Breaking barriers and bridging cultures

Publication date: September 26, 2023

Every year on September 30th, the world celebrates International Translation Day, paying tribute to the invaluable work of language professionals. This day, established by the United Nations, serves as a reminder of the critical role played by translators, interpreters, and terminologists in connecting nations, fostering peace, understanding, and development. The goals of International Translation Day are not dissimilar to those of EU Code Week, which seeks to eliminate digital borders by providing digital literacy and coding skills for everyone. Both endeavours share a common vision: transcending linguistic and digital boundaries to create a more interconnected and inclusive world. 

The choice of September 30th for International Translation Day is not arbitrary. This date coincides with the feast day of St. Jerome, the patron saint of translators. St. Jerome, an Illyrian priest, was a polyglot fluent in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. His contributions to linguistic bridging and understanding among cultures are commemorated on this day. 

Moreover, languages are the lifeblood of culture and communication. For example, the United Nations recognizes multilingualism as a core value, acknowledging its pivotal role in identity, social integration, education, development, and diplomacy. Multilingualism enables cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, and quality education for all. It strengthens cooperation, preserves cultural heritage, and facilitates knowledge sharing. 

A world without barriers 

The International Federation of Translators (FIT) has chosen ‘A world without barriers’ as this year’s theme for International Translation Day. This theme underscores the critical role of language professionals in building understanding and lasting peace. In an increasingly globalized world, translators, terminologists, and interpreters serve as bridges between diverse cultures and peoples. The United Nations, as the world’s largest employer of language experts, relies on these professionals to convey its messages accurately and effectively. 

For instance, advancements in artificial intelligence and language technologies have undoubtedly transformed the translation profession. While some may fear that these technologies could replace human translators, the need for intercultural mediators in a globalized world is stronger than ever. The future of language professionals lies in harnessing the technology to enhance their capabilities, not replace them. Combining linguistic expertise with technological advancements promises a brighter future for the translation profession. 

Code Week – removing digital borders 

EU Code Week shares the spirit of International Translation Day by aiming to remove borders in the digital realm. Just as language professionals break down linguistic barriers, digital literacy initiatives and coding skills open opportunities for everyone to participate in the digital age. Check out the wide range of resources that can be used to teach and learn coding that are available on the EU Code Week website. 

On International Translation Day, we celebrate the unsung heroes who facilitate understanding, cooperation, and peace among nations. Since, their work aligns with the goals of EU Code Week, as both strive to eliminate barriers, whether they be linguistic or digital. In a world that values inclusivity and connection, the role of language professionals and digital literacy advocates remains indispensable. Together, we can continue to build a world without borders, where languages and digital skills empower us to communicate, learn, and grow as one global community.