Friday, 5 December 2008

Call for a European translation policy - sign the petition!

Thanks to my German colleague at work I've just come across this. Rosemarie came across it in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. I shall have to a trawl through the English speaking media to see whether it has been picked up at all there - saying it a call by European intelectuals is unfortunately unlikely to give it a lot of appeal to the English-speaking public and even less to the press!
You can also sign a petition to maintain mulitlingualism in Europe here and look at the European multilingual website here.

It's being publicised now because of recent debates within the EU about translation.
Meanwhile at the end of November Welsh was recognised as an official minority language in the EU - meaning that Welsh ministers can speak in their mother tongue at EU meetings. It's a beautiful language, but then so is every language.

Anyway here's the statement in full, I think it gives a good defence of why translation is so important.

Call for a European translation policy
Europe cannot continue to grow if it fails to respect its multiple languages; for the alternative would be to deny its very identity. It can take one of two paths: promote the general use of a “business dialect” to further exchange, with the risk of a collective loss; or welcome linguistic diversity and safeguard it so as to achieve improved mutual understanding and genuine dialogue.
The European Union, at least within its provisional borders, has ensured the movement of goods, capital and people. It is time for Europe to take on the duty of circulating knowledge, works and imaginary worlds, thereby reviving the flourishing times of historical Europe. It is time for Europeans to learn to talk to one another in their different languages. Showcasing the languages of Europe will help reconcile citizens with Europe. Translation plays a vital political role.
For a language is not solely an instrument for communication or a service; nor is it simply heritage or an identity to be preserved. Each language is a different net thrown across the world, it exists solely in its interaction with others. In translating a language, we accentuate its uniqueness and that of the other one: we must understand at least two languages to realise that we speak one.
Since a language is about transcending identities and experiencing differences, translation must be at the core of a European public area that we must all take responsibility in building, in its citizen-based and institutional dimensions, and in its cultural, social, political and economic components.
This is why we call for the implementation of a genuine European translation policy, which will have two cornerstones: mobilising all actors and sectors in cultural life (teaching, research, interpreting, publishing, arts, media); giving structure to the European Union’s internal approaches as well as its external policies, by ensuring in concrete terms the inclusion of other languages in Europe and the knowledge of Europe’s languages elsewhere in the world.
In translation, the European project will draw on renewed vigour.


Tim Goodbody said...

Hi Jane, glad you liked my go at Rachel's tag.
When I read your profile I got a little shiver thing, because
My sister in law lives about 10 Km from you in Echnevez near Gex, and her son goes to school in Ferney (and they go to church at Crossroads there too.)
I trained as a translator before I did theology; I thought the EU thing was certainly worth a thought.
Am working on a post in future on overlaps in methodology between linguistics and theology, but Christmas will probably get in the way


Jane said...

I imagine you are not quite old enough to remember the theme tuen to crossroads the soap but my husband often hums it as we go past

Wierd how coincidences happen even on the blogosphere - the world - perhaps particularly the Christian world is a small place

Thansk for your comment and keep blogging - sometimes it's the only thing that keeps me sane.

Al the best