Yesterday, it was 60 years since the Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations’ General Assembly (that makes the year 1948, just in case you’re in the throws of a mid-week lull and can’t do the maths).
Clearly, that was as great a day for humanity as the day a certain snake tricked poor Eve into eating an apple wasn’t. But it was also the beginning of a long story for the translation industry. The Guiness Book of Records claims said document is the most translated text in the world – available at last count in 337 languages. (This sparked debate in the office as the Holy Bible, as commented on recently by me, is available in over 2000 languages: something must exclude it from the running – probably its confabulated nature.) Many of those languages are ones we, as a translation agency, have never even heard of – Huasteco, anyone? (spoken in Mexico) – and include even the synthetic language, Esperanto.
The Declaration arose as a result of experiences from the Second World War, and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. It is composed of 30 articles, most of which have been elaborated upon in subsequent international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions and laws.
My favourite part of the Declaration has to be:
1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
I wish you could chose that nationality. Not through a distaste for my own, but rather a green eyed view that I think it would be cooler to be Brazilian. Especially in light of a recent visit from one of our translators who claims it to be one of the most laid back, sociable and unrestricted countries in the world.
I wonder if you are happy with your nationality?! Do let me know.
11 December 2008 13:43