Language focus | 30.09.2010

International Translation Day 2010

heart_valLanguages are certainly in the air this month! First there was the European Day of Languages, and on Thursday, it’s International Translation Day. The Translation People take a look at some of the events organised to celebrate the industry we all feel so passionately about.

The patron saint of translators is St Jerome, who is accredited with writing the ‘first Latin translation of the Bible’ and many critical translation commentaries. His saint’s day is celebrated on 30 September – hence Thursday’s significance to translator’s across the globe. One of the major organisations involved in these annual celebrations is the International Federation of Translators (FIT), whose remit around this event is to urge ‘translators from all horizons to come together on 30 September to promote the profession by reaching out to fellow translators, interpreters, sister associations, and users of translation services’. FIT have supported the day since its inception in the 1950s, but called for its official recognition in 1991 and carry out work in collaboration with United Nations agency UNESCO to raise the profile of translators and language professionals worldwide. Every year, thousands of international activities and awareness-raising campaigns take place on 30 September that all serve to bring together language professionals and improve the sector’s visibility on the world stage.

In Canada, the University of Alberta have organized the St Jerome’s Day Conference: A Celebration of Translation, where everybody is welcome for lively debates and discussions about the translation industry. The keynote speaker is David Homel (writer, film maker and translator) whose talk is entitled ‘I can do better than that: What Translation Teaches About Writing and Vice Versa. There will also be a series translation readings held on October 1.

In London, the Free Word Centre, in collaboration with English PEN and other language organisations, are hosting a seminar day – and it certainly looks set to be a huge success! Not only can translators receive practical advice about issues such as training and how to market yourself successfully, there will also be talks and discussions dealing with contemporary issues for language professionals. This year’s program includes topics such as: Languages in Education, that addresses the promotion of MFLs in schools in a bid to increase the waning uptake of languages; Community languages – the UK is rich in these languages, yet many native speakers are unaware that they can be used in a professional capacity and therefore an awareness-raising campaign is necessary in this respect; Ongoing professional development, training and advice on starting out will be offered; and there will be a Future of Funding talk for the translation industry and how it is important to foster links with other organisations.

And for some serious fun, there’s the Live Translation Slam where two translators ‘go head-to-head, independently translating a Spanish text before coming together to debate their differences in front of a live audience’.

Online events include the virtual conference. There are already over 9,500 participants and the twelve-hour event offers panel discussions, presentations, training advice and networking opportunities. Topics include project management and successful marketing practices; Maximizing the use of CAT tools such as Trados and memoQ along with practical tips; QA procedures; talks on specific sectors such as medical, legal, financial etc, and an Arabic virtual powwow. And if this wasn’t enough – virtual coffee mornings before some events to meet fellow participants and to network.

With something for everybody, the day looks set to be a fantastic success and here at The Translation People, we’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Translator’s Day 2010!

Sources:;;; University of Alberta, Canada;

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