Unjustly low status do exist in professional terms of the translator. Throughout the long history, translation has never really enjoyed the kind of recognition and respect that other professions, such as medicine and engineering have enjoyed. Translators have constantly complained that translation is underestimated as a profession. There is no doubt that the low status accorded to translation as a profession is “unjust”, but one has to admit that this is not just the fault of the general public . The translation community itself has tradicionally been guilty of underestimating not so much the value as the complexity of the translation process and hence the need for formal professional training in the field. Those involved in translations with love for languages and for engaging with other cultures, as well as a growing area of research can reflect on what they do and that they have invested in acquiring not only the vocational but also the intellectual skills required to undertake such a complex and highly consequential task, one that has a major impact on the lives of the many people who rely on them as mediators.
Our profession is based on knowledge and experience. It has the longest apprenticeship of any profession. Not until thirty do you start to be useful as a translator, not until fifty do you start to be in your prime. In the past, translator as a carreer was never thought of as opposed to medicine or enginnering. Only recently training programmes have been introduced at academic institutions across the world. One obvious problem with this carreer is that it takes so long to acquire the skills you need as a translator that your career is almost over before it begins.
For translation to gain more recognition as a profession, translators cannot resort to a mixture of intuition and experience to think through and justify the decisions they have to make but must constantly look to developments in neighboring disciplines to appreciate the varied, complex dimensions of their work. Among the many skills they need to acquire through training is the skill to understand and reflect on the raw material with which they work, to appreciate what language is and how it comes to function for its users.