Although the "Index Translationum" was brought out on CD-ROM and, more recently, made available on line, it was first published a long time ago, even before UNESCO came into existence. It could be said that the "Index Translationum" is UNESCO's oldest programme, since UNESCO inherited it from the League of Nations.
Faced with the problem of translation control, it is not surprising that, as early as 1931, following requests from international organizations of authors, publishers and librarians, the League of Nations Institute for Intellectual Cooperation should have set about publishing an international inventory of translations, for the purpose of providing immediate practical information.
>The "Index Translationum" came out in the form of a quarterly bulletin and included the translations published in six countries: Germany, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Italy and the United States of America. By the time it ceased publication in January 1940, just months after the outbreak of World War II, it already covered 14 countries.
Almost ten years were to elapse before the "Index Translationum" re-appeared under the auspices of UNESCO. It was a recommendation put forward at the Conference of the Allied Ministers of Education, held in London on 28 June 1945, that re-launched the project to resume publication of the "Index Translationum".
This recommendation was approved by the First General Conference of the newly created UNESCO, held in Paris in November-December 1946. It was then reaffirmed at the Organization's third General Conference, in December 1948, when the Director General was mandated to lend his assistance to resuming publication of the Index Translationum.
The new series came out in a single volume, published yearly. The first volume, for the year 1948, mentions 8570 translations published in twenty-six countries, including Brazil, Canada, Chile, Egypt and Turkey.
There was a noticeable change in scale right from the post-war due, on the one hand, to the development of publishing activity worldwide and, on the other hand, to the growing number of States.
Cultural development and enhanced levels of education throughout the world lead to the increasing need and desire to exchange ideas between the different languages and civilizations. Thus, the role of the INDEX TRANSLATIONUM can only grow in the future.