International Translation Day

International Translation Day

International Translation Day is celebrated every year on September 30, when the death of Jerome of Stridon, translator of the Bible and patron saint of translators, is commemorated.

The celebration has been promoted by the International Federation of Translators (FIT) since its creation in 1953.

In 1991, the FIT launched the idea of a recognized International Translation Day to show the solidarity of the community of translators around the world and to promote the translation profession in different countries.

This date is used to spread awareness about a profession that has become essential, both for reasons of globalization and for communication between cultures.

On May 24, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly, in resolution 71/288, decided to declare September 30 International Translation Day.

Who was Saint Jerome

Saint Jerome was born in Stridon, near Dalmatia, and died on September 30 in Bethlehem, Israel.

He learned Latin in Rome and then decided to settle in Bethlehem to perfect his command of the language to be able to translate the Holy Scriptures as entrusted to him by Pope Saint Damasus, for whom he worked as a secretary.

Saint Jerome was one of the first personalities to give importance to translation as a process. Later, these reflections were collected in prologues and treatises. In these, he expresses the value of translation as a cultural bridge, the need for training to be a translator, the need to know the source and target languages, and the importance of researching the subject. His ideas are the cornerstone of translation studies and serve as background for many generations of translators.

Saint Jerome has gone down in history for having translated most of the Bible into Latin from the New Testament manuscripts. He also translated part of the Hebrew gospel into Greek. His mother language was Illyrian, and he studied Latin. He also spoke Greek and Hebrew, which he learned by studying and traveling. Saint Jerome died on September 30, 420, in the vicinity of Bethlehem.

Saint Jerome Translation Contest

On patron saint’s day, the United Nations English Translation Service has been organizing the Saint Jerome Translation Contest since 2005, in which officials or former officials of the Organization, delegates of accredited representations, and students can participate. From partner universities. The contest rewards the best translations in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, and German. Furthermore, this language competition celebrates multilingualism and underlines the importance of the role of translators and other language professionals in multilateral diplomacy.

Translation: the oldest profession in the world, and a brief tour of its origins.

Some say that translation is the oldest profession in the world because since human beings from different places have felt the need to communicate, they have required help understanding each other.

It has undoubtedly been an essential job so that the great ideologies, religions, and governments can continue to grow over time.

The first known translation dates to 2,000 BC, called the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” and was translated into several Middle Eastern languages.

There are few -attested- documents that can be considered the “great-great-grandfathers” of modern translations, but one that no one disputes is the Rosetta Stone. Discovered in 1799, it dates from the time of Ptolemy V (196 BC) and is one meter high. The text is not much; they are a set of paragraphs that extols the figure of the pharaoh. But the exciting thing is that it is written in Egyptian hieroglyphs, demotic script, and Greek, being a full-fledged translation. But despite its notoriety, it is noteworthy that Ptolemy’s predecessor (Ptolemy Philadelphus) commissioned 72 scribes to translate the five books of Moses.

In another article, we will delve deeper into the historical evolution of translation; we consider that it deserves its own article, given its magnitude and extension.

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