Translation is an activity of great social value. It is precisely this role, as a bridge between cultures, that gives it its present importance. On the occasion of International Translation Day, we reflect on the role it plays in this ever more globalized world.
Translation and multilingualism: two realities destined to understand one another
There are currently more than two hundred nations in the world, many of them with their own language. According to the specialist magazine Ethnologue, there are more than 7,000 languages spread around the world, making the existence of language barriers in a highly globalized and heterogeneous society undeniable.
International translation appeared hundreds of years ago as a solution that enables people from different parts of the world to understand one another. We see this in all walks of daily life and facets of society; indeed, it is indispensable for economics, politics science and education.
Diplomacy is another area in which translation has proved crucial. The First World War showed that without a connecting bridge, it was impossible to establish free-flowing relations between countries. Translation and interpreting thus came to support each other mutually, a relationship that persists to this day.
More recently, digital transition and innovation have made linguistic mediation ever more necessary. The creation of a world without barriers is possible only with the exchange of information, one of the cornerstones of science. In this area, specialist translators work with magazines, articles and studies to facilitate dissemination.
September 30, International Translation Day
In 2017, the United Nations declared September 30 International Translation Day. In doing so, it sought to highlight “the work of professional linguists and the important part they play in bringing nations closer together.” This decision was taken by the General Assembly, which numbers 193 member states.
The date was chosen in homage to Saint Jerome, the patron saint of translators, having been the first to translate the Bible into Latin. Curiously, the Bible is the most translated work in history. According to specialists in the sector, it has been translated into more than 2,000 languages, playing a crucial role in the spread of Christianity around the world.
Nowadays, this profession is of immense value in ensuring greater understanding among peoples. The UN has six official languages (Spanish, English, French, Arabic, Russian and Chinese) although specialists employed by national delegations work in dozens of languages throughout the year to facilitate work within the organization.
In short, translation and interpreting will continue to play a vital role in society. Non-profit organizations such as Translators Without Borders deserve our deepest gratitude on this day. As sponsors, we at SeproTec wish to say how proud we are of their role in breaking down language barriers and making a better world.