Translation is a skill that trained professionals spend years honing. Whilst there are many translators in the world, it’s a simple fact that they can often be localised to specific areas, leaving other areas without the resources needed to properly fulfill a quote for interpretation, translation or dictation services.

A recent report has highlighted that areas such as Qatar are suffering from a severe lack of skilled translators. Dr Salah Basalamah, who is a Professor at the Translation and Interpreting Institute (TII) of Hamad bin Khalifa University, has stated that there is a significant lack of understanding of source languages in the region.

Dr Salah Basalamah

These languages, English or Arabic, are proving difficult to translate accurately he states. Relating to the challenges facing the nation, Dr Basalamah has said that currently, Qatar hosts many major events and conferences which attract thousands of people from around the world. Also, employment opportunities This is only set to increase and in doing so, translation of multiple foreign languages is proving a necessity that Qatar is ill-equipped to handle.

He stated to the Peninsula Qatar newspaper: “When you see offices offering translation, they are really a mess. It’s really unfortunate to see that some non-Arabic speaking people are translating into Arabic because they are able to read the Arabic letters.

“So this sort of situation is leading into different things. It’s affecting the quality of work and at the same time is lowering the status of the translator. The translator is becoming a person who is rendering a form of letters into another form of letters, it doesn’t mean the meaning of the words are taken into account. For a very low price you can get the translation done, where it could have been better done through Google translation,”
He added: “What we would like to do is kind of promote a culture of professionalism and accuracy, quality and something really needed with the aspirations of the country in the face of the world.”

The TII provides training for translators and interpreters, and recently provided a new qualification; Masters of Audiovisual Translation. This focuses on a variety of audio, visual and multimedia tools to service translating needs for Qatar and beyond.

Dr Basalamah said of the new move: “Today we are in multimedia age, the image needs to be there, it’s not enough to have just text.”

“Qatar is leading in providing services to people with special needs. Audio visual translation is one that offering the services. It’s not only for people with hearing difficulties but also the visually impairment people,”