In many countries around the world, people celebrate United Nations Day with national costumes, flags, and music perfomances. That’s because this day is a symbol of cultural diversity.

The United Nations are famous for their work in disaster relief, humanitarian aid, peacekeeping, and international unity. Every 24 October we celebrate its anniversary as a reminder of the importance of diversity, culture, and the spirit of brotherhood.

Why on 24 October?

It was on 24 October 1945 that the foundational treaty of the United Nations brought the organisation into existence. Mainly, the aim was to encourage co-operation between all the governments of the world after the failure of the League of Nations. In other words, it was an effort to prevent another war like World War II from breaking out.

The United Nations and the Translation Industry

The United Nations bridge cultural gaps. In the same way, translation connects cultures by breaking language barriers. Actually, the UN are very concerned with languages: one of its most important projects aims at language preservation and is called “World Languages in Danger”. According to their website, they intend to raise awareness “about language endangerment and the need to safeguard the world’s linguistic diversity.” Thanks to their extensive research work, it is possible to check a complete list of language in danger of extinction.

Also, in terms of actual translation work, the workload of the UN exceeds the capacity of their in-house staff. For that reason, the organisation outsources up to 25 % of the work. Among the external providers, we can count over 220 external individual translators and 6 translation companies who work on a contractual basis.

United Nations Day - flags

Official UN Languages

Have you ever dreamed of working as a linguist for the United Nations? If so, you should know that their official languages are six: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

The reason behind this choice, it would be safe to assume, is that these languages are among the most widely spoken in the world. However, there’s also a political history behind it. As explained in an article by FluentU,

First of all, besides Spanish, all of these languages can be matched directly to permanent members of the Security Council with veto power (the U.S., Britain, China, Russia and France).  In other words, the languages that became official were the languages of the most politically influential nations in the post-war period.”

Read more here

How to Celebrate #UNDay

Did you know that the UN feed over 90 million people around the world? Also, they promote women and child health, and aid refugees who are escaping war. Have you ever been concerned about climate change? The UN work to encourage sustainability and green practices.

Celebrating United Nations Day is a way of acknowledging this organisation’s tireless work. Here are some ideas for celebrating #UNDay 2018, alone or with others:

  • Do you live in a country that is not your native one? Then, you can wear your national costume!
  • Not a fan of public displays? You can simply go about your day being tolerant, curious towards other cultures, and open-minded.
  • Discuss the importance of cultural diversity with your colleagues at work or with your family at home.
  • Post about this day on social media together with your thoughts on international co-operation and other related matters.
  • Check out if there are any cultural activities taking place in your area and attend one.
  • Organise an international dinner to explore the traditional dishes of other cultures.
  • Offer voluntary work to organisations working for humanitarian aid, like Translators Without Borders.
  •  Recycle! The UN is very committed to protecting the environment.

Any Other Ideas?

Share them with us in the comments!


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