39 International Translation Day Quotes
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39 International Translation Day Quotes

International Translation Day is a special occasion observed every year on September 30th. People from different countries and communities globally get an opportunity to honor, celebrate, admire, and pay tribute to the work language professionals offer. 

These professionals play a significant role in bringing various cultures together through translation. Translations enable community inclusion and empowerment by providing access to information and services. It is a great and easier way to offer communities and members a platform. 

Also, translation paves the way forward for worldwide interaction and allows nations to forge interactive relationships when it comes to creating advancements in technology, politics,  businesses, etc. Read on for inspirational quotes you can use on this beautiful day to celebrate the translators’ hard work. You can also update them on social media platforms.

Historical Background

This wonderful day has an inspiring history. In 1991, the International Federation Of Translators created the International Translation Day. 

The UN General Assembly adopted resolution 71/288 on 24 May 2017, on the role of language professionals in connecting nations and fostering peace, and declared September 30 as International Translation Day. 

Language professionals are celebrated for facilitating different languages, dialogues, understanding, and cooperation. On the same day, the feast of St. Jerome, a Bible translator, is also celebrated. He is considered the patron saint of translators.

International Translation Day Quotes From World Leaders and Influential Figures

World leaders and influential leaders affect many people not only through their actions but also through speech. Here is what some of them say about the impact of Translation.

1. “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela

2. “Translation is an act of re-creation.” Ken Liu

3. “Writers make national literature, while translators make universal literature.” José Saramago

4. “Translators are the shadow heroes of literature, the often forgotten instruments that make it possible for different cultures to talk to one another, who have enabled us to understand that we all, from every part of the world, live in one world.” Paul Auster

5. “Translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes.” Grass Günter

6. “God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice.” John Donne

7. “A great age of literature is perhaps always a great age of translations.” Ezra Pound

8. “Translators never come to rest; they are constantly in two places at the same time by building associations that carry the foreign into the known of their language.” Rainer Schulte

9. “Through the act of translation we break out of linguistic confinement and reach many other communities.” Ngugi wa Thiong’o

10. “Translation is at best an echo.” George Borrow

11. “Translation is a two-edged instrument: it has the special purpose of demonstrating the learner’s knowledge of the foreign language, either as a form of control or to exercise his intelligence in  his competence.” Peter Newmark

12. “Translation is the circulatory system of the world’s works of literature.” Susan Sontag

13. “What is lost in the good or excellent translation is precisely the best.” Karl Wilhelm

14. “The translation called good has original value as a work of art.” B. Croce

15. “The two dangers are over-translation and under-translation.” J. Thomson

International Translation Day Quotes From Popular Culture

Translation carries the weight of different cultures. Various cultures with diverse languages still affect International Translation Day. Here are some quotes that magnify the role of culture in translation.

1. Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things but learning another way to think about things.

2. Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.

3. Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.

4. Language is not a genetic gift, it is a social gift. Learning a new language is becoming a member of the club; the community of speakers of that language.

5. Learn a new language and get a new soul.

6. A special kind of beauty exists which is born in language, of language, and for language.

7. Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.

8. One should not aim at being possible to understand but at being impossible to misunderstand.

9. To have another language is to possess a second soul.

10. The translation is not a matter of words only: it is a matter of making a whole culture.

11. A translator has a responsible job, to be able to understand everything right and to be able to express it without any bias.

12. The occasion of International Translation Day will always remind us that we have many talented translators doing an excellent job of translating content to help us reach the content of other languages.

International Translation Day Quotes From Renowned Translators

Translation experts too have something to say regarding Translation. Every expert in his field speaks of challenges and advantages. Here are messages from our experts since the time of the memorial.

1. “Words travel worlds. Translators do the driving.” Anna Rusconi

2. “Say what we may of the inadequacy of translation, yet the work is and will always be one of the weightiest and worthiest undertakings in the general concerns of the world.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

3. “Translation is one of the few human activities in which the impossible occurs by principle.” Mariano Antolín Rato

4. “Without translation, I would be limited to the borders of my own country. The translator is my most important ally. He introduces me to the world.” Italo Calvino

5.“In translation, language facility is not enough; blood and sweat are the secrets.” Samuel Putnam

6. “Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! By so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.” Voltaire

7. “A translator is to be like his author; it is not his business to excel him.” Samuel Johnson

8. “I do not hesitate to read … all good books in translations. What is best in any book is translatable; any real insight or broad human sentiment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

9. “The translator is a privileged writer who has the opportunity to rewrite masterpieces in their language.” Javier Marías

10. “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” Ludwig Wittgenstein

11. “Translation is the paradigm, the exemplar of all writing. It is the translation that

demonstrates most vividly the yearning for transformation that underlies every act involving

speech, that supremely human gift.” Harry Mathews

12. “Translators have enabled us to talk to one another and understand.” Paul Auster

The Future of Translation

It’s important to note that the field of translation is continuously evolving, and the relative strengths of different platforms may change over time. From 1991; the ways that were put in place to provide a functional translation do not align with how things are today. It is a metamorphosis to our advantage. With the emergence of the current Artificial Intelligence and ChatGTP, Translation will be easier and more affordable.

The role of technology in aiding translation

Being a fast-growing wing technology globally, the future of translation looks promising as technology empowers translators to deliver high-quality translations efficiently, combining the strengths of human expertise and AI-powered capabilities.

Translation technology will continue to evolve, allowing translators to focus on more complex translations while AI-powered tools handle tedious tasks. It is now a question of whether to use translation technology but which tools to utilize for optimal results.

The continued need for human translators despite technological advancements

Although technology seems to be superior to human translators, the future of translation lies at risk if it cuts off human help. The two should collaborate. The reason behind this is that; human translators excel in creative thinking and adapting translations for specific audiences while technology ( AI-powered machines) is ideal for automating repetitive tasks.

Machine-translation post-editing ensures the accuracy and fluency of AI-generated translations, while human translators provide the final touches to cater to specific needs.  Also, with a need to protect some human employees, the rate at which people will lose jobs should be considered a demerit.


International Translation Day is a day to take advantage of. The translators do an incredible job and they deserve a  thumbs up! Only because of translation, we can interpret what we read and translators make sure that we can do that easily. The day provides us an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of language professionals. 

The special occasion of International Translation Day allows us to thank all the brilliant translators and tell them how amazing and cool their job is. The importance of translation in our daily lives is multidimensional. The translation platform will bring more people together even with the growing technology. This will contribute to the strengthening of world peace and security.

Vincent Otieno

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