“Without translation, I would be limited to the borders of my own country. The translator is my most important ally. He introduces me to the world.” – Italo Calvino
Did you know that there was an International Translation Day? For those of you who didn’t, International Translation Day takes place every year on the 30th September in order to celebrate the hard work exerted by our professional translators around the globe. The day raises awareness about how we can connect and show solidarity despite speaking different languages and exercising diverging values.
Each year there is a new theme and the theme for 2020 is “Finding the words for a world in crisis”. There are, indeed, many ways in which this theme can be interpreted. Taking into account all that has occurred so far this year, this theme is, to some degree, relatable to all. So, in line with this year’s celebration, we, at Easy Words, want to take this opportunity to accentuate how all translators, interpreters and other linguists work tirelessly with front line services to ensure that those who are in a crisis receive the help that they inherently deserve.
Despite this, another underlying idea behind this theme developed from the fact that many indigenous languages are in unprecedented danger of extinction. International Translation Day 2020 also celebrates how translators around the globe are the protectors of rare languages.
History of International Translation Day
30th September is a significant date in a translator’s calendar because this is also the day that celebrates the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator, who is considered to be the patron saint of translators. St. Jerome was a priest from North-Eastern Italy, known for his efforts of translating the Bible into Latin from the Greek manuscripts in the New Testament.
Although the idea of this day was set up back in 1953 by the International Federation of Translators, it wasn’t until 1991 when the first celebration took place to pay tribute to the work of language professionals.
In May 2017, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on the role of language professionals, stating that they connect nations and foster peace, understanding, and development. This was when 30th September was officially declared as International Translation Day.
“Translation is not a matter of words only: it is a matter of making intelligible a whole culture.” – Anthony Burgess