International Translation Day 2012

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Over the past weekend, we observed one of the world’s most underrated holidays: International Translation Day! Every year on September 30th, translators and interpreters across the globe gather to celebrate this important profession.

Why September 30th? That’s the feast day of St. Jerome, considered to be the patron saint of translators. Born in 347 AD,  Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus (aka St. Jerome) was responsible for most of the Vulgate, the most important Latin translation of the Bible.  Jerome took his translations from the most respected Greek texts and from the Hebrew Tanakh. It was a monumental task.

According to Wikipedia,

“[Jerome]  acquired a knowledge of Hebrew by studying with a Jew who converted to Christianity, and took the unusual position (for that time) that the Hebrew, and not the Septuagint, was the inspired text of the Old Testament…The later resurgence of Hebrew studies within Christianity owes much to him.”

Today,no matter what your faith,  International Translation Day is a day to reflect on the importance of translation, with meetings and symposiums on translation-related topics taking place in cities across the globe. Each year, the International Federation of Translators (FIT) sets a theme for the celebrations. 2012’s theme was “Translation as Intercultural Communication,” focusing on how translation can help build bridges between different cultures. As FIT put it in a press release:

“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.”

Can you see why this is one of our favorite holidays?

Most excellent e-card via the Making Sense blog