Translators at various periods of Human History, have played a determining role in all the social, political, economic and cultural relationships existing betwen different societies. The History of our civilizations is that of the relationship between cultures of different languages. For Jean Delisle, a society's literature undergoes a new evolution, as soon as it is enriched by the translation of a literary work coming from another culture. In times of globalization, the production and marketing of products could not be imagined without the translation of documents accompanying the product at various stages, from design to practical use and even later, with all questions related with customer service. A translator's task requires skill that cannot be improvised. Today, the translator is necessarily a multidisciplinary agent, but the complete opposite of an agent that plays at being a translator. The translator's mastery of specialized languages must as throrough as possible, nearly as complete as specialists on the matter themselves.
Globalization, EU enlargment and consolidation brought about a constant growth of the annual number of translated pages (2.5 million pages a year have to be translated for the European Commission compared with 1.300.000 in 2004). In Belgium, the translation market is well established with several large offices of international significance and 7 famous training institutes, accessible to students from different countries.
Whether the translator works freelance or as an employee, the translator has to work in a team and to find his place in the collective according to his preferences and of his personal abilities. Man or machine? The translator makes use of translation tools: terminological databases, translation software and sometimes machine translation. Rather than a competitor, MT and CAT software becomes the missing link between the various elements of a collective of translators attached to different tasks.