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United Nations reinforce the meaning of International Translation Day

Written by Ellen Göppl

Translation into English by Charley Hinds

Time for the language industry to celebrate: at the General Assembly on 24th May, the United Nations officially declared 30th September as International Translation Day. For translators and interpreters, who mainly work behind the scenes, this is a well-deserved recognition of their highly-skilled services which have never been more valuable than in the current age of machine translation and Google Translate. It is not only international companies which are dependent on language services to stay ahead of the competition. To keep war, famine and terror attacks at bay, it is crucial that politicians with different native languages can communicate diplomatically with one another – and every single word must be just right, also in translation. Andrei Dapkiunas, Permanent Representative of Belarus to the UN, commented on this aspect of translation: “Language plays an underappreciated role in human society, despite the fact that deeper respect for culture and language could help to forge greater unity and build bridges among civilizations and cultures.” He emphasized that the meaning and importance of Translation Day is broader and deeper than showing respect for a profession closely linked to diplomacy and international affairs. It is first and foremost about recognising the unsung heroes of the linguistic profession.

However, International Translation Day (Internationaler Übersetzertag, Journée mondiale de la traduction) is not an entirely new invention: it was founded back in 1954 by the Fédération internationale des traducteurs (FIT) and is celebrated around the world, particularly among translation and interpreting associations.

Source: Press release from the United Nations: https://www.un.org/press/en/2017/ga11914.doc.htm

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