As a freelance document translator, I translate Spanish writing into English writing. But there’s more to my job than just that.
Since I specialize in agricultural and scientific translating, I watch ag industry movements and ag science developments in Spanish-speaking Latin America, as these changes can often produce new work for me. Mexican wheat breeders and Colombian coffee exporters can use translators like me to communicate more clearly with English-speaking scientists and consumers, and there will be new demand for specialized linguists any time that science or industry reaches out across the language barrier.
But I’m not the only one who benefits by knowing about ag developments south of the border. The English-speaking scientists and industry counterparts of my potential clients need to be informed as well.
A study published in the scientific journal PLOS Biology in the final days of 2016, and reported in a news article by Cambridge University, demonstrated that, although English is the common language of science, a large proportion of scientific publications are still not available in the English language. (For example, the PLOS Biology report stated that 35% of the biodiversity conservation articles listed on Google Scholar that were published in 2014 were written in a language other than English; the most common language among these was Spanish, at over 12%.)
Doctor Tatsuya Amano of the Department of Zoology at Cambridge, as quoted in the Cambridge University news article, summed up the problem: “Language barriers continue to impede the global compilation and application of scientific knowledge.”
This blog is part of the solution to that problem.
You can help out too by sending in hot tips that you find in Spanish, and I’ll get them out in English for the rest of our friends. That’s what I do after all – I’m a translator.