Celebrating International Translation Day

Celebrating International Translation Day

The 30th of September marks the 5th International Translation Day. On the 30th of September 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 71/288, which declared this date International Translation Day. The resolution was passed in recognition of “the role of professional translation in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development.”

International Translation Day is intended as an opportunity to recognise and pay tribute to the work of translators and language professionals and their role in facilitating peace, cooperation, understanding and dialogue between nations. 

In passing this resolution, the UN recognises the work of those who translate literature & scientific work, those who interpret for others and the work of professional translators of all types.

The 30th of September is, historically, the feast of St. Jerome, the patron saint of translators. St. Jerome came from Northern Italy and is best known for his work in translating the Bible into Latin from Greek manuscripts over the course of some 20 years. Alongside this work, he provided commentaries on his approach to translation and explained his choices.

To aid Jerome in his task, a wealthy Roman Aristocrat, Paula, founded a Monastery in Bethlehem to allow Jerome to immerse himself in Hebrew and complete his work.

Jerome’s work is notable not only for the endeavour involved but for his approach. He aimed for his translation to be accessible and understandable without being slavishly literal, as earlier translations had. He supplanted the Hebrew construction with an authentically Latin structure and eliminated poor word choices and broken syntax. By general consensus, his translation achieved exactly this.

To mark St Jerome’s legacy, the United Nations has, since 2005, invited its staff and students from partner universities to compete in the UN St. Jerome Translation Contest. This competition rewards the best translations in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish and German. It is intended to celebrate multilingualism and highlight the important role translators and other language professionals play in furthering the work of the United Nations.

The UN is necessarily one of the world’s largest employers of translation staff, employing hundreds of language professionals at their offices in New York, Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi, and their regional commissions in Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut, Geneva and Santiago. 

Indeed, the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights holds the Guinness World Record as the most translated document of all time, translated as it is into 500 languages across the globe.

In the UK, English PEN, the Human Rights organisation, hosts a programme of events, talks, workshops and networking opportunities for translators. This year, the event has expanded into a two-day programme in collaboration with the British Library. You can view their programme here: https://www.englishpen.org/international-translation-day/itd-2022-english-pen/ 

There is also a UK-wide programme of events which is being finalised and will be announced on the 9th of September, which you can view here https://www.englishpen.org/international-translation-day/itd-2022-nationwide-programme/ 

Here at IMD Translation, we partner with only the best linguists across all legal practice areas to assist professional service firms, law firms and solicitors in delivering excellence to their clients - because In Legal Matters, Language Matters. Get in touch to discuss any language requirements you may have at info@imdtranslation.co.uk