ome may argue that the word 'translation' simply means 'the skill of accurately rendering a document into another language'; however for most of us who do this work on a day-to-day basis it means more than this. Apart from providing us with our daily bread and butter, it is an artistic expression that some of us are capable to do while others don't. In this regard, translations can get tricky and Maltese translations are no exception!
I must admit that up to a few years ago, there wasn't very much demand for Maltese translations; however, things have now changed. Ever since Malta joined the European Union and the Maltese language was formally recognized as one of the official EU languages as of 2004, there has been a boom in the Maltese translation market. We saw the cropping up of local translation agencies, and many international translation agencies, mostly European, are demanding more Maltese translators.
This boom in the local translation market brought also other challenges. With the adoption of the EU regulations, there are stricter demands on translations in various areas, among other things, within the medical, insurance and technology-related areas. This is a mostly untapped market, considering, for example, that all insurance policies in the local market are written in English. So is the case for the medical and technological sector, where medical documents such as medical prescriptions and analyses were written in English. This also applies in relation to technological documents such as technical manuals.
The challenges for translators within this particular field include the creation and use of new vocabulary. Thus, we are actually contributing to the formation of new Maltese words every day. With no formal translation association in the country, something had to been done in order to keep up with the present ever-changing situation.
The University of Malta recognized this change in the Maltese Language and took up the challenge. By the end of the year, the University of Malta is going to launch a brand-new dictionary on the local market to aid Maltese translators and the general public. The University is also facing up to the challenges of the translation market by offering a specialized course for those who would like to become translators or interpreters.
However there is more to it! When Malta joined the European Union, translators had to work on actual documentation that needed immediate translation. At that time, EU authorities decided that old documents from the period prior to Malta's joining were not to be translated. The European Union established a derogation period so that translators could handle the influx of translation work.
The derogation period ended a few months ago. and now Maltese translators are facing up loads of translation work to be done. The future looks very promising, and there is a lot of work to keep everyone busy for quite a while. Although it is very difficult to estimate how many translators are in the local market, one thing is for sure: there is enough work for everyone. Indeed, Maltese translation and also Maltese translators are in transition!