Wanted: Emoji Translator

  | James Innes

A company In London, in what is thought to be the first such job worldwide, has just advertised for an emoji translator.

Today Translations, an international award-winning translation business, created the role after a client asked them to translate diaries into emojis for one of their clients, but they could not find a specialist to take on the job.

Agency boss Jurga Zilinskiene said that emojis were a “potential growth area”, as “inconsistencies” had developed in their use. So far the company has received 30 applications in response to the online job advert they posted, and they hope to appoint somebody on a freelance basis by the start of 2017, with potential for it to become a full-time role. Translation itself will be paid by the word/emoji, with research into emoji use will be paid at an hourly rate.

Although emojis, which are ideograms and smileys used in electronic messages and web pages, originated on Japanese mobile phones in the late 1990s, it was only when they were included on Apple’s iPhone  and later Androids, that they became internationally popular and accepted.

However, there have been some cross-cultural misunderstandings in the use of the symbols, which have come to mean different things to different people. For example, a waving hand in most parts of the world means saying hello or goodbye. However, in China it is the equivalent of giving somebody the middle finger! The most commonly used emoji, tears of joy can variously mean laughing so hard that you cry, somebody laughing at themselves, or a way of gloating at other people.

As emojis are a way of indicating tone or emotion in messages, can they then be considered a separate language? Absolutely not, according to Rob Drummond from Manchester University, a senior lecturer in linguistics. He says a test for a language is that you have to be able to translate a full sentence from one language to the other with shared and common meanings. Emojis fail this test because meanings vary from person to person.

It is an addition to language rather than a language itself”, Dr Drummond concluded.

Source: BBC

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