We spend a lot of time each day looking at, tweeting, and texting emoji, but few of us get paid to do so. Keith Broni, on the other hand, makes his living doing just that.
我们每天都会花上大量的时间浏览表情符号,会在微博上发送表情符号,发送表情包短信息,但是甚少有人因此而获得酬劳。Keith Broni,从另一方面来说,就是通过发送表情符号而谋生的人。

Last December, London-based translation company Today Translations put out a call for an “emoji translator.” The job listing made news, partly because of its novelty — it’s believed to be the first role of its kind — and partly because it just sounds like so much fun. Who doesn’t want to spend their day looking at emoji?
去年12月,总部设在伦敦翻译公司Today Translations就公开招募了“表情包译员”。这份工作的招聘启事还受到了媒体的关注报道,一部分原因是其新鲜感——据说是这种类型译员的首创,并且也有一部分原因是这个职位听起来好像很有趣的样子。谁不想看着表情包度过一天呢?

Today Translations received over 500 applications, and the interview process took five months, but Broni emerged as the winning candidate. You can’t major in emoji translation (at least, not yet), but Broni’s educational background does complement the role. The Irishman graduated from University College London with a Master’s degree in business psychology. His dissertation, which was entitled using only emoji, looked at the ways that consumer behavior can influence how we perceive emoji in combination with various brand names.
Today Translations公司收到了超过500位求职申请,并且整个面试流程花费了5个月的时间,不过Broni 就从众多的求职者中脱颖而出。你无法把表情符号翻译当作主修科目(至少,目前还不行),但是Broni的教育背景确实完善了这个角色。这位爱尔兰人从英国伦敦大学学院毕业,并获得了商务心理学的硕士学位。他的毕业论文,主题就是围绕仅仅使用表情符号,去观测消费者行为影响人们对表情符号结合不同品牌名字的感觉的方式。

Broni’s passion for emoji — a job requirement, obviously — is so strong that he organized Europe’s first Emoji Spelling Bee, in which contestants were given a limited amount of time to convert a phrase into emoji. When Today Translations posted the job, multiple friends sent Broni the listing, recognizing that it was a natural fit for a man whose days were already defined by hearts, smileys, and thumbs-up icons.
Broni对于表情符号的热情(很显然,是职业所需)是如此的强烈,帮助他组织了欧洲首届表情符号拼写比赛。在比赛过程中,参赛者需要在规定时间内把短语转换成表情符号。而当Today Translations公司发布了这个职位广告的时候,许多朋友就给Broni发送这个招聘信息,并且都认为这个职位对于那个整天沉迷于心型图案,微信表情以及大拇指点赞表情的男人来说就是完美职业。

The interview process began with a short emoji test, asking applicants to decipher the meanings of some emoji combinations, as well as write a few sentences exclusively in emoji. The test was followed by a phone interview and then a presentation on what a handbook for using emoji might look like.

The job, as fun as it might seem, is far more complicated than it sounds. “The hardest things I’ve had to translate are ones where the intention is for it to be highly universal,” Broni explains during a phone interview with Refinery29. Even though emoji are often referred to as the new universal language, meanings can vary widely from one culture to the next. Take the thumbs up emoji.

“It’s very popular in the West, and is the ubiquitous Facebook icon, but in the Middle East it’s equivalent to an offense, like giving someone the middle finger,” Broni says.

The same goes for the A-Okay hand gesture, which Broni says can be very offensive in Latin America. Even the basic happy face isn’t so basic. In China, Broni says it’s often used to convey that you’re finished, or done with a conversation.

Even though emoji are often referred to as the new universal language, meanings can vary widely from one culture to the next.

Another element that complicates emoji interpretation is which device you’re using to view the icons. Since smartphone makers such as Samsung and Apple are allowed to design their own, system-appropriate renditions of the characters, how they appear can differ if you’re using one type of phone to send an emoji to a friend with another type of phone. On Samsung phones, for example, Broni says that the rolling eyes emoji looks slightly hopeful, while the smirking face looks more “meh” and less flirty than it does on iOS. Let this be a word to the wise: You might want to rethink texting an emoji after a first date, given the potential for some major misinterpretation.

Broni’s job is to create an etiquette guide breaking down not only the meanings of individual emoji in different cultures, but also the meanings of strings of emoji together and emoji variations across devices. It’s a monumental task and one that, if done incorrectly, has the potential to incite social outrage.

The introduction of new emoji every year means Broni will need to constantly update any guide he creates. “I’m most fascinated to see how they impact the usage trends of preexisting emoji,” Broni says of the upcoming release of Emoji 5.0. “Will mind-blown become the new emoji synonym for wow instead of the current mouth wide open emoji?”
每年新增的表情符号,意味着Broni就要不断地更新修改他所创建的指南。“我很着迷于观察它们是如何影响着已有的表情符号的使用趋势的。”Broni指的是即将发布的Emoji 5.0。“震惊的表情是否成为等同于惊讶的新表情,而不是原来的张大嘴巴的表情呢?”

Unfortunately, Today Translations hasn’t put out a call for another emoji translator yet. Still, you might want to start prepping now should the opportunity arise again. In the meantime, you should probably avoid inserting emoji into upcoming job applications. Though Broni says the icons have become acceptable as their popularity grows, they’re still rarely deemed appropriate in formal communications. Best to stick with the tried and true guidelines and save the (IRL) smiley face for your in-person interview.
然而不巧的是,Today Translations公司还没有公开招聘新的表情符号译员。并且,你可能想从现在就开始准备,等待着招聘机会再次到来。与此同时,你可能要避免在接下来的求职申请中附上表情符号。虽然Broni表示这些图标随着它们的兴起逐渐被人们所接受,但是它们仍然在正式的交往语境下几乎是不合适的。你最好还是坚持经过考验是好的方法指引,把你的微笑表情留到亲自面试吧。