Translators Associations Global: AITC
Standing for short-term language professionals
The International Association of Conference Translators, founded in 1962, is a professional body that represents translators, précis-writers, revisers and editors who work temporarily or permanently for international organisations or conferences.
When it was created, the main aim of this translators association was to standardise working conditions and terms of employment of short-term language professionals who worked for international organisations, in particular those which work under the aegis of the United Nations system.
The activities engaged by this international translation association may be summed up into two big groups. On the one hand, AITC endeavours to defend the interests of its members; on the other hand, it tries to make sure that the work performed by them is of the highest quality, corresponding to the clients’ expectations. AITC is aimed at freelancers rather than employees of translation companies.
AITC provides its members with advice on all aspects of their profession, with particular concern with their terms of employment, both considering the organisations within the United Nations system and all other international organisations, including all non-governmental associations.
The primary purpose of AITC is to study the problems that arise from the profession’s exercise, at the same time as it stands for the moral and material interests of those who practise it. One of the main concerns of the translation association is to maintain high professional standards and to provide its members with a communication forum that allows the exchange of information and expertise between colleagues, at the same time as assistance and guidance is offered to those who are just starting in the field. Ethics are always a must-have for AITC.
The association’s headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland, but the people in charge of AITC make a point of saying it is never a definitive location. It is possible that they are “transferred to any other place, by decision of the General Assembly adopted by a two-thirds majority”.
The international translators association is responsible for several publications, including a professional code which – “as in all the liberal professions” – may prove useful to members, as they often are advised to refer to an ethical code that helps define their rights and duties, “which are inseparable from each other”.
Other than the code, AITC also publishes a directory, which is sent free of charge to all members of the translation association, as well as to approximately 400 employers. In it you may find all the relevant information on members (including name, permanent address, professional domicile, mother tongue and working languages, functions, willingness to accept work to be done at home). For members themselves, this “is an excellent way of making themselves known” and it “provides a practical means of finding the details of all their colleagues”.
In addition, the translators association publishes a newsletter that appears “at intervals”, to keep members up-to-date on the activities of the organisation, with particular attention to those organised by the executive committee. It also includes articles that allow members to get to know the new developments of interest to the profession, regarding the art of translation but also more practical issues such as employment.
Nowadays, The AITC has approximately 450 members, who are divided in four categories.
Active members are those who regularly practise the profession of freelance translator in the circumstances defined by the translators association’s bylaws. The member must have had at least 300 days’ experience previous to his / her admission, including at least 100 days during the two years ending on the date on which he or she applies for membership.
As for Candidate members, they are freelance professionals who have had 100 days’ experience in the field. Any person who fulfils these conditions is eligible to become a member of the translation association. However, the final decision will always be in the hands of the Executive Committee.
Candidate members may become Active members when they have added 200 days’ experience to the previous 100. If the experience is not acquired within a three year period, they shall cease to be members of the association. In terms of rights, the only difference between Candidate and Active members, is that they cannot serve on the association’s bureau or its disciplinary board.
Associate members are professionals who used to be Active members but no longer practise the profession. Permanent translators who fulfil the conditions for admission but for any reason does not wish to become an Active member may also apply for Associate membership.
An Associate member may, at any time, become or resume his status of Active member.
Finally, AITC also has Honorary members. The title may be conferred by the general assembly to any person who has earned the association’s gratitude.
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