International Translation Day is an international day celebrated every year on 30 September on the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator who is considered the patron saint of translators. The celebrations have been promoted by International Federation of Translators (FIT) ever since it was set up in 1953. In 1991 FIT launched the idea of an officially recognized International Translation Day to show solidarity of the worldwide translation community in an effort to promote the translation profession in different countries.

International Translation Day is meant as an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of language professionals, which plays an important role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to development and strengthening world peace and security.

Transposition of a literary or scientific work, including technical work, from one language into another language, professional translation, including translation proper, interpretation and terminology, is indispensable to preserving clarity, a positive climate and productiveness in international public discourse and interpersonal communication.


Why 30 September?

30 September celebrates the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator who is considered the patron saint of translators.

St. Jerome

St. Jerome was a priest from North-eastern Italy, who is known mostly for his endeavour of translating most of the Bible into Latin from the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. He also translated parts of the Hebrew Gospel into Greek.

He was of Illyrian ancestry and his native tongue was the Illyrian dialect. He learnt Latin in school and was fluent in Greek and Hebrew, which he learnt from his studies and travels.

Jerome died near Bethlehem on 30 September 420.

Every year since 2005, the United Nations invites all its staff, accredited permanent missions staff and students from select partner universities to compete in the UN St. Jerome Translation Contest, a contest which rewards the best translations in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish as well as German, and aims to celebrate multilingualism and highlight the important role of translators and other language professionals in multilateral diplomacy.

Interpreters and translators have very important jobs. They are responsible for bringing people together and for sharing new and exciting information that was previously only accessible to members of a specific culture. Their work can impact relationships between different countries and even change the course of history. Interpreters and translators do incredible work, and they deserve to be recognized for it. This need spurred the creation of International Translation Day.