CELEBRATING AND HONOURING TRANSLATORS AND INTERPRETERS
By: Nontobeko Moimane 04 October 2022
The United Nations (UN) has declared 30 September the International Translation Day. According to the UN, this is an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of language professionals, which plays an essential role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to the development and strengthening world peace and security.
To commemorate this day, the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), in conjunction with the Vaal University of Technology’s (VUT) African Languages Development Unit and the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, hosted the International Translation Day recently at the PS Building Auditorium, in VUT, Vanderbijlpark campus.
The event aimed at capacitating the upcoming translators and interpreters to bridge communication gaps in our country.
This initiative is part of the institutions’ continued efforts to advocate for the use of translation and interpreting services to promote linguistic diversity and the furtherance of multilingualism. The commemoration was observed under the theme “a world without barriers” to recognise the exceptional work of translators, interpreters, and terminologists in facilitating dialogue and promoting social cohesion.
Giving his opening and welcoming address, Dr Muntuwenkosi Chili, the Centre for Academic Development Executive Director, stated that language is fundamental, and we all communicate to be understood as language is a vehicle of culture.
He further mentioned that it is through the capacities of each language that individuals, communities, and nations build their sense of identity and education. “Translation facilitates the communication between people with different native languages and plays an essential role in spreading literature, culture, education, communication and media,” said Dr Chili.
Addressing the audience on the background and purpose of the event, Dr Sally Maepa: Gauteng Senior Provincial Manager at PanSALB, alluded that communicating in a language that is familiar and relevant to the individual makes it easier for them to express themselves clearly and understand what is said to them. “Practitioners in Translation and Interpreters play a vital role in providing these services, and I wish to encourage language students to take pride in this profession”, added Dr Maepa.
Ms Maphata Ramphele, Director of Language and Heritage at the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts & Culture, gave a message of support and stated that translators make communication easy. She supported this profession by encouraging youngsters, learners, students, and lecturers to follow and learn the translation. “This profession is currently in demand, and as a department, we are striving to implement provisions such as funds for translators, interpreters and language practitioners to study further”, alluded Ms Ramphele.
Other speakers gave inputs on topics such as the role of the African Languages Development Unit within VUT and court interpreting within the Gauteng Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
Students and staff engaged the speakers in a question-and-answer session to learn in-depth about all aspects of translation and interpretations, while being entertained by different cultural performances.
Activities of the celebration also took place in the Western Cape on 28 September and followed by KwaZulu-Natal on 30 September 2022.
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