Translators Associations Europe: ASTTI

Like a Swiss watch

Translation Associations Europe: ASTTIThe Swiss Terminologists, Interpreters and Translators Association (Association Suisse des traducteurs, terminologies et interprètes, ASTTI) was founded in 1966. With the precision of watches famously made in the country, it has been working since then on the defence of the profession. Nowadays, it has several hundreds of members. It is based in Berne.

This translation association stands for professional, judicial, economic and social interests of its members. ASTTI encourages continuous training and education and seeks permanent improvement of its members’ professional skills. The organisation has a commitment towards acting as an intermediary between the constituents and language specialists and is able to ensure its work’s “high quality level”. This happens particularly because the technical skills of each candidate to ASTTI’s membership are evaluated by an admission committee, under a very strict admission policy.

The database of the Swiss translators association has over 400 professionals and can be used by anyone, free of charge.

As a client, the ASTTI guarantees that the translator, interpreter or terminologist whose services you hire is “committed towards satisfying the highest demands”. You will be collaborating with a member of the association whose work and services have been examined making use of rigorous admission procedures. It is a guarantee given by the Swiss translation association that the professional you choose to work with “will not accept tasks for which he doesn’t qualify”, linguistically and professionally. Deadlines are always respected – it is expected that ASTTI’s members wear Swiss watches as well – just like confidentiality.

If you wish to become a member of ASTTI, you must know there are five different membership categories. Active membership is open to all freelance translators living in Switzerland, as well as all translators with Swiss nationality living abroad. Active members have the right to vote and access to all services and advice offered by ASTTI. They are also in the association’s published directory. To become an Active member, you must download the admission form (or request it from the secretariat) and fill-in the details, making sure your specialities are well indicated. Don’t forget the documents that form your professional folder (you can check them out on the association’s website). Finally, send the full dossier to ASTTI’s secretariat, in Berne. You will receive an acknowledgement saying we have received your application. Two or three months later, you will be informed whether your application has been accepted.

The Associated member category was initially aimed primarily at people who were still studying or new to the job. In 2005, the category was opened to all persons who cannot or will not become active members, but who share the goals of the translators association. With a reduced fee (150 Swiss francs per annum, in contrast with 350 Swiss francs for active members), they benefit from the whole service list, however they cannot vote and are not included in the published directory. To apply for this category, make sure you fulfil the necessary conditions, request the corresponding form and send your dossier to the association’s secretariat. Your dossier will be judged during a 30 to 45 day period, after which you will receive a reply by post.

Passive members are persons who no longer work actively in the profession but wish to stay in touch with their colleagues. Their names will not be published in the directory. As for Honour members, they are distinguished because of exceptional contributions or because of their services to the profession. These members don’t have to pay any fees.

There is a final category, called Supporting members. It generally comprises businesses (translation companies or others), either public or private that, through financial support, have decided to support the efforts ASTTI makes in favour of translation, terminology and interpreting professions. Fees are equivalent to the double of active members’. In order to become a Supporting member, you should address the presidency of ASTTI directly.

When you choose a category, make sure it is the one that suits your purposes and condition.

ASTTI has put together a set of commitments that all members must respect and defend. As a linguist, you must demand high quality standards, refuse all tasks that do not apply to your language combination or your specialised domain. You must also make a contribution towards the good reputation of the profession and the association itself. It is imperative that you show solidarity and collegiality, renouncing to all disloyal competition and inappropriate publicity. All litigious situations must be submitted to the Swiss Terminologists, Interpreters and Translators Association’s judicial office.

Keep in mind that Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. However, only the first three are considered official the Federal Administration of the Swiss Confederation. About 64% of the population speaks German, 20% speak French and 6.5% use Italian as their language.

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