I remember meeting a translator at university. At the time he was working on a fairly heavy translation (to English) of a contemporary French philosopher's work (it was one of Gilles Deleuze's works) and he would sometimes talk about the challenges of creatively translating such a work. I must admit that my limited exposure to other languages did not allow me to understand exactly what he was saying ... but a recent trip to China showed the real value of a good translator.
As we prepared to fly out of the Hangzhou airport, we breakfasted in the airport cafe. And after a week of "trying" many dishes that could not be translated into English, and with my sense of adventure drying up, I found I was unable to order the appealing "egg millk blend juice", and opted for a black coffee instead.
But in a western world, used to the superlatives of copy writers, the literal translation of Chinese to English seems strange, yet to native speakers, even good bi-lingual speakers, these translations are more than fine -- they convey fact, are clear and communicate economically. Translators like copy writers are not born, they are made. They train for years in the nuances of cultures ... and their task and learning never ends. And it is a creative endeavour ... and the more we are all exposed to places like China and India, the more demand there will be for creative cross-cultural thinkers, speakers and (dare I say it), poets.