One common response to the question of the relationship between travel and language issues is to argue that travel is merely a language problem. By creating a barrier between people through language, certain cultures or lifestyles are insulated from the rest of the world, insulated from the wider societal realities. Those who practice organic foods, for example, may view themselves as having chosen to live a different lifestyle from those who prefer hamburgers, popcorn, and ice cream. The organic niche market, it is argued, is therefore completely removed from the wider perspective of the global marketplace, and any effect the travel has on the language of those who consume it is irrelevant.
This robs the organic products and marketers of one of the most powerful ways that they can make their products accessible to those outside of their culture. Even if they cannot change the language used to describe their products, they can certainly change the cultural associations behind the products. Organic products and marketers can thus circumvent language issues related to cultural isolation and make their way into the very heart of contemporary society.
This cultural gap also creates a distinct possibility. By choosing to travel in a way that excludes language and cultural differences, travelers open themselves up to the possibility of encountering others who share a similar global perspective. With the exception of highly isolated locales, travel worldwide opens up a plethora of global social communities, each focused on the shared experience of the everyday world.
While travel and translation can seem to be on opposing ends of the same cultural divide, both are actually connected to one another. The barriers that separate cultures can often be overcome through translation. This often takes the form of a language translator who understands the source of a text and its intended meaning in a new language. In addition, the experience of traveling as a whole can be deeply meaningful when the source and meaning of the experience come into play. The blending of languages and the ability to experience a diversity of cultural experiences can help individuals come to greater understanding of the humanity shared among all people.
The lack of international contact often associated with many contemporary explorations is easily countered with a plan for travel that involves language translation. This helps bridge the gap between travel and translation. Not only is language translation used for the purpose of communicating across cultures, but it is often employed as a means of cultural cross-pollination. By opening up a dialogue between travel writers and those who need to understand their work before presenting it to others, a deeper understanding of language and culture emerges that can enrich communication between people and helps promote appreciation of a new culture.
A common thread that runs throughout the life of a culture is travel. From early childhood to old age, people need to leave their homes to undertake dramatic changes in their lives. A simple boat ride across the ocean or a trip to a faraway town to witness history in the making are two ways in which humans have spread across the globe and forged a connection between language and culture. As globalization continues to affect our relationships and our lives, the importance of travel and translation becomes more evident and must be nurtured by all who share the world.