Translation: industry or art?

A recent poll on ( resulted in a discussion about whether translation is an industry, since it clearly involves the provision of a service for profit, or an art because of the creative aspects involved. Most translators do their job for economic reasons and there is clear market demand for the service they provide, suggesting that translation is indeed an ‘industry’. However, the creative elements of translation and the fact that what constitutes a ‘good’ translation is often subjective, suggest that it is an ‘art’. In a job which is all about communication it is perhaps ironic that we find it so difficult to categorise our profession.

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