September 2009 Archives

St Jerome - Patron saint of translators

Today, 30 September, is International Translation Day which was established by the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs (FIT) in 1991. The reason this date was chosen is because it is the day on which St Jerome died in Bethlehem, in 420 AD.

St Jerome, who was born c. 347 AD, was a linguist and translator. He was fluent in Greek and translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin. (If you'd like to see Albrecht Dürer's impression of the holy man hard at work have a look at my home page.) Not only is his feast day celebrated within the Church today but translators around the world remember him by staging conferences and events to raise the profile of their profession.

The vital role of translators in the world is often forgotten or invisible. Without their specialist skills how many of us would be able to read the Bible in our own language, enjoy literature from Russia or Chile, buy goods from Japan and Germany or travel seamlessly to foreign lands?

Übersetzen in die Zukunft


Over the weekend, a huge translation conference, Übersetzen in die Zukunft, or to give it its English title, Interpreting the Future, took place in Berlin. Over 1600 professional language service providers (LSPs) from 40 countries met over a period of three days to discuss a range of topics from market developments to researching terminology to international issues in the translation industry.

TrànslationWörks was there too! I was delighted to have the opportunity to hear contributions from other professionals in the field, to make contacts with new LSPs and to discuss ways in which our services can help our clients' growth in the current challenging market.

I'll be blogging about various outcomes and hope that you will find them as useful as I did!

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The secret of the swimming pool

It is common knowledge that we derive great benefits from exercise.  We maintain a healthy body weight, exercise our muscles and heart, oxygenate our blood and generally acquire a glow of wellbeing.

This summer I have had the opportunity to swim my 50 lengths a day in an outdoor pool. What could be more pleasant than gaining the above benefits under a pleasantly warm sun (or warm rainfall some days!), with the beautiful green hills gently rising and birds and butterflies flying and fluttering above me?

And the benefits are not all mine!  There have been occasions when I have had great inspiration for translations. The rhythm of my strokes and breathing have allowed my mind to move onto other planes. Phrases that have eluded me at my desk have fallen neatly into place when "getting away from it all" for an hour.

It is not always easy to come up with 'le mot juste' when time is of the essence and deadlines are tight. I always try to persuade clients to build in a little extra time - even when the pressure is on. Some people like to have time to "sleep" on the final version of a project and with a bit of planning and good judgment, sometimes even just an extra hour or two can make all the difference between a good translation and a sparkling one. This summer for me the secret has been in the swimming pool!