Translation Day, 30 September, is a day for us to celebrate translation’s long history of bringing cultures and ideas together. Translation is as old as the development of writing itself and even today, it fuses technological developments with the ancient art of interpreting and transferring meaning from one culture to another.

Through history, translations from the Rosetta Stone through to Pali

Portrait of Saint Jerome sitting at his desk
Jerome is the patron saint of translators

and Latin scriptures have provided inspiration and guidance to generations while a lack of good translations still leaves us in the dark about the thoughts of other cultures and generations. As translators today, like our ancient predecessors, we still wrestle with the age-old issue of providing trustworthy and reliable communication that people have confidence in.

It’s the translators who keep the voices of the past and present alive so they can speak when they need to be heard. It’s the translators who provide clarity and confidence where there would otherwise be doubt, mistrust, misunderstanding and miscommunication.

Translation has a long and rich heritage and it is a profession we can all be proud of!

This month’s issue will introduce Carlee Reid from the Authentication Unit, a small government office that the Translation Service works with to help prepare New Zealand official documents for use overseas. The mysteries of this office are explained later in this newsletter along with a discussion of the translation issues such as the evolving issue of capitalisation in English and some further information about selective translations.

Best wishes and happy translating!

Quintin