International Translation Day

“Translation unveils the many faces of humanity” – Celebrating ITD in 2023

FIT Council is pleased to announce its chosen theme for International Translation Day 2023: Translation unveils the many faces of humanity.

To honour International Translation Day (ITD) this year, we wish to recognise the important role that translation plays in our lives, and celebrate our shared humanity.

Translation unveils a world of human experience, allowing us a window into cultures other than those we know. As climate and geopolitical shocks resonate across the globe, it also plays an important role in addressing threats to the peace and security, in diplomacy and multilateralism, sustainable development and humanitarian aid, human dignity and human rights.

The capacity for structured language is uniquely shared by humans, fulfilling our need to communicate with one another; to share information, ideas, and emotions. With thousands of languages spoken on the planet, failure to communicate effectively can be a major barrier to cooperation and mutual understanding.

Language also gives us the capacity for expression and connection, so essential for society and well-being.

Language rights are human rights – everyone has the right to use their language of proficiency. For many, this is only possible with the assistance of a translator or interpreter. Leaving no one behind means speaking to everyone, especially in times of hardship and crisis, where the need to understand what is going on around you, and be understood, can be a matter of survival. Translators and interpreters make this possible.

In humanitarian settings, translators and interpreters are a lifeline for the world’s most vulnerable people. Compassion and humanity are represented in the faces of the individual translators and interpreters who assist those fleeing crisis, whether caused by war, famine, disaster, or climate.

They accord those in crisis their humanity, giving them access, agency, dignity and the chance to connect. They are the human faces of advocacy and diplomacy, keeping communication flowing in the difficult circumstances.

Thanks to their grounding studies in the humanities, translators and interpreters understand deeper cultural and political issues, and issues of ethics, equity and tolerance. They care deeply about their work and the people they assist. During the height of the pandemic, interpreters stayed at their hospital posts to ensure patients could understand their doctors, and doctors could treat their patients, at risk to themselves.  Culture, global development, security and lasting peace, are human concerns, and are well served by professionals who know and care about their role.

Translators bring people in opposite corners of the world face to face, through stories and the simple act of reading. Literary translation lifts the barriers of culture and language, to unveil the face behind the story, allowing the readers to see themselves reflected in the text, despite not speaking the author’s language.

Translation also helps to preserve cultural diversity and promote cross-cultural understanding. By making literature, art, music, and other cultural works accessible to people who speak different languages, translation helps to create a more interconnected and diverse world where people can appreciate and learn from each other’s cultures.

Each author has a unique voice, a unique story that no one else could create, it belongs solely to them. Similar individual scientific contributions might be made by two very different scientists, but no two authors would tell one story in quite the same way. Our capacity for creative and cognitive thought means each contribution is unique to the individual. If Shakespeare had never written, Hamlet, Desdemona, Romeo and Juliet would not have existed in the collective consciousness. While the themes are universal, the words, the characters, the peculiar plot twists of each story, are a unique expression of common experience that speaks to us all. We each have our own stories, and translation lets us each connect with universal human experience, through discovery of individual stories as they play out across the globe.

And in this 70th Anniversary year since the founding of FIT, it also gives us a chance to celebrate the many faces that make up the history of FIT. Since 1991, FIT has celebrated ITD, creating an annual theme as the basis for the celebrations.

During its 71st Session, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted Resolution A/RES/71/288, declaring 30 September to be International Translation Day, a day to be celebrated across the entire UN global network. It honours the contribution of professional translators, interpreters and terminologists in connecting nations, and fostering peace and global development and translation’s important political and cultural role in multilateralism and multilingualism.

So let’s celebrate all that our profession contributes to the global, cultural existence; let’s unveil the role of translation in all its facets. One FIT, many faces. Happy ITD!

Background

Each year, translators, interpreters and terminologists celebrate International Translation Day on 30 September, the feast of St. Jerome. A unifying theme is chosen each year and a competition is held to design a poster for FIT members to print and use to promote the day and join together in celebrating our professions.

In 2017 we achieved an historical milestone for all professional translators, interpreters and terminologists, with the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopting Resolution A/RES/71/288, recognising the role of professional translation in connecting nations, and fostering peace, understanding and development. In the same resolution, the United Nations General Assembly declared 30 September to be UN International Translation Day, celebrated across the entire UN network.

Themes and posters of previous years

FIT signs Memorandum of Understanding with the International Authors Forum

Press Release

FIT is pleased to announce the signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Authors’ Forum (IAF), in recognition of their similarities, of the strength derived from diversity, and as a sign of a commitment to highlight, protect and strengthen the role of translators as authors of derivative works.

