Wanted: emoji guru
A global translation firm based in London is hiring what it says will be the world’s first official “emoji translator”.
The job advertisement, which was posted online two weeks ago, has already attracted 100 applicants from around the globe.
Today Translations, the firm behind the posting, needs a specialist to help it decode how emojis translate across cultures, languages and generations.
Jurga Zilinskiene, CEO and founder of Today Translations, said: “We are investing time and energy into this because we believe emoji usage will become more and more popular. It’s a complex area.”
For example, Zilinskiene said Westerners use one emoji to show someone laughing so hard they cry. The official name for this emoji is “face with tears of joy”.
But Middle Eastern cultures tend to interpret this emoji as depicting crying and grief, she said.
In Japan, it’s traditional for a teacher to use a white flower symbol to acknowledge when a student has done a good job on their homework, said Zilinskiene. But that meaning would be lost in other cultures.
According to the job posting, the emoji specialist will be expected to provide translation work for clients and write monthly reports “on emoji trends, developments, usage and areas of confusion and cultural differences”.
There’s already one assignment lined up: A client wants to translate his diary into emojis for his children.
In a bid to find the best applicants, the company even created an online test asking people to translate strings of emojis into English phrases. For example: Statue of Liberty + airplane = New York Jets.
Emojis have become more popular and widely used over the years. Oxford Dictionaries even named an emoji its word of the year last year – selecting the laughing/crying face.
At the time, Oxford Dictionaries’ president, Casper Grathwohl, said: “You can see how traditional alphabet scripts have been struggling to meet the rapid-fire, visually focused demands of 21st-century communication.
“It’s not surprising that a pictographic script like emoji has stepped in to fill those gaps.”