Translation is sometimes referred to as the “world’s second oldest profession”. From Ancient Egypt to the present day, translators and interpreters have played a vital role in building relationships between communities and facilitating trade. And now it’s more important than ever in an increasingly globalised world.
On Sunday (September 30th) people around the world will celebrate International Translation Day. Organised by the International Federation of Translators (FIT), this is its 22nd year. The aim is to raise the profile of translators and interpreters, and remind people of the importance of cross-cultural communication.
With major changes in the global economy, and information technology in recent years, international communication is more important than ever. According to the FIT: “If “to be or not to be … global” is hardly a question for people and nations in the contemporary era, then “to live or not to live … in translation” is no longer an option but a reality of our everyday life.”
The day was first celebrated in 1981, and coincides with the feast day of St Jerome, a fourth century theologian who translated the New Testament from Greek into Latin. He’s the patron saint of translators – as well as librarians and encyclopedists! But the day isn’t restricted to Christian countries, and now includes events and festivities around the world.
In London, several British literary organisations are hosting a symposium on Friday 5th October. They are bringing together translators, students, publishers, booksellers, librarians, bloggers and reviewers to debate significant issues and developments within the sector. They’ll discuss the best ways to get started in translation, and how strong the market is for translated literature.
In Austria, Austrian Interpreters’ and Translators’ Association Universitas are taking “translation quality” as this year’s theme. Presntations the House of the European Union in Vienna will look at quality issues in literary translation.
The Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association (ITIA) will mark International Translation Day with a special evening event on 29 September 2012, to celebrate the achievements of Frank Wynne, widely acclaimed for his English translations of French works by authors such as Frédéric Beigbeder, Ahmahou Kourouma and Claude Lanzman.
And if you’re looking for more multilingual events, the EU celebrated the European Day of Languages (EDL) on 26 September – which is also Lingo24’s birthday! They’re holding more celebrations over the next couple of weeks.