September 30: on the feast day of Saint Jerome, the patron saint of translation (and Bible translator himself), the world celebrates International Translation Day!
For most of us, translators are somewhat of an "invisible presence" - granting us the opportunity to experience the world outside our native country, be it through books, TV shows, or the internet. The importance of translators, however, goes much beyond what most people get to experience in their daily life: international relations heavily depend on professional, capable translators in order to defuse conflicts and fostering peace; translators, being the bridge across different languages and cultures, are a vital part in the process of understanding one-another and connecting different parts of the world. In crisis situations such as migrations and wars, moreover, translating assumes a key role in assisting people in their basic needs and rights - in a way that Google Translator never could.
It is not just the subtitles of our favorite TV show: in the era of globalization, translating as a profession is becoming more and more important. To highlight the role of translators, the FIT (International Federation of Translators) has been promoting St. Jerome celebrations since 1953: it was not until last year, on May 24, 2017, that the United Nations finally recognized the date of September 30 as International Translation Day. This year's theme is "Translation: promoting cultural heritage in changing times": Folia Magazine joins in the celebrations with this breath-taking illumination of Saint Jerome, depicted here among his beloved books.
"Jerome", historiated initial V, from the "Great Bible" supposedly illuminated by Herman Scheerre, ms. Royal 1 E IX, f. 63v, 1st quarter of the 15th century, British Library, London.