Like FIT, the International Authors Forum collaborates with UNESCO and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on cultural and copyright matters, and campaigns at both national and international levels. Each organisation works to ensure authors’ rights are protected. IAF represents over 700,000 authors worldwide and campaigns for their interests providing national authors’ organisations with an international platform to exchange information, develop positions and provide support in matters concerning authors’ rights.

The MoU will build ongoing cooperation between the two International Organisations on collective concerns.

FIT participates In European conferences

Languages and the Media & Translating Europe Forum 2022

Press Release :: Communiqué De Presse :: Comunicado De Prensa

Two large events in Europe recently brought hundreds of practitioners, industry representatives, and academics from the translation community together.

FIT had a visible presence at the Languages & the Media Conference, 7–9 November in Berlin, and the annual Translating Europe Forum, 9–11 November in Brussels.

Both events were a valuable opportunity for stakeholders to meet, hear each other’s perspectives, and discuss the state of the industry, emerging technology, practitioners’ working conditions, young talent, as well as the shifting professional landscape.

International Translation Day 2022

Each year, we celebrate International Translation Day on 30 September, the feast of St. Jerome. FIT Council proudly announces the winner of its annual poster competition commemorating International Translation Day (ITD) 2022. ‘A World Without Barriers’. This year’s winning design was created by Jose Luis Pulido, from Spain.

Theme for the XXII FIT World Congress and International Translation Day 2022

ITD 2022 Celebrating A World without Barriers: The Role of Language Professionals in Building Culture, Understanding and lasting Peace.
FIT member associations can use the poster in their communication promoting ITD and their events.

Click on the links below to Download different versions of the poster here: thumbnail, 100dpi resolution, 300dpi resolution, print quality

In Memoriam: Anna Lilova

It is with deep regret that FIT announces the death,
on 30 July 2022, of

ANNA LILOVA

FIT Honorary Advisor, former president and founding member of the Bulgarian Translators’ Union.  


One of the first to be awarded the role of Honorary Advisor (then the ‘Council of Elders’), Anna was ‘a friend and a disciple’ of Pierre-François Caillé, FIT’s founding father. She joined FIT Council in 1974, became Vice President in 1978, was elected as interim President after Caillé’s death in 1979, going on to serve in the role for three successive terms (1979-1990).  While continuing to follow in the founder’s footsteps, she recognised that the demands of the profession were changing with the times.

She wrote “In the Cold War of that period, the federation was able to retain a spirit of understanding, convinced that unity would give us strength.”

Her words echo loudly today, in the current global atmosphere, where so much has changed and so much remains the same. Anna Lilova understood that translators and interpreters are crucial to global understanding and under her leadership the Federation continued to bring together organisations from all continents, establishing regional centres, and promoting activities and cooperation between them. She continued Pierre-François Caillé’s work on collaborating with UNESCO and other UN bodies, and was a key figure in FIT’s publishing endeavours, including as an Editor of Babel

President, Vice-President and Winner of FIT’s highest honour, the Pierre-François Caillé Medal, Anna is remembered for her extraordinary contribution to the progress and reputation of the translation profession at international level, particularly during her eleven years as president.

Her own body of academic research highlighted the relationship between theory and practice, and covered European cultural heritage and translation theory, making a significant contribution to studies of translation as an art and a science essential to our cultural, physical and political existence. She also established translation studies as an academic discipline at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and was a founding and integral member of the Bulgarian Translators’ Union in 1974.  

FIT today has much to thank her for. Through her talent as a diplomat, Anna Lilova made a noteworthy contribution to the recognition of FIT outside Europe, particularly through the organisation of events in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

She was one of the first to emphasise the common problems encountered by members: poor and sporadic remuneration for the work of scientific and literary translators, the absence of respect for the work of translators, publishers’ failure to mention the name of the translator, and protection of translators’ rights.

In her mind, translation was a creative activity important in a thriving society and served three main imperatives, that is, the imperative of communication, to serve knowledge and mutual understanding; the cultural imperative, to fulfil our obligations towards universal culture; and the humanitarian imperative, highlighting our moral responsibilities in an era of forays into outer-space and nuclear power, to bring universal harmony to the forefront of people’s minds and consciences. Again, so much of what Anna Lilova thought, said and did, the clarity of her vision on the main issues facing the profession, remains as relevant today as it was in 1987.

Those who knew her remember her as an academic, diplomat, tireless advocate of the global importance and reputation of the translation profession, supportive colleague, esteemed friend. Those of us who did not have the fortune to know her, remember her as an often talked about, ever-present key figure in the history of FIT. She will be sadly missed and fondly remembered. Rest in peace, Anna Lilova.