And so it begins! Our series on translation issues, at Al Masry Al Youm, has kicked off, just in time for International Translation Day.

We’ll be looking at a number of issues, ” including the translation of movies and television shows, protest slogans, the role of the government in translation, translations for children, authors’ views on translation, what gets selected for translation, and much more.”

Today, you can follow ITD events on Twitter via the hashtag #ITD2011. And the Al Masry Al Youm series curtain-raiser begins:

In January and February of this year, the eyes and ears of people around the world were fixed on Egypt.

Most of these Tahrir-watchers neither spoke nor understood Arabic. While the more avid among them probably got the hang of a few words, such as “erhal” and “midan,” most relied entirely on linguistic and cultural translators. So did most of the international journalists.

As Omar Suleiman’s famous final words left his mouth, they were broadcast into the ears of a number of professionals, and were heard around the world in near-simultaneous translation.

Much of global commerce, politics, and culture depends on legions of often-invisible translators who bring us instructions, advertisements, and diplomacy, and who translate our films, novels, and poems. After all, even the most educated among us only speaks a handful of the world’s 6000 to 7000 languages.

International Translation Day, celebrated on 30 September, is a day to recognize, celebrate, and question these invisible legions. For the coming weeks, Al-Masry Al-Youm will do just that through its translation series entitledIn other words… Go on; keep reading.