International Translation Day – from Jerome to Geronimo!

Saint_Jerome_(_Hieronymus_)Unless you work in the translation/interpretation industry, it’s unlikely that you will have heard of International Translation Day.  And if you miss it today (September 30th), you’ll  have to wait another year before it comes round again.

It’s also probable, again unless you work in the industry (and again even if you do!) that you’ll know why today is the day.  The reason is very simple: it’s the Feast of St Jerome, the Patron Saints of Translators (whose statue in Bethlehem is shown here).

But why is St Jerome the Patron Saint of our business?  It is quite simple really: he was the man who translated the Bible into Latin (from its original Hebrew and Greek), beginning the task in AD 382 and completing it in AD 405. This is the translation that became known as the Vulgate.

There is a full biography of him on Wikipedia, including the fascinating story (which I didn’t know  until I read it there) that  in the Apache wars with the Americans and Mexicans, the famous Apache leader, known as “Goyahkla” (One Who Yawns) became known as Geronimo (Spanish for Jerome), probably because of the way he fought in battle against Mexican soldiers who frantically called upon St. Jerome for help.