Translators Associations Asia Pacific: HKTS

To enhance the profession's standards

Translators Associations Asia Pacific: HKTSThe Hong Kong Translation Society was founded in 1971. It is a non-for-profit professional translators association with a clear mission: to enhance the standards and the professionalism of translation in Hong Kong. In 1991, the HKTS became a registered charitable organisation classified by the Hong Kong government, on the grounds of promoting education. It has been a member of the Translators Association of China since 1986 and of FIT since 1988.

During the celebration of the association’s twentieth anniversary, in 1991, a HK$400,000 Memorial Fund was established in dedication to modern Chinese translation guru Fou Lai, to further consolidate HKTS’ support to translation activities in Hong Kong.

According to the translation association, “there is no doubt that Hong Kong will continue to play a major role in the international world of business and communication, as well as occupying a key position in South-East Asia”. There will always be a great demand for translators and interpreters, as Hong Kong consolidates its part as “an effective bridge between China and the rest of the world”. HKTS benefits from a tax exempt status which was granted by the Inland Revenue Department of Hong Kong. The association is “wholly committed to its continual contribution to the cause of translation in Hong Kong”.

Some of the translators association’s activities involve providing opportunities for sharing and exchange of information and expertise. Thus, talks and seminars on translation and language related themes are held from time to time. There is also a bulletin – established in August 1972 – and a refereed journal called Translation Quarterly, founded in 1995. In addition, a members’ directory is also regularly published.

The Hong Kong Translation Society Scholarships, with the contribution of commercial sponsors, were established in 1991, in order to recognise academic achievements of translation students as well as to promote translation as a discipline in recognised local tertiary institutions. The translation association also conducted its own Diploma and Advance Diploma examinations from 1991 to 1995. These were specifically conceived to be exacting, practical tests on translating and interpreting, both at undergraduate and graduate levels. They offered opportunities to make people lacking formal qualifications more able.

Moreover, HKTS has also offered professional advice on various issues upon consultation. Examples of these are “translation and language education in Hong Kong, the English translation of the Basic Law of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Youth Translation and Simultaneous Interpretation”.

One of the society’s most important concerns is to maintain close ties with both local and international translation organisations. HKTS organises occasional visits to Chinese and Taiwanese associations, as well as partnerships with British and American institutions. There are regional, national and international conferences, in a strong attempt to promote academic and professional exchange between Hong Kong and other parts of the world.

There are seven HTKS membership categories. Ordinary members are local residents who satisfy one of a list of requirements (Bachelor Degree from a recognised tertiary institution, having passed the society’s Advanced Diploma Examination or at least seven years of practical translation / interpretation experience or related teaching experience) and who are duly seconded by a voting member.

Life members are Ordinary members who have been admitted by the Committee to this type of membership on payment of a Life membership fee. This will exempt the member from payment of annual subscription. They have the same rights as Ordinary members.

As for Associate members, there are local residents who either have a qualification in translation from a recognised tertiary institution or that have passed the society’s diploma examination or have qualified as members of the Institute of Linguists in the United Kingdom.

If you are an Ordinary or an Associate member leaving Hong Kong and you wish to retain membership of the association, you may apply for Corresponding membership. This category is also for non-local residents with practical experience in translation or teaching of the subject who are duly proposed by a voting member and seconded by another voting member.

Any student who has registered with a full-time translation programme and subscribes to the society’s objectives, may be admitted as a Student member. However, this status will not be sustained after graduation or if leaving the educational institution.

Both Fellow and Honorary Fellow members are elected by the Committee from time to time to distinguish those who have given an outstanding contribution to the translators association.

Keep in mind that In Hong Kong, English and Chinese are the official languages as defined in the Basic Law. 97 % of the population speaks Cantonese Chinese. The population of Hong Kong is of approximately 7 million inhabitants.

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