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Happy International Translation Day

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Do you know that September 30th is International Translation Day? In fact, this special day has been celebrated since 1953, all thanks to the initiative of the International Federation of Translators (IFT).

Here’s some enlightening background on this special day.

September 30th is the feast day of St. Jerome, the patron saint of translation.

Yes! We have a patron saint!!

St Jerome was a scholar and theologian who lived in the 4th and 5th century. He studied the Hebrew bible and translated it into Latin. Despite the disapproval of Martin Luther on Jerome’s beliefs, there was no denying of the volume of work that had been accomplished. Without his work, the Bible will never be accessible to a wider audience!

Translators and interpreters play a very essential role in the translation process, which involves facilitating all types of communications. They help people with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds communicate and understand each other. Their work can impact relationships across different borders and even change the course of history.

Unfortunately, more than often, their work go very much unappreciated.

One of the main characteristics of a great translation is the fact that it does not sound or read like a translation, which means that a good translator hardly gets any praise. When a mistake slips in, feedback often comes only in the form of criticism – undermining every silent job which is well done and worth praising.

It is easy to undermine and undervalue the effort of translation especially when you are living in a global village where everyone can speak at least 2 languages or more. Those who are not aware of the amount of work and effort that go into producing a good translation simply will not pay for it. It doesn’t help that we have black sheep among us who will accept translation projects for next to nothing which end up supporting the notion that translation is “an easy job”.

Technology has not really helped elevate the status of translators and interpreters either. For years, it has been threatening to dethrone and replace human translators and interpreters. These cheap and sometimes free technologies offer many the opportunity to push down prices for translation and thus our professionalism further. In reality, while many may use these technologies for leisure, fun and for information, just how many will trust it totally to use it for official or life and death situations. Only fools. That being said, like many other industries, machine may take over us one day but not in the near future.

We know the effort required to produce a good translation. We know the amount of training required to be a good translator and interpreter. We know it takes passion to accomplish all that.

We are thankful to people who see the true value of translation and respect our trade enough to reject the commoditization of translation. Thank you.

We are also thankful to professional translators and interpreters around the world for doing their best to produce good work that we can be proud of. Thank you too.

We are thankful to clients who understand what goes into producing good translation work and treating us as professionals in the league of lawyers and doctors. Thank you for buying translation at a fair price.

Last but not least, we are thankful to our diligent translators and editors for their continuous commitment and co-operation 365 days a year.

Happy International Translation to all of you!

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