International Translation Day
Calendars often feature days of appreciation for a variety of professions. With so many great providers of different services in the world, these days give us the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate these professionals in a meaningful way.
One such day is International Translation Day. Celebrated every year on September 30th – the feast day of Saint Jerome, the Patron Saint of Translators – this day draws attention to those professionals who’ve dedicated their lives to bridging language gaps and barriers around the world, thus bringing people closer together.
St. Jerome, the Patron Saint Of Translators
Saint Jerome (c. 347 – c. 420) was not only a Catholic priest but also a historian and theologian who first began the herculean effort to translate the Bible into the common Latin tongue in the 4th century. But Saint Jerome didn’t just commission the Vulgate Bible translation from the Greek; he also translated parts of the Hebrew Gospels into Greek. Of Illyrian ancestry (likely in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina), he learned Latin in school and picked up both Hebrew and Greek over the years. Languages, you could say, came naturally to him.
Languages – More than a Profession
Traduttore, traditore: Translator, traitor. This ingenious consonance was first used by enraged Italians for whom French translations of Dante’s work betrayed his work’s beauty and accuracy. It also played on the deepest fears of a multilingual, international society.
For centuries, translation has played an indispensable role in moving civilization forward, both scientifically and philosophically. This is as true now as it was long ago.
In today’s modern world, however, with computer-generated translations available on almost every smartphone and computer, International Translation Day is a good opportunity to draw attention to the hard-working, human professionals who give a personal touch to language, translating cultures as well as languages, and for whom translation is not just a job, but a calling.
Some, when first learning a new language, find it difficult to grasp new words and grammatical structures, while others take to the task with ease. For a few lucky ones, like Saint Jerome, languages come easy – almost as if it were in their blood.
A few of those fortunate ones often go on to become translators and interpreters. In this chosen occupation, they play an important part in bringing nations together, assist in facilitating dialogue and cooperation between those divided by language barriers, and contribute to healing a divided world.
Without professional translators, much would be literally lost in translation. There is nothing like person-based translation to avoid the pitfalls of missed nuances or cultural diversity that a machine-generated translation simply cannot pick up. That is where these highly trained experts step in.
The Origin of International Translation Day
International Translation Day was first launched in 1991 by the International Federation of Translators (est. in 1953) to show solidarity with the growing worldwide community of translators and to draw attention to its ever-growing contribution in the age of globalization.
Then, on May 24, 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 71/288, recognizing the role translators play in connecting the world and assisting the UN in working closer toward their goal of strengthening world peace and international security. Through this resolution, September 30th was officially declared International Translation Day.
Since 2005, the United Nations has invited its staff, students from select universities, and accredited permanent missions staff to compete in the UN’s St. Jerome Translation Contest. This contest is a celebration of multilingualism and draws further attention to the role translators play in the world of international diplomacy. The contest rewards the best translations in a multitude of languages. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 contest was held online to ensure this inspiring event could go ahead.
The Role of Translators in the World
International Translation Day is an opportunity to honor those experts that work tirelessly day after day to connect people, from those working within the United Nations organization to those in many different capacities everywhere.
Scientific, technical, and academic works all rely on highly trained professionals to translate content properly so it can be shared with experts around the world. Correct transposition of such works into other languages, including the ability to grasp cultural nuances, is essential to preserving the intended meaning of the work and fostering a positive climate of international exchange.
International Translation Day in the USA
Important associations such as AIIC (Association Internationale des interprètes de conference or International Association of Conference Interpreters), TAALS (The American Association of Conference Interpreters), and the ATA (American Translators Association) have long worked to raise awareness of the importance of language knowledge for economic growth, social justice, and national – as well as international – security. They have also advocated over the years on matters directly affection translation and interpretation professionals.
We at Chang-Castillo and Associates could not be happier to join in the celebration of our profession and our dedicated linguists who work tirelessly to provide our clients with the platinum standard of translation and interpretation services in the language industry.
Join us on this day to show solidarity with and pay tribute to our colleagues around the world who work alongside us to break down language barriers and bring the world closer together, one translation at a time.
Happy International Translation Day!