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International Translation Day

Who knew there was an entire day dedicated to international translation?

Of course, we did!

According to the United Nations, “International Translation Day is meant as an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of language professionals, which plays an important role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to development and strengthening world peace and security”.

Translation is what allows us to communicate across languages and cultures, so of course it is an incredibly important industry worldwide.

Officially declared a holiday by the U.N. just last year, the holiday actually dates as far back as 1953, when September 30 was chosen to represent translation because it is also the feast of St. Jerome. St. Jerome was known for translating the Bible, and is the patron saint of all translators. A priest from the north of Italy, St. Jerome translated the Bible into Latin from the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, together with translating parts of the Hebrew Gospel into Greek. St. Jerome’s native tongue was Illyrian, but he studied Latin in School and was fluent in Greek and Hebrew. I know I certainly wish I could speak and translate across as many ancient languages as he could!

How is International Translation Day celebrated? One way in which the United Nations celebrates is through the St. Jerome Translation Contest. Started in 2005 by the UN’s English Translation Service, the contest celebrates multilingualism within the organization, and ‘’highlights the important roles of translators and other language professionals in multilateral diplomacy in general, and multilateral diplomacy at the United Nations in particular.’’

The United Nations isn’t the only international organization that is excited about this upcoming Sunday. The International Federation of Translators, known as the voice of associations of translators, interpreters and terminologists around the world, is also promoting the holiday.

How can you celebrate International Translation Day? While it seems like a strange thing to throw a party for, why not go for it? Celebrate at your favorite bar or café and invite friends from all over the world. Encourage your guests to speak as many different languages as possible, with interactive games and trivia. Our side and social media posts should give you lots of ideas for interesting bits of language news or interesting pieces of information to quiz people with.

Watch your favorite movie in another language, or go to the cinema to see a new foreign film in its original language. Watch something in a language with an alphabet different than yours. Celebrate the diversity in language that is on this planet, and truly take a moment to appreciate the hard work that translators and interpreters do in order to facilitate cultural communication across the world.

How will you be spending International Translation Day? We’d love to hear your ideas or stories about how translation has improved your business reach or your life!