September 30 is International Translation Day – a significant day in all our calendars for sure. It’s certainly a day for translation companies to throw a party and celebrate their efforts in helping businesses and people are understood in different tongues and cultures. We spoke to Cicero Translations, AST Translations, and SDL about the work they do and why their work is so important.
First though, why is there a day for translation? Well, a quick trip to Wikipedia will tell you that it is celebrate on the ‘feast of St. Jerome’ – who, fittingly, translated the Bible and as such is regarded as the patron saint of translators.
The International Federation of Translators set up the new official version of the celebration in 1991 as an opportunity for solidarity in the worldwide translation community.
Despite its Christian connotations, though, the day is now secular. Indeed, the development of the translation profession could even be described as one of the vital cogs in the globalisation movement of the current era.
Why is translation so important?
Cicero Translations told me that it’s all about communicating with people – a fundamental need if ever there was one.
“Translation is key to communicating with people from around the world,” Cicero’s Marcus Jones told me. “Learning about people from other backgrounds and cultures is both important and interesting but it can be hard without the ability to communicate in someone’s native language. Translation offers a way to open our eyes to things that are not possible to see without it.”
Vital for international business
And a lot of business is about communication – whether it’s in a sale, marketing, networking, or packaging info.
“Professional translation eliminates the risk of misunderstanding,” said a representative from AST Translation Services Ltd. “Clear and concise communication in your customer’s own language will make your brand and/or product more appealing to them, and will motivate them to buy from you; customers are now much more likely to buy when they can get the information in their own language on websites and other marketing materials.”
But isn’t English the global language?
Many, though, will be wondering whether translation really is that important. Isn’t English a global language which most people around the world understand?
Absolutely not and this belief could cost your business customers and therefore income from international markets.
“There is only one language that matters,” explains SDL’s Rob Gorby. “No, that language is not English. It’s the language of your customer. Quite simply, if businesses don’t treat localisation seriously and speak to their customer in their native language, they risk losing revenue and opportunities. 72% of consumers spend most of their time on websites in their own language, while 56% of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price. That means more than half of consumers will happily pay more for products and services delivered in their native language.”
Time to celebrate
So there you go – Sláinte! Koselig!, einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr! – or in plain untranslated English, have a great International Translation Day!