Linguists in all corners of the globe are celebrating the appreciation of their profession today. Every year, on 30 September, the feast of St. Jerome (the Bible translator and patron saint of translators), the worldwide translation community is given recognition and the importance of quality translations in a time of rapid globalisation is highlighted. International Translation Day was established in 1991 by the FIT, the International Federation of Translators (a worldwide federation of professional associations uniting translators, interpreters and terminologists) who want to show their solidarity with the translator community and promote multilingualism around the world.
The theme for this year’s International Translation Day is “Bridging Cultures” and emphasises the fact that translators are responsible for a lot more than merely translating words; their job is to facilitate communication, act as cultural ambassadors and preserve heritage. The world would be a very different (and much smaller) place if it had no translators and with 7000 languages and progressing globalisation, the need for high-quality translations has never been greater.
But trying to cut the costs doesn’t always have a positive outcome. A wine producer from Austria won the prize for the worst translation of 2011 (“Übelsetzung des Jahres 2011”) from UNIVERSITAS, the Austrian Association of Interpreters and Translators. The company translated “Der außergewöhnliche Verführer” as “The Exceptional Abuser” for the packaging of a three-bottle set of sparkling rosé wine. “This was clearly an attempt to cut costs in the wrong place,” said Dagmar Jenner, Secretary General of the association. The translation, even if correct (“The Exceptional Seducer”, suggesting seductive charm), “would have not worked convincingly. This is a job for language professionals, who would have formulated the English version to convey the meaning of the original.”
This just goes to show that literal and incorrect translations can be embarrassing and misleading and it’s definitely worth investing the time and the money in ensuring that your idea and text is translated by a professional! Trend Translations is looking forward to hearing from you!