September 30, 2019

International Translation Day Comes with New Leadership,
Membership Drive for Statewide Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association


Nashville, TN – Observed annually on September 30th, International Translation Day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly’s resolution A/RES/71/288 “to pay tribute to the work of language professionals, which plays an important role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to development and strengthening world peace and security.”1 This celebratory day also coincides with the annual feast of St. Jerome (c. 347 – 30 September 420), the Latin Christian scholar who is considered the patron saint of translators, and is best known for translating most of the Bible into Latin.2


Just 9 days before this worldwide-observed day, the Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters Association (TAPIT) elected new leadership to head the 15-year old statewide association. At its Annual Conference, David Morales, who had headed the organization for the period 2016-2018, was once again elected TAPIT President. “TAPIT is celebrating International Translators Day as a moment of camaraderie with our colleagues, and as an opportunity to raise awareness of our professions,” says Morales. “Translators, who deal with the written word, and interpreters, who deal with the spoken word, play an ever more important role in our globalized world, a role that technology, despite its advances, is a long ways from replacing.”


Other new board members elected were Hernán Silva Zetina (President-Elect), Matthew Benton (Secretary), Marcela Pinilla (Member-at-Large) and Eleazar Jiménez (Member-at-Large). Continuing on the Board are Heidi Giordano (Treasurer), Heba Abouelsaad, (Member-at-Large), and Bruni Treviño Dopatka (Member-at-Large). Rounding off the slate is President Emeritus Marvyn Bacigalupo-Tipps, co-founder of TAPIT.


Established in 2004, TAPIT’s mission is to enhance the professional image of translators and interpreters by educating the public and users of language services, while it stresses the importance of language proficiency through certification in one or more languages. The organization strives to bring together court, medical, community, and sign language interpreters and translators in the state of Tennessee, and build upon their common interests and concerns in order to create a statewide presence.


Although current news on a federal level point towards a reduction in refugee resettlement programs, Tennessee has a long-time history of welcoming immigrants and refugees from all over the world. In 2015 alone, 1,956 refugees were resettled in Tennessee, and federal fiscal year 2016 welcomed refugees in Tennessee from 32 different nationalities.3


In addition, the state’s economic growth and, especially, the booming development of Nashville, attracts workers of all nationalities, many of whom might have to deal with legal court matters, go to the doctor, and send their children to school. It is here, in the day-in and day-out in a new place newcomers call home, where interpreters and translators play a vital role by bridging the cultural and language gap to support the complex process of acculturation.


Morales states that translators and interpreters have played crucial roles in the history of the world, from St. Jerome, to Malintzin, the female Nahua who was given as a slave to Hernán Cortés and who served as interpreter between him and the native peoples of Mesoamerica, to the interpreters at the Nuremberg trials who opened the path to modern interpreting, to the growing numbers of interpreters and translators who continue to facilitate communication in an increasingly global world. “Modern hospitals and courts, as well as many other entities, would not be able to provide their services in accordance with the law without the services of interpreters and translators”, adds Morales.


Launching in October, and running through December 31, 2019, TAPIT’s ambitious membership drive will seek to deepen its reach across the state and broaden its membership base, by inviting diverse stakeholders to participate in the organization’s longtime tradition of building bridges and promoting professionalism.


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1 United Nations, International Translators Day:

2 St. Jerome: Christian Scholar, Britannica Encyclopedia:

3 2016 Tennessee Annual Report — Catholic Charities: 2016 Arrival Data.xlsx – Catholic Charities of Tennessee