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International Translation Day: Translators and Interpreters as Agents of Social Change

FitlogoThe FIT Executive, in deciding the theme for this year's International Translation Day, wanted to emphasize
the effects of the work of translators and interpreters on society at large.

Within the spectrum of human communication and in an ever-changing geopolitical environment, characterized by the paradox of globalization and 'localization', translators and interpreters find themselves involved in the massive task of the birth and development of new nations, the integration of others in economic, trade and welfare organizations as well as attending to the communication needs in this era of people movements across the globe. These tasks take in essential functions such as upholding international law in situations such as Interpol, the International Court of Justice, War Crimes tribunals and many more.

In addition, the less glamorous but no less important contexts of sign language interpreting in education, interpreting in hospital settings and in refugee camps or in war zones clearly point to the social changes brought about by translators and interpreters. They are the people who prevent immediate situations from getting out of control.

FIT would like to encourage activities to celebrate the effects of translators and interpreters on society, not forgetting that some of the work mentioned above is performed by people who are not qualified as a result of factors such as sheer necessity and the absence of training for certain language combinations. FIT would like to encourage member associations to reflect on some of these issues and organize activities, which may well go beyond the celebrations of September 30, and entail some longer-term support for those in war zones or in the sign language arena, for example.