Translation has always been a bit underrated. It's not a major degree in many countries, people tend to think that studying languages is enough and companies are definitely not willing to pay for translation services when "there's someone at the office who studied in England for two months and can translate what I need with no extra charge".
Hence, my disillusionment. I have been job hunting for the last two months and the job offerings are just ridiculous: "Native of English, Spanish and German needed" (all three?), "Minimum required: ESO level (equivalent to Middle School level in the US)". Seriously? Is the World joking?
However, and this is good news, I found this Recommendation on the Legal Protection of Translators and Translations and the Practical Means to improve the Status of Translators written by the UNESCO in 1976. Too bad it's just a recommendation, but it has some good points that I wanted to share with you:
About the importance of Translation:
"Noting the extremely important rôle played by translators and translations in international exchanges in culture, art and science, particularly in the case of works written or translated in less widely spoken languages,"
About Translation training (no, knowing a language does not make you a translator):
"11. Member States should recognize in principle that translation is an independent discipline requiring an education distinct from exclusively language teaching and that this discipline requires special training. [...]"
I recommend that you read the whole text here.
Hopefully Translation will get the recognition it deserves soon enough. Just think for a second about all the things you would have not been able to get to know or to do if it wasn't for translators (some easy ones: the Bible, instructions for a gadget made in Japan, etc.)
I really hope I did my bit here.