International Translation Day 2012: Translation as Intercultural Communication

Today, we celebrate International Translation Day honouring translators and the work of translation on the feast of St Jerome, who is considered the patron saint of this profession. This event was initially promoted by the International Federation of Translators (FIT) as early as 1953 before its worldwide appeal gave rise to the 30th September as International Translation Day in 1991.

The theme for this year’s International Translation Day was revealed in an official communiqué (pdf) by FIT:

Indeed, one of the most important  activities  that  help  people  of  diverse  ethnic  origins  and  different  political  and  cultural backgrounds  to communicate  is  translation,  a  distinctive  feature  of  which  is  the  crossing  of  the  boundaries between  Self    and  the  linguistic  and  cultural  Other.  In  other  words,  translation,  as  intercultural communication, is a means of transporting the ways of life, customs, attitudes, mindsets and values of one particular culture across time and space to another culture or other cultures.

Facilitated by the major changes and shifts in the global economy, culture and information technology in the last three  decades,  we  now  have  a  radically  altered  linguistic,  socio-political  and  cultural  context  for intercultural communication. 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.

As  brokers  of  peace  and  mutual  understanding,  FIT  members  will,  in  various  ways  and  through different channels, celebrate International Translation Day (ITD) 2012  with the  theme of  “Translation as Intercultural Communication”.

(emphasis mine)

This is an occasion to salute the remarkable work accomplished by translators in Africa and around the world, which too often goes unacknowledged. A series of conferences and other events have been taking place over the weekend in London, Dublin, Thessaloniki, Manila, Yaounde, Cape Town,  Johannesburg…and several other cities!

Here is to translators:

I wish to conclude with a bit of fun: some excerpts from 100 facts about translation :

35. There is no such thing as the “perfect translation”.

36. Nabokov hated translation and tried once to translate one of his own novels into English, with hilarious results (he did it word-for-word).

37. Goethe said that translation is the most noble profession.


66. There is no such thing as an ugly language.

Happy International Translation Day to everyone!

Illustration ‘I ❤ Translation’ by Danielys Pulve


One thought on “International Translation Day 2012: Translation as Intercultural Communication

  1. Online PR News – 06-October-2012 –On 30 September ITD (International Translation Day) – widely known year after year for the feast – Saint Jerome – the Holy Bible translator who’s thought to be the patron of linguists. The get-togethers are advertised by the International Federation of Translators from the time it was established in 1953. FIT (the International Federation of Translators) released the thought of an officially recognized International Translation Day to show solidarity in the world-wide language translation community in order to market the translation line of work in different countries (not necessarily only in Christian ones) in 1991. It is really a chance to indicate self confidence in an industry that is increasingly becoming crucial in the time of ranking up globalization.

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s