Happy International Translation Day 2015!
with Lisa Carter, Intralingo Inc., and 14 guest authors

Happy International Translation Day! Every September 30, translators and interpreters across the globe celebrate their vital, rewarding, changing, challenging work. This year, the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs (FIT) has placed the emphasis on ‘change’–2015’s theme is “The Changing Face of Translation and Interpreting.”

What does this theme mean to you? We asked some of our top Spotlight and Guest Post contributors what International Translation Day and 2015’s theme means to them, and here’s what they told us:

Carolyn Yohn (French-English, Hungarian-English):
“Translation and interpreting are becoming increasingly important services for clients around the world—even ones like the United States, with its culture of ‘English only’ business and education. Forty-five percent of Californians speak a language other than English at home! Translators and interpreters are, as we always have been, ready and willing to help: Communicating across language barriers is never just a job, it’s a calling.”

Laura Christensen (French-English):
“For me the changing face of translation means I can work with paper and colored pencils on a Renaissance-inspired writing slope, immersing myself in Early Modern fairy tales and Romantic folklore, and not have to worry about waiting around for someone else to put their stamp of approval on my interests.”

Peter McCambridge (French-English):
“Changing faces in translation is close to my heart this year. I’ve just started to run QC Fiction, a new imprint of Quebec literature in translation in Montreal. Our focus is on the new generation of Quebec writers, brought to you by a new generation of young translators. ”

Stacy McKenna (Spanish-English):
“International Translation Day: brought to you by the invisible, hard working people who bring you to new cultures on the back of your native language for the price of a paperback.”

Anita Sagestegui (French-English, Spanish-English):
“…We translators, both young and old, established or beginner, should make use of our 21st century technology to build a community, to forge partnerships and mentorships, and to collaborate on ways to support translation of works that we love, but that may not be translated because they do not promise commercial success.”

John Woodsworth (Russian-English):
“It is my impression that translators are realizing more and more that translation involves far more than words–the context (the who, what, where, when and why of the original writing) must also inform the translation.”

Lola Rogers (Finnish-English):
“I’ve seen remarkable growth in interest in Finnish literature among English-language publishers in recent years. There is more creatively rewarding work available to me than ever before. But its financial rewards, as in so many occupations, haven’t seen a corresponding rise.”

Zack Rogow (French-English):
“As climate chaos and the refugee crisis remind us that all corners of the world are connected, translation affords important opportunities for cultures to understand and learn from one another rather than enter into conflict. My own interests as a translator are increasingly moving in the direction of combining translation with other arts… I’m very excited that the play I cowrote with Lorri Holt on the French writer Colette (based on a book of translations) will have its first performance at The Marsh in San Francisco on October 21, 2015.”

Lucina Schell (Spanish-English):
“As a theme, ‘The Changing Face of Translation and Interpreting’ seems to have in mind the ways in which new technology has changed the profession, but for literary translators, I think these innovations have been less significant… For literary translators, I think this theme highlights the fact that our faces are, slowly but surely, through the tireless advocacy of many, becoming more visible, along with our names on book covers, presses devoted entirely to literary translation, and articles in mainstream media about what we do.

Sue Burke (Spanish-English):
“Translation and interpreting form a key part of communications, and the world is in a communications revolution. Never before have we been able to communicate as easily and directly with anyone else anywhere in the world. With this new awareness of each other, the need to cross language barriers will grow, and translators and interpreters will be more essential than ever.”

Martha Kosir (English-Spanish, German-English, Slovenian-English):
“Translation is an infinite process of discovery of new dimensions of language and thought. The progression from a source to a translated text is a result of an intense communication with the original text, which reflects a translator’s heightened sensitivity not only to the linguistic, but also the cultural and historical elements in the original text. A translation reveals the translator’s personal experience with the original text, which is unlike any other.”

Rafa Lombardino (Portuguese-English, English-Portuguese):
“When we say ‘translation,’ most people think of something formal: a court house, a hospital, a professor…hunched over an old, obscure book, trying to bring it to the light in today’s modern language. Translation and interpreting are much more than that and touch lives as varied as a gamer enjoying the latest release of a role-playing game to refugees trying to make a new home in a foreign land.”

Laura Watkinson (Dutch-English, German-English, Italian-English):
“Although translation has greatly changed since the earliest days of the profession thousands of years ago, our aim as translators remains the same: to help people understand one another. I’m sure we’ll always recognize the face of translation, even with all its new features.”

Christiana Hills (French-English):
“International Translation Day should not just be seen as a single day to celebrate translation, but a call to action for a renewal of continued advocacy for what we do as translators and interpreters. It helps us step out of our ‘translation bubble’ and think about how the rest of the world views our craft. How can we ‘translate’ what we do so that the world can better understand it?”

Lisa Carter (Spanish-English):
“So much in literary translation is changing, and for the better. As translators, we are becoming more vocal about advocating for our rights and as a result are being granted copyright, royalties and visibility more often. I’m thrilled to be a small part of this, offering information and advice via this blog, as well as various courses and services. Together we can further change the face of translation.”

What do you think, readers? What does International Translation Day mean to you? What do you think about “The Changing Face of Translation and Interpreting”?

We wish you all a very happy International Translation Day!