I became a translator because I love languages.
But then I learned about interpreting and realised that I like communication more and that languages are, indeed, the building blocks of communication – although there is a lot more to communicating than just words.
So, I became an interpreter.
Translating is communicating. Interpreting is communicating live, right here and now, in 3D. Well, sometimes in 2D, too.
There is a lot being said about the future of translation and interpreting and about whether technology will ever replace human translators and interpreters. As I see it, communicating through languages -be them verbal or non-verbal- is an inherent human function. It stems from our need to connect, to collaborate, to create, to survive and this is that need that translators and interpreters fulfil. Basically, we help.
On the World Translation Day, we celebrate St Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin back in the 4th century. We also celebrate ourselves and all the hard-work we so proudly do.
The world is changing at an ever faster pace. Technology and trade are connecting remote corners of the world with increasing ease. Social media is giving all of us a voice and a say in our lives and those of others, in our jobs, and in current affairs.
It would be fair to say that the world is getting noisier, louder, and, even, more confusing.
Now more than ever, it is vital that we communicate, that world leaders sit down open to constructive dialogue, that messages are honoured and not distorted, that cultures know, understand, and respect each other, that bonds are cared for and nurtured, that the voiceless are given a voice, and that we listen to understand before we respond.
That is what translators and interpreters do. Every day.
We help entrepreneurs to open markets.
We help businesspeople to close deals.
We help doctors to treat their patients.
We help developers to file their patents.
We help diplomats to clarify misunderstandings.
We help trainers to certify safety standards.
We help government officials to secure investment for their countries.
We help legislators to draft, debate, and pass new laws.
We help judges to pass sentence.
We help defendants to say their piece.
We help nurses to bring comfort.
We help scientists to understand our universe.
We help filmmakers to tell their stories to wider audiences.
We help scholars to pass on their knowledge.
Happy International Translation Day!
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” ~Nelson Mandela
On 24 May 2017, the United Nations finally officially recognised our work. On that day, the General Assembly passed resolution 71/228 on the role of language professionals in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development, and declared 30 September as International Translation Day.
Today, they celebrate the World Translation Day for the first time. Read more about it here.
Photo by MCL – Because happiness is not a destination. It is a way of life.