In the 2016 sci-fi movie Arrival, Dr. Louise Banks (played by Amy Adams) is a linguist and translator tasked with communicating with an alien species that has arrived on Earth. Throughout the movie, Dr. Banks and her team use their knowledge of language and translation to try to understand the aliens’ intentions and prevent a potential global conflict.
One of the movie’s key themes is the role of translation and language in human communication. As Dr. Banks and her team struggle to decipher the aliens’ complex and non-linear language, they come to realize that language is not merely a means of communication but a tool for understanding and interpreting the world around us. In this sense, the role of the translator is not simply to convert words from one language to another but to facilitate communication and understanding between different individuals and cultures.
Another theme of the movie is the importance of accurate and precise translation. As Dr. Banks and her team work to understand the aliens’ language, they encounter several challenges and pitfalls that illustrate the potential consequences of mistranslation. For example, a misunderstanding between the aliens and a military team leads to a tense and potentially dangerous situation, highlighting the need for clear and accurate communication.
Arrival presents a thought-provoking portrayal of the translator’s role in human communication. Through the character of Dr. Louise Banks, the movie shows the importance of language and translation in anticipating and preventing misunderstandings between different individuals and cultures. It also emphasizes the need for accurate and precise translation to ensure clear and effective communication.
While Arrival is a work of science fiction, it reveals some of the challenges and complexities translators face in the real world. Like the character of Dr. Louise Banks, many translators are tasked with working with complicated and unfamiliar languages and cultures. They must use their knowledge and expertise to facilitate communication and understanding.
Additionally, the movie’s emphasis on the importance of accurate and precise translation is also applicable to real-life translation, as mistranslations can have serious consequences in a variety of contexts. It is important to note, however, that the movie is not a perfect reflection of the role of translators in real life. The situation faced by Dr. Banks and her team – communicating with an alien species – is not likely to be encountered by most translators.
Moreover, the movie’s depiction of the aliens’ language and communication may not accurately reflect the challenges and complexities of real-world languages and translation. Despite these limitations, Arrival provides an entertaining and engaging portrayal of the translator’s role in facilitating communication and understanding.