International Translation Day 2019: free e-card

International Translation Day 2019 eCard

The theme of this year’s International Translation Day is indigenous languages. This celebration falls within 2019 marking the UN International Year of Indigenous Languages, and could not be more timely.

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues reports that, “At present, 96 per cent of the world’s approximately 6,700 languages are spoken by only 3 per cent of the world’s population. Although indigenous peoples make up less than 6% of the global population, they speak more than 4,000 of the world’s languages. Conservative estimates suggest that more than half of the world’s languages will become extinct by 2100.”

So does this matter? Yes, absolutely … for all of us! Each and every language in our “global village” contributes to the world’s rich cultural diversity and understanding. As the International Federation of Translators (FIT-IFT) put it:

Losing a language is more than just losing words, it is a loss of unique cultural perspectives and narratives contained within the language and culture, along with its contribution to the richness of diversity.

On the FIT-IFT website, you can read more about Translation and Indigenous Languages and ITD 2019. There are various resources including a poster to download.

To mark ITD 2019, we have also produced a free e-card with some ornamental patterns based on various indigenous cultural motifs. You can click on the image for the full-size version or link to our e-card using this HTML:

International Translation Day 2019 card

In this era of globalization and mass communication, minority languages are increasingly in danger of dying, and many have already done so. We agree this is not only a linguistic loss, but a cultural one since a language embodies a whole way of seeing the world and may contain unique knowledge of it.

It is axiomatic that language helps us communicate. Professional translation can play an essential role in connecting peoples, communities and individuals – thereby fostering peace, understanding and development. On International Translation Day, we’ll be taking a moment to take a step back, consider this wider picture, and thank those who labour at translations and finding just the right turn of phrase all through the year!

The background of International Translation Day

International Translation Day dates back over 25 years, although WorldAccent first shared an International Translation Day card in 2008. Back then we noted:

The translation day was established in 1991 by the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs (International Federation of Translators). The date of 30 September was chosen as it is the feast day of St. Jerome (347-420 AD), patron saint of translators, interpreters and librarians. The day celebrates and promotes translation as an essential activity in contemporary society – but one which too often remains invisible and ignored. Each year a particular theme, highlighting a different area of translation, is adopted

Please note that the motifs used are purely for decorative purposes and are not intended to convey any particular meaning here. However such visual art is often full of symbols, and there is much to be gained by those interested by exploring this. Some understandings are only known to people of certain communities or even only to sub-groups or individuals within the community. There are many examples around the world. One place to start learning more about Australian Aboriginal People’s art and symbolism is the Artlandish Gallery while Wikipedia has a broader round up of Visual arts by indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Meanwhile celebrations of ITD 2019 and Indigenous languages can be found around the world wide web. Proz have an online series of lectures later in the week about both translation and interpreting. English Pen host another of their popular annual symposia, entitled “Translating Today” asking what it means to be a translator working in this moment and exploring some of the theoretical and practical questions that raises.

Don’t get caught writing ‘Scymraeg’

It’s safe to say that the majority of us are guilty of having used Google Translate at some point in our lives. Whether it be trying to order a meal on holiday abroad or desperately attempting to email a foreign colleague with information on a job, we’ve all given into the temptation and ease of online translation. However, the question of accuracy in official translations or in the public sphere has long been a topic of debate – particularly recently in Wales. Continue reading “Don’t get caught writing ‘Scymraeg’”

The ever-changing nature of language

In advance of a new radio series next week, one of the WorldAccent team takes a personal view of the ever-changing English language.

It is odd to think that some of the words we use in our everyday lives once had completely different meanings, like ‘awful’ being used to describe things that were ‘worthy of awe’, or ‘nice’ (now the archetypal British compliment) originally meaning ‘silly, foolish or simple.’ Continue reading “The ever-changing nature of language”

Who are the UK’s trading partners?

Just which countries do buy goods and services from the UK? And where do we as a country buy from? The Office of National Statistics have produced a neat visualisation of these UK trade partners, using a map of the world. Hover over a country to see how trade has varied over the past two decades, or move over the side bars to reveal partners in order of scale.
Continue reading “Who are the UK’s trading partners?”

Who gives a FIGS about font names?

Typographers and designers will be familiar with all of the Roman fonts featured in this video. But how many of us have paused to consider their names’ origins and whether a straightforward anglicised pronunciation is the most appropriate? Many of these fonts actually have French, German or Italian roots. So is it time to stop using “Euro-style” and start using “Euro-steel-eh”?
Continue reading “Who gives a FIGS about font names?”

Beyond the language barrier with a Culture Map

The way we work is transformed continually. Globalisation and the development of the internet has given smaller companies the ability to export goods and services much more easily. It means also that you and I can work from almost anywhere. While a downside of outsourcing has been to remove some jobs from developed countries, it has also offered opportunities to skilled workers in the less developed parts of the world.

Opportunities like these can bring problems along with them; the ability to decode cultural differences was not taught to us in school. To work effectively with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world, we need to be able to comprehend the cultural differences that inevitably arise during our efforts to operate transnationally, and sometimes perhaps across cultures in our own countries.

Professional translators are aware that translation of a text requires that the underlying message should be conveyed in the target language in a culturally sensitive way. A new book, The Culture Map by Erin Meyer, could help not just fledgling translators but also managers navigate through the wildly different cultural realities in which they find themselves through the vagaries of international business.
Continue reading “Beyond the language barrier with a Culture Map”

British landmarks seek Chinese names

Nominations are now open to rename our landmarks in Chinese. Celebrities, places and foods are often given names in China that describe what people think about them. VisitBritain is today launching a new campaign, ‘GREAT names for GREAT Britain’, that invites Chinese consumers to come up with the most fitting, amusing and memorable Chinese names for some of Britain’s food, landmarks and other attractions.

The 101 British landmarks will cover a wide range of locations. Names will be revealed in batches over the next 10 weeks on VisitBritain’s social media platforms including Weibo. The first batch covers points of interest with a royal connection, including Kensington Palace and The Mall.

Other highlights from the list include Chatsworth, Eilean Donan Castle, Brighton Pier, King’s Cross St Pancras station, Dartmoor, Hadrian’s Wall, Beachy Head, Rhossili Bay, London’s Shard and the Wales Coastal Path. British people and objects also feature including the kilt and the Highland Games, along with the Loch Ness Monster, Cornish pasty, Devon cream teas, Stilton Cheese, Haggis and Beefeaters.

Faced with the Welsh village with Britain’s longest name – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – one suggestion that has already been forthcoming is Continue reading “British landmarks seek Chinese names”