30 September celebrates International Translation Day, a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all those professionals who play a crucial role in so many aspects of our lives, from our literature to international dialogue and cooperation, and so much more.
The 30 September marks the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator, who is considered the patron saint of translators. St Jerome (c. 342–347 – 30 September 420), also known as Jerome of Stridon, was a Catholic priest and is known for his translation of the Bible into Latin. St Jerome, whose native tongue was the Illyrian dialect, learned Latin in school and was fluent in Greek and Hebrew, translated the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament to Latin and also parts of the Hebrew Gospel into Greek. While his date of birth is not certain, it is known he died near Bethlehem on 30 September 420.
On 24 May 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 71/288 on the role of language professionals in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development, and declared 30 September, the day of St Jerome’s death, as International Translation Day.
Our language is a core part of our identity, from the way we communicate to the way to integrate into a society. We learn and educate via our language skills.
There are 7,117 known languages spoken by people around the world. The work of translators makes all of us a bit closer, as they bridge the gap between languages and help us understand each other.
If you read until now and you are still not convinced about the crucial importance of translators in our everyday lives, try to open your favourite streaming app, does “Money Heist”, “Squid Game” or “My Brilliant Friend” appear in your list? Those are all foreign shows that have been translated into English (and other languages).
Translation is indispensable. From the transposition of a literary work to professional translation (including interpretation), we all benefit from the efforts of translators around the world, and their work rightfully deserves to be celebrated.
From Saturday, 30th September to Saturday, 7th October, an exhibition presented by the students and staff at the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies of Heriot-Watt University in collaboration with Leith Public Library aims to celebrate translators and their work. The activities, which will take place at Leith Public Library (28-30 Ferry Road, Edinburgh EH6 4AE), include a conversation with Leri Price, an award-winning literary translator of contemporary Arabic fiction and a PhD student at the Intercultural Research Centre at Heriot-Watt University (11:00-12:00, Saturday 7th October) and a one-week exhibition featuring classic translated books from around the world that are part of the Edinburgh Library Collection, for both children and adults. The event also features a fun game, with an equally fun prize, if you Recommend a translated book in any language in 300 words and email it firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 pm, 16th October you could be one of the two lucky winners will each receive a £50 Waterstones voucher to further fuel your literary pursuits. Click here to learn more about this event.