WANTED: UK Company Seeks Emoji Translator

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By Nahema Marchal | 11:10 am, December 13, 2016

A British language firm is looking for a new translator — who can speak emoji.

Today Translations, based in London, is advertising for an “emoji translator,”  in what might be the first job offer of the kind worldwide.

Last year, emoji was dubbed the fastest growing language in Britain. In fact, according to a survey by TalkTalk mobile, a quarter of Brits they use emojis in at least half of their text messages.

The job advert describes emoji translation is an “emerging field” with tremendous potential for growth, as inconsistencies have started to develop in the way the symbols are used around the world, with serious potential for misunderstandings.

But the field is currently dominated by automated software that cannot account for subtle differences in interpretation.

They are therefore seeking a linguist who can “provide the human touch needed” where translation software is inadequate.

It said: “In the absence of any native speakers, the successful candidate should be able to demonstrate a passion for emojis, combined with cutting-edge knowledge and awareness of areas of confusion and cultural/international differences.”

A study published by the University of Minnesota this year found that the different ways emojis are rendered on Apple versus Android phones, for example, make them subject to interpretation. And that can lead to serious miscommunications.

Emojis originated in Japan in the late 1990s, but became increasingly popular around the world when Apple’s iPhones started including them in their keyboards. They have now been adopted by Android and other mobile operating systems.

Last year, Oxford Dictionaries declared the “face with tears of joy” emoji the 2015 “word of the year,” saying it had come to embody “a core aspect of living in a digital world that is visually driven, emotionally expressive, and obsessively immediate.”

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