“Oyez, Oyez, Oyez!” Let’s shout out and let the world know what International Translation Day is all about. Have you ever heard of International Translation Day? Established and launched in 1953 by the International Federation of Translators, this annual event celebrated on 30th September is a rather recent addition to the celebration of world events. And what does this day honour? Quite simply, it puts the world of translation and interpreting in the spotlight and shines the light on the efforts of translators and interpreters across the globe who help people communicate effectively internationally, by breaking down language barriers through their work. It also crosses cultural boundaries and makes the world a smaller place (but at the same time helping the world remain diverse – see below for International Translation Day’s theme 2017).
But what is translation all about? Translation is the written form of communicating from a source language such as English to a target language, e.g. French. For instance, this tool enables books written in one language to be read in another language, thus breaking open the literary world and transporting it to all corners of the globe. What’s more, since the world has become more globalised, translation is a useful tool to assist in communicating to international target markets through the translation of engineering manuals, or the translation and localisation of business websites. The world is your oyster! Let’s not forget a part of this world that has equal stardom, the verbal side of translation, interpreting. Interpreting plays a leading role on many a political, environmental, business, social and economic stage, allowing governments to communicate effectively, enabling social services to help refugees for example, feel less overwhelmed in a country that isn’t their own, or businesses exporting globally to speak to their international suppliers. The list is endless!
So, what happens on International Translation Day, apart from putting the name ‘translation and interpreting’ in lights and promoting this profession? This recognised annual event takes to the world stage and brings people together via dedicated translation and interpreting events, seminars and symposiums all over the world. And why mark the occasion on 30th September? Well, what better way for the profession to feel like it’s won The Oscars for one day than on the feast day of St. Jerome, the patron saint of translators! This Christian scholar, St. Jerome, allowed the bible to gain a far wider audience through his translation of the text from Hebrew into Latin.
Akin to Commonwealth Day and World Environment Day, International Translation Day celebrates the event with a specific theme. This year 2017’s theme touches upon ‘Translation and Diversity’. According to Fédéderation Internationale des Traducteurs / International Federation of Translators, “Cultural diversity is closely tied to linguistic diversity. Losing your language means losing a part of your cultural identity. Translation is important both to maintaining and learning from a culture.” The aim of this event is to help people recognise that although the world has become a smaller place through globalisation, and with the help of translation and interpreting, it is important that diversity of cultures and languages is promoted and that this diversification continues to shine bright. As sure as night and day, the diversity show must go on!
International Translation Day is a day for translators and interpreters to take pride in their profession and for this type of work to be recognised as important in this increasingly globalised world. Let’s shoot translation and interpreting to stardom, let’s shout out and let the world know what International Translation Day is all about. Let’s recognise the importance this line of work has throughout this multicultural world!
By Madeline Prusmann, Project Manager, September 2017