International Translation Day - September 30

International Translation Day - September 30


Translation may be one of the older professions, but translators’ visibility to the public at large has fluctuated over the centuries, and the skills required are not always appreciated. No wonder, perhaps, since everyone speaks one language, and many people more than one, simply because of who they are, and how and where they have grown up. So why should translating from one language to another be any big deal?

FIT (Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs) is the UNESCO body representing the world’s translators. It was set up in 1953, and ever since then it has promoted the celebration on 30 September each year of St Jerome’s Day as International Translation Day, officially launching the concept in 1991, with the aim of enhancing the status of translators, and awareness of the important work they do.

St Jerome is the patron saint of translators, having translated the Bible into Latin for the early Christian church, but the event is a truly international one, certainly not limited to Christian countries alone. It is celebrated in many different ways around the world, particularly by translators’ associations.

A New Zealander, Dr Henry Liu, has just been elected Chairman of FIT, so 2014 is a great year for New Zealand to get involved in celebrating St Jerome’s day. And thanks to Weltlesebühne, a literary translation foundation in Germany, and the Goethe Institut in Wellington New Zealand, we will be able to do just that. Watch this space!