International Translation Day

Why International Translation Day is Important

If you look at a calendar of holidays, you will find at least one to celebrate every day of the week.

There’s practically a day of celebration for just about everything. September 30, is the International Translation Day that also shares the spotlight with the Ask a Stupid Question Day and a few other interesting ones. For the purpose of this article, I’ll focus on the former.

A Brief History

The International Translation Day is celebrated once a year on September 30 on the feast of St. Jerome. St. Jerome translated the bible back in the day and is considered the patron saint of translators.

In 1991, the International Federation of Translators (FIT) proposed an idea to officially recognize the International Translation Day to show solidarity in the language services industry and to promote the translation profession across the globe.

The translation profession is one of the oldest in the world. Ever since human beings started to communicate using language, a need for translators and interpreters came about.

The International Translation Day recognizes the importance of the profession and celebrates it every year.

Why is this Important

Translators and interpreters are professionals and it’s important to recognize this fact.

When you have mission-critical content that you need translated, you wouldn’t trust just anyone to do it, or would you?

Here in the United States we’re used to a fairly stable economic and social life. You may engage a translator to help translate a few documents here and there.

Some may be more complicated than others, such as a one page letter or a patent filing.

You will often find interpreters help patients communicate with doctors, as well as students with instructors.

All of these are complicated language translation & interpreting scenarios that require a professional linguist, but they’re are done in stable and reliable conditions.

Creating Awareness

What we don’t often see is the work that translators and interpreters do in conflict zones around the world.

To recognize their efforts, FIT passed a resolution this year to recognize the dangers professional linguists have to go through to guarantee at least a minimum of communication between otherwise “speechless” parties in the conflict.

Interpreting in a hospital has a different level of risk associated with it than interpreting in a war zone.

With the resolution, the 2014 FIT Statutory Congress calls upon national governments and the international community to:

  • protect the local translators and interpreters in conflict zones
  • ensure a life in security during and after their work in the conflict zone
  • respect the impartiality of the work of translators and interpreters
  • work for a UN Convention and/or an international safety document for the protection of translators and interpreters in conflict zones during and after their service.

How You can Help

There are two great non-profit organizations that focus on improving multicultural communication around the world, while protecting the health and safety of the interpreters & translators.

  • Translators Without Borders – Focuses on increasing access to knowledge through humanitarian translations.
  • Red T – Is dedicated to the protection of translators and interpreters in conflict zones and other adversarial settings.

The International Translation Day is about creating awareness of the language services industry.

I encourage you to learn more about both of these organizations as they play key roles in facilitating global multicultural communication.

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