International Translation Day is celebrated annually on September 30 on the feast of St. Jerome, the patron of translators and the translator of the Holy Bible from the 4th/5th century BC. This day features events, conferences and discussions on the importance of translation in the modern globalised world.
International Translation Day – an overview
International Translation Day is celebrated every year on September 30. This holiday emphasises the importance of the work of translators, thanks to whom knowledge is not strictly limited by the boundaries of languages. Numerous conferences and events accompanying the celebrations of this day around the world are aimed at spreading awareness about the importance of translators and celebrating the fruits of their work which we all enjoy.
This work does not just involve translating words from one language to another. When translating literary works of art, scientific papers or political statements, it is necessary to have extensive knowledge and the ability of using words skillfully. Translation is by no means an easy task.
The history of International Translation Day
How was the International Translation Day established? This holiday falls on the feast of Saint Jerome. He is recognised as the patron of translators. Saint Jerome himself is the creator of the Vulgate, i.e. the translation of the Old and New Testaments from Greek and Hebrew into Latin. This text gained tremendous significance and became the basis for the interpretation of Christian theology for all Western Christianity in medieval times. Saint Jerome made this translation at the turn of the 4th and 5th centuries B.C.
In 1953, the International Federation of Translators was established (Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs, or FIT-IFT for short). Since its inception, the federation has promoted the celebration of International Translation Day.
Why are the translators so important?
We live in an increasingly globalised world. Cultural, political and economic problems have ceased to be a matter of individual communities or countries.
In this context, the role of the translator is crucial. It touches on many aspects of social life. The first thing that comes to mind is the opportunity to share and experience cultures from around the world. However, translations do not only concern artistic texts. Economic, political and scientific content from around the world is increasingly accessible with the help of translators.
It is important to remember that translators do not just work with text. The services of simultaneous interpreters are often used at business and political meetings.
During International Translation Day, people from all walks of life meet to talk about the important tasks and goals of these practitioners. In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly emphasised the great role that professional translators have in connecting nations. It also stated that the work of translators all over the world contributes to international peace, sustainable development, and in-depth understanding.
In this world based on information, open and clear communication is essential. It is a common factor which connects us and allows us to share and create experiences together. According to the well-known Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, language creates reality and affects its perception.
International Translation Day 2019
2019 has been proclaimed the year of indigenous languages, which will also be celebrated during this year’s International Translation Day. We are currently observing the extremely fast decline of indigenous languages, which is also associated with the loss of knowledge and cultural wealth that they carry. We are also losing an important component of the collective identity of the indigenous people of many areas. The events accompanying this year’s International Translation Day celebrations will aim to increase people’s awareness of the problem of disappearing indigenous languages, ways of preserving them, and the importance of preserving cultural diversity. An important element of these activities is to involve representatives of indigenous people in the discussions.