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.

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