Many people are unaware that September 30th is International Translation Day, but an even greater number would be surprised to learn that the holiday has been in existence since 1953.
Interpreters and translators have very important jobs. They are responsible for bringing people together and for sharing new and exciting information that was previously only accessible to members of a specific culture. Their work can impact relationships between different countries and even change the course of history. Interpreters and translators do incredible work, and they deserve to be recognized for it. This need spurred the creation of International Translation Day.
International Translation Day is to be celebrated on September 30th each year because that is the feast day of St. Jerome, the patron saint of translation.
There isn't a lot of glory in translation and the available awards are few, but it is nice to know that sainthood is always an option. St. Jerome studied the Hebrew bible and translated it into Latin. Martin Luther did not approve of Jerome's beliefs, but even he could not deny the volume of work that had been accomplished. Luther recognized his contribution by saying that St. Jerome had done more for translation than anyone had or ever would. Without his strong work ethic the bible would never have been translated as accurately, and in turn English bibles may have been changed completely.
St. Jerome may have done the most work on the bible, but he is not the only important translator. There have been many translators who have shaped the way the world understands classic literature, and this work continues today.The Odysseywas translated by Robert Fagles,Madame Bovaryby Linda Davis,Les Miserablesby Lee Fahnestock, andWar and Peacewas translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. Not to mention the currently popular novelThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which was translated by Steven T. Murray. This book was turned into a movie that did very well at the box office.
The work of translators and interpreters is far from finished. It's still being carried out silently and diligently every single day, often without thanks or recognition. International Translation Day draws attention to that work, and gives the world the opportunity to thank those who have given us so much. Happy International Translation Day to all of you!