International Translation Day 2019: Translation and Indigenous Languages

International Translation Day 2019: Translation And Indigenous Languages

Translation has been the most common tool for interconnecting the cultures throughout the world and this role became more prominent day by day. Translators, interpreters, and terminologists carry the message of peace and freedom across the borders, they reflect and interact realities of life, and unite the minds of the whole world. The translation is considered an important driver for globalization, and with respect to the fast pace of immigration in recent years, the demand for translation services is growing ever more in every developing and developed country. International Translation Day is an opportunity to celebrate and appreciate this salient act worldwide.



Since 1953, the International Federation of Translators (FIT) established September 30, the birthday of St. Jerome, the renowned translator of the bible in the fourth century, as the International Translation Day and promoted the event ever since, celebrating it with seminars, symposia, and special language services.  In an effort to cherish the paramount role of translators worldwide, FIT worked on turning it into an internationally recognized event since 1991, and finally, in a resolution passed in 2017, the United Nations officially declared it as the International Translation Day.

The International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters and the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters are among the key supporters, and eleven countries have signed this resolution so far.
As defined by The Oxford Companion to the English Language,  translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. Although many languages use one word for referring to this act of rendering one language into another, the English language makes a distinction between the two, by using “translation” for the written form and “interpretation” for the oral form.

While advancements in technology have facilitated the communication of meanings between languages in various settings, they have not been able to replace human translation. As highlighted by Day Translation Inc., professional translators, as language professionals play a multi-facet role in rendering the texts, and while being “creative thinkers” and linguistic and subject matter experts, do their best to offer highest quality and the most accurate translations, not only by expertise and experience, but also by doing research, checking terminology and applying style guides, and by being “culturally sensitive”.



The theme for 2018 International Translations Day was “Translation: Promoting Cultural Heritage in Changing Times” and by choosing “Translation and Indigenous Languages” as the theme for International Translation Day in 2019, FIT intended to pay tribute to the importance of indigenous languages in cultural diversity and highlight the role of translators/interpreters in transferring their overt and covert impact: “Indigenous languages embody the world’s cultural diversity. The complex systems of knowledge and culture developed and accumulated by and through indigenous languages over thousands of years are not at odds with the knowledge economies as we know them today. Indigenous languages provide intergenerational transfer of intangible cultural heritage and knowledge that will assist us in facing future global challenges. Interpreters of indigenous languages give native speakers a chance to fully participate in the cultural and political life of society and offer equality of access to basic services such as health care, education, information and justice in their mother tongue.”

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