Happy Translation Day!

International Translation Day

Translators perform an amazing feat. Every day, talented individuals are using an immense amount of brain power to craft our messages in a way that lets the world read it. Having worked alongside translators for some time now, I get the privilege of watching this transformation of words take place. It is truly remarkable.

On September 30th, we celebrate International Translation Day. It is one day, and they deserve many, where we can say “Thank You” for helping us overcome communication barriers.

Why September 30th?

International Translation Day is celebrated on September 30th because that is the feast day of St. Jerome. St. Jerome, born in 347, was a religious scholar who provided one of the original translations of the bible. He is the patron Saint of translators so it only makes sense to celebrate translators on this day.

What Makes Translators so Special?

Translators take text written in one language (the source language) and transform it into a second language (the target language). This isn’t a simple matter of knowing two languages. Translators are experts in two or more languages. There is a rule known as the 10 000 rule which states that to master something you need to spend 10 000 hours doing that activity. But for translators, they spend a lifetime perfecting their craft. They are life-long learners.

Beyond knowing two languages, translators are often technology experts. They use sophisticated language tools daily. These “computer-aided translation” tools, known as cat tools, help translators keep terminology consistent and recognize repetitive and previously translated text. In addition, translation project management tools help guide a team of language experts through the translation process. Knowing what to do at each step is critical to the success of the project.

How to Say Thank You to Translators

Well, I suppose you can thank them in their language of choice. But, if you don’t personally know a translator, you can spend some time appreciating the work that they do. If you speak more than one language, read a translated copy of a book you love. Appreciate the amount of work that has gone into the masterpiece that is being revealed to you in a whole new light.

Examples of beautifully translated materials are everywhere, if you look. From signs to Shakespeare, the beauty of translation is all around us.

Thank you to all those who make this possible.

This Week in Translations – Volume 1

Stories From September 1 to 7, 2013

7 myths and misconceptions in language translation for business

“Translation of your business messages into foreign languages may seem easy with the internet at your fingertips and bilingual friends on call. However, casual translations often result in messages translated quite literally, instead of rephrasing them to make them more readable, and won’t check things like grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary and expressions that might be local to a particular market.”

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How are startups using translation tools?

“Specifically in the Arab world, it’s critical to pay attention to linguistic diversity, as a citizen or as a business. When startups venture into content, they must pay attention to language barriers and local nuances in order to make their services accessible to as many people as possible. English may be widely used, but a majority of the population prefers their native language.”

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Lost in translation: Crime and language barriers

“Sheriff Elks says oftentimes immigrant workers in the East can become easy targets, as criminals assume they won’t call 911 for fear of deportation. However, he insists his deputies are willing to help anyone, so he encourages them to report any criminal activity.”

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How Do You Say …? For Some Words, There’s No Easy Translation

“Just as good writing demands brevity, so, too, does spoken language. Sentences and phrases get whittled down over time. One result: single words that are packed with meaning, words that are so succinct and detailed in what they connote in one language that they may have no corresponding word in another language.”

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China International Translation Contest launched in Beijing

“CITC 2013 is aimed at encouraging the initiative and creativeness in the transmission of Chinese culture to the world, as well as at presenting Chinese culture to the world, extending the international influence of Chinese culture, and promoting cultural prosperity of the whole world. ”

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New Persian translation of “Les Miserables” to hit Iranian bookstores soon

“Although the first translation is good, it is not void of mistakes and it needed to be retranslated into Persian more precisely and with a better and smoother text,” Parsayar said.”

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