International Translation Day is an “opportunity for translators, students, publishers, booksellers, librarians, bloggers and reviewers to gather and debate significant issues and developments within the sector, to discuss challenges and to celebrate success,” says Armenia’s Panorama.am. Some celebration. Is it any wonder why Hallmark doesn’t have an International Translators Day section at the drug store? It sounded like so much fun that we cancelled this year’s party.
Let’s face it, the big problem with International Translation Day is the “get” part, as in “what do you get?” For Christmas, you get presents. For Halloween, you get to dress up like a sexy pirate. But what do you get for International Translation Day? A translation, I suppose. That’s what translators want, isn’t it? It takes translation to make a translator. A translator who isn’t translating is out of business. So International Translation Day is not exactly the giving season. The “paying season” is perhaps more welcome to the working translator.
We were going to have a party on the roof like we did last year, but we’ve been working pretty hard and it was kind of chilly last night and we didn’t want a repeat of last year’s fire. (Take it from me, tar paper and charcoal briquettes do not mix).
Also last year, the St. Jerome piñata bust did not work out. The translators found it disturbing to see me blindly flailing away at the effigy of translation’s patron saint, as if I was metaphorically beating the translators themselves for baubles and goodies. I swear the thought had never crossed my mind, but after they told me, that was all I could think of. Sometimes there are things about yourself that are better left unknown.
I think the terminology-egg hunt would have gone better had we started before sunset. It’s not so much that those dang linguists can’t come up with a term or two in complete darkness – they do it all the time. The problem is, they come up wrong. I figure translators in a situation where they can drink free liquor are effective for about 20 or 30 minutes once on-site since, after that, the error rate just gets too high.
Another lesson learned last year: no bonfires and no throwing people into bonfires. That’s because International Translation Day and International Blasphemy Rights Day are celebrated on the same day.
International Blasphemy Rights Day, part of the Center for Inquiry’s broader Campaign for Free Expression, is an initiative to focus attention and efforts on defending the universal right to blaspheme.
It is held each year on September 30 to commemorate the 2005 decision of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten to publish a dozen cartoons lampooning the Islamic prophet Muhammad, which prompted violent demonstrations and deadly riots around the world.
All this on the dey we celebrate the saint who translated the Bible. So what did we learn, Tiger?
Some things translate better than others.