St. Jerome was a Catholic priest, theologian and historian, He is best known for his translation of most of the Bible into Latin. He learnt Latin in school and from his studies and travels was fluent in Greek and Hebrew. His astonishing body of work means he is considered the patron saint of translators, librarians and encyclopaedists. September 30th celebrates his feast – and thus the work of translators.
In 1991 the International Federation of Translators launched the idea of an officially recognised International Translation Day to promote our profession. From 2005, the United Nations invited its staff and students from select partner universities to compete in the UN St. Jerome Translation Contest. This led to The United Nations General Assembly passing on May 24, 2017, a resolution declaring September 30 as International Translation Day.
The contest rewards the best translations in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish and German.
“So many people consider their work a daily punishment. Whereas I love my work as a translator. Translation is a journey over a sea from one shore to the other. Sometimes I think of myself as a smuggler: I cross the frontier of language with my booty of words, ideas, images, and metaphors.”
― Amara Lakhous, Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio
The word ‘translation’ comes from the Latin for ‘bearing across’. Translators play a central role in ‘bearing across’ words and ideas across linguistic and national borders. Without translators UK readers would not have access to exceptional creative writing published first in other languages. We would not have Proust, Garcia Marquez, Stieg Larsson, Goethe, Chekhov, Camus – the list goes on.
To all our hard-working translators here at Accutranslate – Happy International Translation Day.