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”.
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