International Translation Day
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the most intelligent, charming, worldly people in such places as the U.N. and its various succursales in Geneva, Paris, Rome, and in the E.U. parliaments of vowelsin Brussels and Strasbourg, are to be found not among the official representatives and assorted apparatchiks on site, and certainly not among the visiting dumb diplomats who wander in off the street or the even bigger shots who are Leaders or, in American fashion, Taking a Leadership Role, but among, rather, the corps of translators and simultaneous interpreters. Those translators and interpreters keep that knowledge politely to themselves. But we don't have to.
Today is International Translation Day (no doubt because it is the Feast Day of St. Jerome, patron saint of the scholarly, and with his docile lion couchant, potentially the patron saint of zookeepers as well). So today would be a good day for those of us who are not translators and interpreters, but stand astonied at the linguistic feats that are performed every day by the best of them, feats too often taken for granted by employers and clients who have no idea what it takes, to wish those translators and interpreters wel. And wishing them well should mean -- if it is to have any meaning that means something, that is if we mean it -- that they deserve, in this Century of Sauve Qui Peut, a big fat pay raise from those insufficiently-grateful employers.
And since it's the Feast Day of St. Jerome, why not -- in honor of those interpreters attached to those international organizations, those translators who stitch together an often-precarious existence from the piecework distributed to them by publishers -- a feast, furnished forth by those international organizations and those publishing houses. Yes, bring on the bouffetance, In tutte le salse, quick, schnell, skorym shagom! And as to the wine -- well, don't be stingy, baby.
Posted on 09/30/2010 7:47 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald