It’s International Translation Day!

Like so many professions the translation (and also interpreting) industry also has its own patron saint: St Jerome. He is famous for translating the Bible from its original Hebrew version into vulgar Latin and thus making it accessible to a wider audience. St Jerome is commemorated on 30 September, hence the date of the International Translation Day, which was initiated by the International Federation of Translators in 1994. Today, about 900 years later, St Jerome would be a writer and translator specialising in religious texts and history – a bit of a niche industry these days. Nonetheless, he would have been highly qualified. He brushed up his Hebrew language skills by an extended stay abroad, in Jerusalem, funded privately due to the lack of Erasmus and similar exchange programmes back then. Even so, his linguistic skills were questioned by many scholars and religious leaders of his time and he was advised to use the Greek version – a language he was fluent in (his B language) – as the basis of his translation. He didn’t. As a consequence, St Jerome spent the next 15 years (until he died) defending his translation of the Bible by adding commentaries explaining his choices during the translation process. Quite a dedication few of us would be able to afford these days! Happy International Translation Day!

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