Today is International Women’s Day. The first International Women’s Day was in 1911; the idea was proposed in 1910 by Clara Zetkin, leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for Germany’s Social Democratic Party.

The day has become an occasion for women to celebrate achievements and progress in the fight for women’s liberation. It is also an opportunity for renewed campaigning.

Women’s liberation groups fight for the rights of women across the world. They are also part of a broader movement that tries to help the victimised and the oppressed.

In this struggle, communication is vital. One predicament of the oppressed is enforced silence. Making it possible for someone to speak and to speak out can be the beginning of liberation.

Translation and interpretation agencies will play a central role in political or personal struggles. As developing countries seek to join the major economic and diplomatic powers, more and more people will look to translators and interpreters for help in the potentially difficult and dangerous situations that they might find themselves in.

This might be at a governmental level, with consultations and negotiations taking place on women’s liberation or poverty in the developing world. However, it might be at a more local level too. Councils in Britain, for example, are having to review their language provisions, to ensure that they are providing a fair and adequate service to immigrants who have fled oppressive or tyrannical regimes to live in Britain.

These people, and others all around the world, need to be able to express themselves – to tell us their needs and desires. We need to be able to understand them. Professional translators and interpreters will be the bridge-builders of the twenty-first century.