FIT President’s Message: International Translation Day 2023

Headshot of Alison Rodriguez
Alison Rodriguez

Dear colleagues,

Happy International Translation Day!

This 30 September, we once again take the opportunity to honour our profession. With our theme “Translation unveils the many faces of humanity”, we celebrate the many faces that make up our professional community. Let us also remember to celebrate the many varied elements of our profession and observe International Day of Peace (21 September), International Day of Sign Languages and the European Parliament’s Multilingualism Day (23 September) and European Day of Languages (26 September). These celebrations fit nicely under the General Assembly resolution honouring the role of professional translation in “bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation”. ITD 2023’s theme embraces our contributions to connecting nations and translation’s important political and cultural role in promoting multilateralism, multilingualism, and world peace.

On 27 and 28 September, FIT’s Executive Committee held our annual in-person meeting in Stellenbosch, generously hosted by the South African Translators’ Institute (SATI) in conjunction with its triennial conference. FIT coordinates its in-person meetings with member events to allow us to meet as many active practitioners as possible. Informal discussions and shared events give us better knowledge of the profession locally and our members’ experiences. This level of understanding is something we could not achieve without face-to-face discussions. Zoom is a practical tool for certain kinds of conversations, but holding in-person meetings and events helps build a deeper connection amongst members and FIT Council and brings our members closer to the Federation. This visit was particularly important because it also marked the historic beginning of our newly established FIT Africa Regional Centre, which you can read more about in this issue.

With six current members in Africa, this is an exciting development. FIT has been active on the African continent since the 1970s, participating in forums, conferences, and roundtables, including the UNESCO General Conference in Nairobi (1976), which saw the adoption of the Nairobi Recommendation on the legal protection of translators and translations. However, this is our first African Regional Centre. FIT is pleased to offer wider support and integration for our members in Africa with the establishment of this Regional Centre, and we are looking forward to spending time getting to know them and their regional needs and challenges. As an international federation, we cannot fulfil our mission to further the interests and status of translators, interpreters, and terminologists without representing every corner of the globe, as inclusive membership is inclusive representation. Active members across the globe make for greater visibility of the profession.

In this, our first digital Translatio, you will also read about our members’ activities promoting literary translation and recognising newly accredited translators, as well as FIT initiatives on a shared continuing professional development calendar and our presidents’ working group on AI. It’s merely a glimpse at the many faces of FIT, as personified by the dedicated members that make up our federation.

Here’s to celebrating ITD and the many faces of our humanity. Happy International Translation Day everyone, and happy reading!

Alison Rodriguez,

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