September 30 is International Translation Day, a day dedicated to recognizing the valuable work of translators. Translation-related activities are organized all over the world, but do you know why this day is celebrated? Let's take a look at some history.
Some say that translation is the oldest profession in the world, because ever since human beings from different places have felt the need to communicate, they have needed help to understand each other. However, we are often unaware of the fundamental role played by translators, which no machine will ever be able to replace. That is why they deserve a day of their own!
International Translation Day has been celebrated since 1991 on the initiative of the International Federation of Translators (FIT). This organization brings together 100 associations representing more than 80,000 translators from 55 countries and its mission is to promote professionalism and improve the working conditions of translators. To celebrate this day, FIT chose September 30, which is the day of the death of St. Jerome of Stridon, considered the patron saint of translators.
Jerome of Stridon was a scholar who lived in 5th century Rome and devoted much of his life to translating the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin. This allowed the Romans to understand the Holy Scriptures, because St. Jerome translated them into the "vulgar" language, that is, the Latin spoken by the people. That is why his translation of the Bible is known as the "Vulgate" and was the official text of the Catholic Church until 1979, when a new revised version was approved. Now that is a work that left its mark! Apart from his work as a translator, Jerome of Stridon became famous for fleeing the luxury of the church in Rome and spending the last 35 years of his life in a cave in Bethlehem, near where Jesus was born. He died on 30 September 420, at the age of 80, a very advanced age for the time. Of course, there are many other famous translators. For example, Martin Luther, the Germanic friar who, continuing the work of St. Jerome, translated the Bible into German so that the people could read it directly without depending on the priests (at that time the Bible only existed in Latin, in the "Vulgate" version translated by St. Jerome); the British poet Alexander Pope, known for his translations of Homer's texts; or Sacajawea, the Native American who guided the explorers Lewis and Clark in their exploration of the northern United States and who is considered one of the most famous interpreters in modern history. But none of them have achieved the recognition of Jerome of Stridon, which is why International Translation Day is celebrated on September 30.
How is International Translation Day celebrated?
Every year, the International Federation of Translators chooses a slogan and a poster for International Translation Day, and invites all those who wish to celebrate this day through all kinds of activities.Theme 2021: United in Translation
Each year, a theme is chosen for World Translation Day and a competition is held to design the posters and campaign materials.
After a year in which COVID set the world apart, the International Translation Day theme for 2021 is: "United in Translation". Themes from previous years
2020: Finding the words for a world in crisis
In 2020 with the arrival of COVID, translators played a crucial role in getting the news to all parts of the globe. The profession kept up with the times to ensure that serious and clear news reached everyone, overcoming language barriers. That is why the motto for 2020 was: "Finding the words for a world in crisis."
2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages
In 2019, the International Day of Translation aimed to pay tribute to indigenous languages around the world and to call attention to the importance of not letting these languages die out along with their cultural legacy, customs and values.
According to UNESCO data, most of the native languages of indigenous peoples are in danger of extinction, mainly due to the policies that various states have adopted in this regard, giving greater importance to economic development projects to the detriment of the culture of these peoples and especially the environment that surrounds them.
Every time a tree is cut down in the areas where these tribes reside, every time a dam is built or permits are approved for the exploitation of any mineral, it is not only the rights of these people that are being sullied, but also their customs, their language and their culture in general.
Indigenous languages have links with the environment that surrounds them, reproducing in many cases the sound of animals, the weather and even the wind. If the environment where these people live is affected, it is also destroying their perception of the environment and therefore their indigenous language.
How can you celebrate International Translation Day?
Just think of the work that translation professionals do so that we can all be united and informed about what is happening in the world. Happy International Translation Day!