The end of September is a busy time for linguists: first of all, there is the European Day of Languages on 26 September, and only a few days after that we celebrate International Translation Day, on 30 September.
The European Day of Languages has been in our calendar since 2001 when the Council of Europe declared 26 September to be the day to focus on the importance of language learning and multilingualism, as well as on promoting linguistic diversity in Europe. Although there are only about 50 European countries (depending on what you consider Europe!), approximately 225 indigenous languages are spoken throughout the continent. Most of these languages are from the Indo-European language family and belong to three groups, namely Germanic (such as English, Dutch, and of course German), Romance (for example Italian, French and Romanian) and Slavic (e.g. Polish, Slovene and Serbian). Baltic, Celtic and Hellenic languages also belong to the populous Indo-European family. There are other groups that are not part of this family, for example the Uralic ones (Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian) and Basque – a language whose origins are a mystery! If you’d like to learn a bit more about European languages, try some linguistic quizzes or evaluate your language skills, have a look at the European Day of Languages website!
International Translation Day is held on the last day of September as it is the feast day of St Jerome, the patron of translators (and also librarians and encyclopaedists). It was started in 1953 by the International Federation of Translators to pay tribute to all the hardworking translators and interpreters and also, to emphasise the significance of language professionals in our multilingual world. Every year more and more events are organised around the world on the day to celebrate the work of translators and interpreters who have been aiding interlingual communication (possibly) since the dawn of human civilisation.