I recently came across an article in Fast Company, Why People With Multicultural Experience Are More Creative, and it struck me as quite truthful. Well, parts of it at least.
The opening line, “A person who has immersed themselves in another culture has the openness and cognitive flexibility to make your organization more creative.” is dead on. I do believe, and have seen in the past 16 years of working in an international environment, that individuals that are open to more than one way are thinking are indeed more creative in their problem solving skills. I don’t know if all people with multicultural experience are by nature “more creative,” and I’m not sure how one would actually measure creativity. Yet I do appreciate the author’s point of view.
The written translation profession requires a lot of creativity and problem-solving skills. Translators are messengers. They must understand all the nuances of a message, implied or not, and recreate that message in another language without losing any of the details. Translators are like artists, and scientists. Language as we understand it lies in the eye of the beholder. How I understand a concept is very different than how you understand a concept. Even as I write this blog I am trying to put myself into your brain (and I don’t really know who you are!) and guess how you are reading this and how you are understanding this. Now multiply that into another language. The written language translator must do the exact same thing, except he or she now needs to think about how a reader that is potentially across the globe will read and understand the piece. But translators are also like scientists. Science is exact and precise. Translation is exact and precise. The professional translator cannot embellish, add, omit or otherwise alter the meaning of a message. The meaning must be exactly the same for all readers, regardless of their language.
In my opinion, it’s the art plus the science that makes people with multicultural experience more creative.
Ingrid Christensen is President and Founder of INGCO International, a professional language service provider located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Ingrid’s brings more than 16 years of experience as an on-site language interpreter and document translator to the company which she founded in 2006. Please get in touch with us if you are interested in more information regarding our translation, interpreting and global marketing services in 200+ languages across the globe.