation industry leaders, Melby emphasizes the growing importance of termbases that are bound to become more and more automated. As the automation of MT and termbases evolve, the need for professional translators and professional terminologists who can enhance these automatically generated resources will also increase.

After having presented a critical view of the need and continued demand of termbases, Melby explains about the TermBase eXchange (TBX) file format, that represents the information in a high-end termbase in a neutral intermediate format, compliant with Terminological Markup Frame (TMF) (ISO 11642 2003) and calls for standardization of all termbases based on TMF metamodel to be fully represented in TBX.

Melby explains the structure of TMF metamodel defined in ISO 30042: 2008: 8 which is simplified and flexible one and provides the possibility of managing conceptual relations between entries, thus it opens wider avenues for the Semantic Web and TBX provides a solid foundation for representing such relations in termbases, hence greater possibilities of interaction between TBX and OWL (web ontology language).

Melby further explains the growing importance of TBX and explains that TBX being accepted by major service providers of terminology management tools is also being used by Termium, the upcoming NATO terminology management system and Microsoft glossaries.

In the end, Melby explains the future scenario with an anticipated widespread use of TBX that would help in sharing terminology freely within a supply chain. It would help the end user take decisions on changing a service provider without having to invest much on acquiring new tools. It would help improve the supply chain of documents within an organization by allowing quality control of the content by various authors and allow better coordination and collaboration.


Based on the technological development and advancement of various disciplines and the need to adapt to new realities of the society, Cabré’s approach seems to be a realistic one. Without entering into conflict with various approaches to terminology, she recognizes the need to converge them at a common platform and develops an integrated approach by combining documentary bank, text bank, terminological bank and ontology and moves away from general corpora to a smaller but more specialized knowledge database.

Similarly, Melby’s observation on the dynamic nature of terminology management gives us an insight about the need to standardize the termbases in terms of TBX file format described as per the Terminological Markup Framework (TMF). This would help terminologists, translators, service technology providers, language policy planners as well as end users to increase the efficiency of workflow and supply chain and give an option of database portability across the globe. This, would, in turn facilitate the advancement of knowledge and create newer avenues of specialized work in language, translation and terminology domain.

 Some concerns

  1. With growing automation of translation and translation processes, what is the future of terminology and terminologists?
  2. Has Cabré been able to resolve the conflict between traditional approach and sociolinguistic approach?
  3. Cabré as well as Melby and many other national as well as international organizations continue to follow the single concept principle, how far are they able to address concern raised by new approaches to terminology that questions about the communicative aspect of languages, and protypicality of concepts?
  4. With rise of hybridity of Machine tools and Memory tools, and specialized knowledge banks, what is the future of termbases and TBX file formats?


Cabre, Maria Teresa (2006).“From Terminological Data Banks to Knowledge Databases: The text as the Starting Point”. In Lexicography, Terminology and Translation: Text-based Studies in Honor of Ingrid Meyer. Ed. Bowker, Lynne, Ottawa, the University of Ottawa Press, p.93-105.

Melby Alan K. (2012). “Terminology in the Age of Multilingual Corpora”. The Journal of Specialized Translation, 18, 7-27

Bowker, Lynne (2011). “Off the record and on the fly.” Alet Kruger, Kim Wallmach and Jeremy Munday (eds). (2011) Corpus-based Translation Studies: Research and Applications. London: Continuum, 211-236.

Marshman, Elizabeth, Julie L. Gariépy and Charissa Harms (2012). “Helping Language Professionals relate to terms: Terminological Relations and Termbases.” The Journal of Specialised Translation 18, 45-71.

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