Happy International Translation Day

There’s a party going on in the Global Connects office because it’s International Translation Day! Today, we would like to pay tribute to all our translation professionals at Global Connects, who deserve the recognition for their vital work.

The concept of ITD is fairly new. In May 2017, The United Nations declared this special day to recognise the important role of language professionals in:

  • bringing nations together
  • facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation
  • contributing to development
  • strengthening world peace and security.

The date, 30th of September, was chosen especially as it is the feast day of St. Jerome; the Bible translator who is considered the patron saint of translators.

This year’s theme is United in Translation – which is very fitting after more than year of being told to keep apart. So, let’s take a look at how translation has been bringing us together as a society over the years:

Scientific Progress

While it is true that many scientists these days speak English, this is not always the case! As far back as Ancient Greek times, the findings of Plato and Aristotle were translated to achieve international recognition for thousands of years. This past year, especially, we have relied on scientifically minded linguists to transfer knowledge across borders and language barriers. Scientists around the globe have been working tirelessly to produce a vaccine – and the translators help them communicate and collaborate together. A great example of strengthening world peace and security!

Literary Translation

As well as having excellent language skills, literary translators need to have the same if not higher level of creativity and writing skills as the original authors. We have these talented multi-lingual writers to thank for introducing us to the works of Leo Tolstoy, Victor Hugo and Gabriel García Marquez. The wildly popular Harry Potter series, at time of writing, is available in 88 languages, with recent translations into Maori, Hawaiian and Scots dialect. We have our skilful translators to thank for fulfilling Professor McGonagall’s prophecy that “every child in our world will know his name!”.

Film & TV subtitling

The translation of dialogue in TV and Film has allowed non-English speakers around the world to enjoy Hollywood blockbusters and classic sitcoms. Equally, many foreign language films have found huge success in the UK and USA, like Academy Award-winning Parasite (in Korean) and Life is Beautiful (Italian). Much like our literary translators, Film and TV subtitlers must take into account the tone of language and expectations of the new audience: sometimes there are jokes that just don’t make sense in another language. That means it’s the job of the witty and ingenious translator to create new jokes. To see examples of a translator’s great sense of humour, check out one of our earlier blogs here!

So today, let’s all raise our coffee cups in appreciation of our hard-working and talented translators, without whom, we’d all be much less informed … and cultured 😉

Mairi Maclean, Junior Project Manager, Global Connects