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International Translation Day: Translation, underpinning multilingualism and cultural diversity

Multilingualism and cultural diversity will be the FIT themes in 2004.

Wars… Terrorism… The Environment… Globalisation…Alternatives to Globalisation… The world moves and communication plays an ever-increasing role. Yet, should this complexity of situations, compel us to give way to a "lingua franca" for the sake of simplicity or should we defend separate identities, cultural diversity and indigenous languages? The answer is clear, and UNESCO touched upon it, in its universal declaration on cultural diversity: "cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as bio-diversity is for nature".

It is never stated, yet this diversity and the associated rights could not be guaranteed without the discrete presence – the omnipresence – of translation. Translators and interpreters are continually at the core of communication, external conveyors of ideas and actions shaping the world in which we live. Translation is thus, simultaneously, a multilingual communication vector and synonymous with opening outwards to others and opening up to democracy.

The International Federation of Translators has chosen the theme for International Translation Day as:

Translation, underpinning multilingualism and cultural diversity,

to emphasise the vital necessity of opening up to otherness and of exchanges between nations and to indicate translation’s vital role in this.

By selecting the theme for International Translation Day as the defence of multilingualism and cultural diversity, FIT wishes to make a wider public aware of how translation forms the core of human exchanges and preserves our separate cultural and linguistic identities in the world today. To prove this, try and imagine just one day without translation in the world.