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23 · 09 · 2019

The 11th International Translation Day in Warsaw

This year Warsaw will see its 11th annual celebration of the International Translation Day – an event that will be marked on both September 28th and on 30th.


The UN has since 1953 been marking the International Translation Day on September 30th in order to pay tribute to the work of language professionals such as interpreters or translators. These play an important role in bringing together nations and cultures across language barriers, facilitating dialogue and establishing understanding – fundamental aspects in establishing a peaceful and respectful coexistence. The date of the 30th September was chosen due to its status as the day of Saint Jerome according to Catholic canonization. Saint Jerome translated the Bible from Greek to Latin and is held as patron saint for translators and interpreters.


The International Translation Day will on September 28th be marked by a series of discussions held from noon till evening at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle (CSW). These discussions will have different formats – one of these presents the attendees with ten tables, each with its own translating-topic open for participation. Another will be a presentation of the same text in two different translations, with the translators discussing their individual choices. There will also be a screening of ten short films about Polish translators, before the day will end with a banquet and a performance about Dragoman by “Grupa Studnia O. Storytellers”.


On September 30th a series of lessons, lectures and workshops for Warsaw high school students will be carried out on topics related to the translation process in connection with literary works. The topic for this year’s workshops will be ’Slang’ and The Danish Cultural Institute in Poland will contribute with institute leader and translator, Bogusława Sochańska, who will discuss Danish poet Yahya Hassan’s 2013 debut Yahya Hassan – translated by herself.


Yahya Hassan is a young and controversial writer in the Danish literary scene; he debuted in 2013 with the poetry collection Yahya Hassan. This quickly became the bestselling debut poetry collection in Danish history, with over 100.000 sales in fewer than two months. The poetry collection contributed to the ongoing immigration debate in Denmark, where Hassan portrayed a voice and a point-of-view that had not yet been seen before in Danish literature. This was a voice that heavily criticized the members of this milieu from the inside, which then led to Hassan being attacked by members of this community. This caused a national stir and debate, and Hassan was considered to be one of the most influential opinion formers in Denmark in 2013. He later studied at the Forfatterskolen (Writers College) in Copenhagen where he finished his studies in 2015, and received several prizes for his writings. Hassan’s poetry is characterized by use of slang and capital letters, while also being social realistic and critical.