Translators Associations Global: CIUTI
The education of translators and interpreters
The International Permanent Conference of University Institutes of Translators and Interpreters (Conférence Internationale Permanente d’Instituts Universitaires de Traducteurs et Interprètes, CIUTI) is the oldest – “and most prestigious” – international association of university institutes related with translation and interpretation. It was founded in 1960. Membership requirements are very demanding, with “fulfilment of strict quality criteria” and a “distinct seal of quality”.
CIUTI is a non-profit interpreters and translators association under Belgian law. It has a Board and a Council and members of both organs are elected by the General Assembly. It devotes its activity to “excellence in T&I training and research”. For the organisation, to be part of the group is “both a rewarding status and a continuing challenge in the light of changing market needs and ongoing research”.
The international translation association was born when the world was still in the process of recovering from the huge blow of World War 2. In the 60s, the demand for competent translators and interpreters was exploding. For that reason, the translation and interpretation institutes of the universities of Geneva, Hei¬del¬berg, Mainz/Germersheim, Paris-Sorbonne, Saar¬brücken and Tri¬este started a quality circle that ended up developing into the worldwide translators association nowadays known as CIUTI. These days, CIUTI has “over 40 quality-screened members”.
As mentioned above, CIUTI is an organisation that dedicates to excellence in translation and interpretation. Its members are trained to be qualified professionals, ready to work for the finest translation agencies. The association also works in research.
CIUTI is a “truly multinational” translation association. It accommodates members from all continents, with multiple national and cultural backgrounds and settings. The one thing that unites all members of this organisation seeded in Belgium is “a quality philosophy which results in a common profile”.
Members of CIUTI, as well as the organisation itself, aim at ensuring high quality in training of professionals in the field. So that the quality is upheld “against the background of different national frameworks”, CIUTI makes use of the principle of equivalence in diversity. The interpreters and translators association doesn’t look for uniformity in degrees. On the contrary. It is the diverse structures of higher education in each member’s respective country that “should be exploited to ensure that the same quality standards are reached at the end of the degrees”.
CIUTI seeks for its members a standard meaning that the contents and the examination standards, as well as the knowledge, attitudes and skills are of equivalent quality. This standard should be realised by the outside world.
The international translation association wishes that “the link between pro¬fes¬sional train¬ing and aca¬d¬e¬mic qual¬i¬fi¬ca¬tion required from CIUTI mem¬ber insti¬tutes is reached when all the above-mentioned com¬po¬nents are well and truly inte¬grated as trans¬la¬tion com¬pe¬tence in the cur¬ricu¬lum”.
The names of the courses
For this interpreters and translators association, “in view of the broad range of demands on the market concernIng translation and interpretIng, the institutes are of course free to offer specific MA degrees with other profiles and to name them accordingly”. For example, an MA in Literary Translation, in Court Interpreting, in Community Interpreting, in International Management and Intercultural Communication, in Language and Technology etc.
However, institutional members of CIUTI must – in accordance with the statutes – offer at least mainstream degrees in translation and in conference interpreting.
Membership at CIUTI is available for institutions of higher education that offer programmes in translation, interpreting and multilingual communication. Membership may be acquired through a whole procedure that involves quality control of the curriculum, research, infrastructure and resources.
The procedure comprises four major stages. First, an institute submits a candidacy by filling out the application form. This application is then screened on compliance with formal criteria laid down in the CIUTI profile. In case they succeed, candidates are invited for the second stage, which comprises the drawing up of a self-assessment report. This document will be the basis for assessment by the association’s admission committee. When they reach second stage, candidates must pay an administrative admission fee (250 euro).
The third stage is a visit, by two CIUTI experts, to candidates. These will evaluate in loco the teaching, research and facilities, as well as resolve any outstanding questions raised by the admission commission. Expenses involved in this 3-day visit must be paid by candidates. The commission will then produce a decision based on the reports provided by the expert. Successful candidates will be announced at the annual general assembly of the translation association. It is during this event that the final decision of admission or non-admission is made.
CIUTI has an open discussion platform aimed at all parties involved in translation and interpreting.
Within the setting of an annual conference, which usually takes place in Geneva, stakeholders in training, research, and practice are invited to discuss field-related “problems and solutions, current trends, and anticipated developments”. Topics recently discussed go from the role of languages in a changing global market to market-oriented training, as well as translation quality issues.
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