Written by Tiina Tuominen
Today is a day of celebration and recognition for translators and interpreters all over the world. We celebrate International Translation Day every year on 30 September, on the feast day of St Jerome. St Jerome is the patron saint of translators, and he is best known for his Latin translation of the Bible, known as the Vulgate. International Translation Day has also been officially recognised by the UN since 2017.
The day is celebrated by local translators’ and interpreters’ associations, as well as the International Federation of Translators, FIT. FIT organizes an ITD poster competition each year, and you can see this year’s winner here. FIT also chooses a global theme for each ITD. This year’s theme is “A World without Barriers: The Role of Language Professionals in Building Culture, Understanding and lasting Peace.” Indeed, translators and interpreters play a crucial role in tearing down barriers and increasing global understanding. Audiovisual translators are naturally an important part of the translation community, as they tackle barriers in media, entertainment and culture. In recent years, it has been wonderful to see more and more films and tv shows from different countries being distributed internationally, enjoyed by large global audiences, and awarded for their quality. None of this would have happened without the work of audiovisual translators. The global cultural flows keep us entertained but also allow us to understand each other better and see the world from different perspectives. In uncertain times, audiovisual translation can also be crucial in delivering information and breaking news, and ensuring that people not only read what is happening around the world but can see and hear events for themselves, in news and current affairs broadcasts translated into their own language.
International Translation Day is also an opportunity to reiterate how important it is to ensure appropriate working conditions, so that translators and interpreters can do their barrier-breaking work to the highest possible standard. Building culture, understanding and peace is an enormous responsibility, and it requires support from other stakeholders involved in those processes. It also requires fair pay, stability and suitable tools. I hope that SubComm can do its part to bring audiovisual translators, academics and other interested parties together to address these issues and find new ways of breaking barriers in the field of audiovisual translation. We have been making some exciting progress with SubComm recently, and we have all kinds of plans for the near future. We really enjoyed our first virtual Subtitle Chat a few weeks ago, and we will be organising another one on 21 October. More info on that soon! Hannah also wrote a nice piece about SubComm in the bulletin of the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association, and we hope that will reach lots of Irish subtitlers. We are going to be talking about SubComm at the upcoming Languages & The Media Conference in Berlin. If any of you will be there, we’d love to meet you in person! So there are lots of exciting SubComm news and events to look forward to, and we hope you will join us wherever you can. We will keep you posted about all the new developments here, on LinkedIn and on Twitter (@sub_comm).
Finally, this International Translation Day holds particular significance for me personally. Last June, I was elected to the FIT Council for a three-year term, so this is my first ITD as a FIT representative. It was a great honour to be elected, and I am thrilled to be working with great colleagues from around the world to support translators and interpreters, and their associations, in their important work. I hope that I will be able to represent audiovisual translators in particular in FIT’s work, and to highlight the invaluable and challenging work you do. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but today is a day of well-deserved celebration.