The U.S. is such a monolingual country that many Americans do not consider the issues of translation until they are confronted with someone who doesn’t speak English or who doesn’t speak it natively.
Yet, businesses are finding that they are more successful overseas when they use non-English languages, and it’s simply not realistic to expect that everyone on this planet will learn one language–or even that it would be beneficial for them to do so. Aside from the loss of culture that results from language death, consider, for example, the recent medical findings that suggest bilinguals are less likely to suffer from dementia.
As such, it will always be necessary for us to have translators. Not only do they facilitate better business strategies, but they help to improve health care and our justice systems. And, because so much is at stake (literally, life and death), it’s important that we have people who are trained in translation. Simply being bilingual isn’t enough, particularly when highly technical topics (the law, medicine, business contracts, etc) are involved.
Here’s a professional organization for people with exactly such training. If you’re ever in need of translation services, I highly recommend that you check them out: ATA – American Translators Association – Translators Interpreters Translation Interpreting.