International Translation Day??? Bet you didn’t even know there was such a thing.

In a world that celebrates “Name Your Car Day” (October 2nd), “World Nutella Day” (February 5th), “Proof Reading Day” (March 8th – in fact all translators should celebrate this too) among many others, a day for translators is much deserved.

September 30th has been celebrated as the International Translation Day since 1953 in honor of St. Jerome, the patron saint of translators. St. Jerome is best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin and his commentaries on the Gospel of the Hebrews.

You might ask; “Is translation really that important a task to dedicate a special day to translators?” – glad you asked…

Without translators, we would have missed out on great many things, notably:

  • Hieroglyphics: Up until the discovery of Rosetta Stone, currently on display at the British Museum in London, archaeologists could not read the ancient writing of Egypt, the hieroglyphics. About 200 years ago, the Rosetta stone was found in ancient Egypt, and more important than what was written on it was the fact that it was written in 3 languages. The same story was written in Greek, in Demotic script, and again in hieroglyphics. Scientists could read Greek. They could even read Demotic script. And now they could read hieroglyphics! All thanks to some translators many years ago.
  • Global Commerce: Translation allows global commerce. This sounds obvious but if you have never heard the numbers they might surprise you. The industries of the world collectively transact to the tune of approximately $70 trillion dollars annually. Comparatively, the global e-commerce is at $1.2 trillion dollars annually and also needs the work of translators to run. In order to reach 90% of the most economically active internet users globally, content needs to be translated into at least 13 languages. Currently only 0.00000067% of all online content created daily is being translated (even into 1 other language).
  • Modern Medicine: The roots of modern medicine does not belong to a single society, rather it is a collection of studies and findings that originated from different countries and cultures. Translation is what aided in further advances to be made on the findings of ancient Chinese scholars (the first Chinese medical manuscripts were imported during the reign of emperor Ojin (270 – 310)). Another very important task accomplished by the translation community is interpretation and especially medical interpreters improve clinical care for patients in countries around the world and save lives.

Today is the day to honor the whole translator community and let them know we are grateful for their tireless efforts. At Link Translations, we have the privilege to work with over 6,200 translators around the world.

Of course we have come a long way from the times of St. Jerome as depicted in this painting of Caravaggio of the famous translator. We have word processing software, tons of online dictionaries, tools that allow us to communicate with other translators and translation memory software that helps (a bit). But the work of translating is still a herculean task that demands a lot of effort and deserves respect.

From all of the Link Translations family a Happy International Translation Day to us all.

PS. We realize that the list above for translator contributions to civilization is very short. We invite all our translators to expand this list by leaving comments under this post.