The Role of Professional Translation in Connecting Nations

For the first time, the contribution of translators to the work of international organizations was documented in 1976, when the General Conference of UNESCO at its 19th session in Nairobi adopted “Recommendation on the Legal Protection of Translators and Translations and the Practical Means to Improve the Status of Translators”.

In order to emphasize the contribution of the translation profession to strengthening international peace and security, sustainable development and the promotion of human rights, as well as in order to preserve multilingualism and communication among the peoples of the world in their native languages, on May 24, 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution “The role of professional translation in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development”.

The development of the resolution, co-sponsored by twenty-seven UN member states[1], was initiated by Belarus with the support of Azerbaijan.

The uniqueness of the resolution is not only in the first in the history of the United Nations recognition of translation and translators and interpreters as the main practical tool for strengthening and preserving multilingualism in the world, supporting cultural and linguistic diversity, but also in securing the role of translators and interpreters in strengthening international dialogue and building bridges of mutual understanding and trust between nations as opposed to “building walls”.

One of the main elements of the resolution was the UN proclamation of September 30 as International Translation Day, which has been celebrated every year since 1953 on the feast of St Jerome, the Bible translator who is universally considered the patron saint of translators.

Since 2005, at the initiative of the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management, the UN Secretariat has been holding the annual St. Jerome Translation Contest.

In 2010, the Minsk State Linguistic University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN, which provided an opportunity for students and undergraduates of this university to take part in the UN contest.

MSLU graduates are currently working in the Russian translation and interpreting services, as well as in the UN verbatim reporting service.


[1] Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Central African Republic, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Namibia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

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