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Lingo24’s Head of Vendor Management, Dana Stoica, discusses the role language professionals play in bringing society together, facilitating communication, and fostering peace for International Translation Day 2021.
It’s International Translation Day, and this year it recognises the importance of translation in uniting a world after more than a year of Covid-19 keeping us apart.
What is International Translation Day?
International Translation Day was declared an annual United Nations Observance Day in 2017. It’s celebrated on the 30th September, to coincide with the feast of St Jerome, who is considered the patron saint of translators; he worked to first translate the Bible from Latin into Greek.
The importance of language professionals in today’s world
This past year has highlighted the crucial role linguists, translators and interpreters play in breaking down language barriers to make the world a smaller, and hopefully better, place.
The recent magnifying glass on the current political crisis in Afghanistan illuminated the role of, and threats to, interpreters and translators on the ground. Their invaluable work for the armed forces, journalists and international organisations put them under immediate threat from the new regime.
Another great example is the almost overnight expansion of content as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic showed how vital translation is in sharing information. Health organisations needed to disseminate information quickly and at scale in multiple languages.
Linguists can go through tremendous amounts of stress, sometimes putting their lives at risk, to ensure people can access important, potentially life-saving, information in their own language. Translators are an indispensable resource in today’s world.
Translators are an indispensable resource in today’s world.
Localizing the digital space – a necessity
Globalisation, the expansion of the Internet, and – more recently – the Covid-19 pandemic have dissolved borders and brought cultures together in the digital space. This digital space used to be dominated by the English language, but 2020 saw a massive shift.
Globalisation, the expansion of the Internet, and – more recently – Covid-19 have dissolved borders and brought cultures together in the digital space.
Analysts McKinsey & Company estimate that digital adoption and digitisation of customer interactions across most aspects of the business world has been accelerated by seven to ten years.
With this rapid-fire adoption of tools and technology, the next step had to be translation. After all, if technology is not addressing the end-user in a language they know or their native language, it fails its purpose.
If technology is not addressing the end-user in a language they know or their native language, it fails its purpose.
To limit face-to-face interactions (to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections) countries have been motivated to move online. Today, we see countries that used to operate in old-fashioned ways (face-to-face and paper forms) moving to digital (online applications and form submission). My home country, Romania, is among them.
For example, in Romania you can now make online appointments to change documents – like IDs, passports and car registrations – where in the past you had to do this in person. The shift started before the pandemic, but it has accelerated in the past year due to the pressing need.
So, language in the digital space has changed, to reflect the adoption of digital solutions by different countries.
Making key information accessible in the local language
As researchers were finding out more about Covid-19 and its transmission, it was essential to disseminate risks and safety tips into as many languages as possible. This global crisis united all of us in the shared challenge we’re facing, and communication and translation have become vital to overcoming it.
This global crisis united all of us in the shared challenge we’re facing, and communication and translation have become vital to overcoming it.
In my role as Vendor Manager, I see translators going above and beyond every day. From working round the clock to help facilitate communication across global enterprises, and diving into detail to effectively communicate text for a government organisation, to providing the most vulnerable people in society access to services in their native language.
The work of translators, and language professionals, in enabling communication and connecting society, is invaluable, and I’m proud to be playing my part in it, however small.