Is translation stuck in a corporate basement, like Milton in Office Space? Or to put it differently, after all of the hard work that goes into a translation, does anybody really read our work?
"Nobody reads the manual" is an oft-voiced complaint amongst technical writers and translators. We ourselves have previously wondered whether or not translation is the least important most important thing.
While many industry veterans are used to seeing our profession marginalized, things may be changing.
This was driven home to me on a recent business trip. Walking through Boston's Logan airport, I saw not one but two billboards advertising translation services.
Transperfect (above) actually had 2 billboards in Terminal A alone. 10 seconds after passing their first one, I saw this one from Xerox:
It seems like Xerox' campaign is still going strong after six months.
But the translation surprises didn't stop there. On the plane, I caught up with Wired. In two different issues, I found the following language-related full-page advertisements (click for larger version):
That's an awful lot of money being spent on translation-related advertising. So, what does it mean?
It looks like the translation business is emerging from the corporate basement but is it really? Or is it just a head fake, like Lionbridge's NPR sponsorship during the dot-com boom?
What do you think?
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