Today we celebrate the International Translation Day! In a similar way to my previous post on Sign Language, this day is a reminder of how crucial it is to implement an effective translation through diplomacy. Translation per se is the process by which meaning is transferred from one language to another, hence the importance of accuracy and the need to pinpoint multilingualism so as to ensure each and every voice is heard.
In a way, translation can help to build bridges between cultures and strengthens cooperation as well as multilateralism for the sake of our modern democracies. In terms of communication, translating is a powerful tool in fact-checking, facilitates the understanding of all the parties involved and prevents potential misunderstandings and miscommunication.
The latter unfortunately, is rather common nowadays. Admittedly, a non-biased translation is useful to echo words along with intentions, therefore exposing double-standards or bold attempts to mask the facts amidst a post-truth environment. Ensuring translation flows multilaterally is also a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously by international organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union, along with mass media, academia or culture (including cinema, literature, the publishing world, and so on).
Because it is not enough to utilize English as a lingua franca given that just doing so depletes cultural diversity, linguistic richness, and ultimately a complex, idiosyncratic compendium of cosmovisions.
So, let us take this day to celebrate linguistic diversity and make sure that everybody does have the right to communicate in their own language no matter its written, audiovisual or tactile nature. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of empathy to unpack the power divide created by mainstream languages.
Written by Santi, our long term ESC Volunteer