Remembering the Global Nature of 9/11

Remembering the Global Nature of 9/11

Global Nature of 9/11

Today is the anniversary of “9/11,” a phrase that for many people around the world, clearly evokes memories of the series of attacks that occurred on September 11th, 2001 in New York City and Washington, DC.

Many Americans remember where they were when they first heard about the attacks. I was living in Ecuador. In the wake of the attacks, I saw the news through both American and Ecuadorian eyes. Phone lines were jammed as Ecuadorians tried frantically to reach family members in the United States to make sure they were all right. Indeed, the lives of 13 Ecuadorians were claimed due to the attack on the World Trade Center.

Ecuador was not unique in this sense. A report from the New York City Health Department showed the national origins of many victims, based on 2,617 death certificates filed, accounting for about 90 percent of the estimated deaths. The breakdown, by birthplace, is as follows:

Country
Victims
United States
2106
United Kingdom
53
India
34
Dominican Republic
25
Jamaica
21
Japan
20
China
18
Colombia
18
Canada
16
Germany
16
Philippines
16
Trinidad and Tobago
15
Guyana
14
Ecuador
13
Italy
13
Ukraine
11
Korea
9
Poland
8
Russia
8
Haiti
7
Ireland
7
Pakistan
7
Taiwan
7
Cuba
6
Yugoslavia
6
Others
143

More recently, when I visited the 9/11 memorial in New York, I noticed another nod to the global nature of 9/11 — a roadwork sign exhibition that was displayed over the construction site for the new World Trade Center. The collection of signs, an artistic contribution from Maya Barkai, not only flagged to visitors that the site was a work zone, but depicted construction imagery from all over the world. It seemed very fitting to me that the exhibition reflected the global nature of both the event and the site itself.

 

For all who work in the world of language technology and services, translation serves as a daily reminder of just how globalized the world really is, and what a great need there is to bridge communication gaps across individuals, organizations, and even governments. As we remember 9/11, let us also keep in mind the fact that translation ultimately accelerates greater cross-cultural understanding. That’s in the interest of every global citizen.

About Nataly Kelly

Nataly brings nearly two decades of translation industry experience to Smartling, most recently as Chief Research Officer at industry research firm Common Sense Advisory. Previously, she held positions at AT&T Language Line and NetworkOmni (acquired by Language Line), where she oversaw product development. A veteran translator and certified court interpreter for Spanish, she has formally studied seven languages, and is currently learning Irish. A former Fulbright scholar in sociolinguistics, Nataly lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter. When she isn’t working, you’ll usually find her translating Ecuadorian poetry, writing books, and exploring the world (36 countries and counting!).

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