The Fourth Asian Translators' Forum of the International Federation of Translators (FIT) opened on Friday morning at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
FIT President Betty Cohen and Lin Wusun, executive vice president of the Translators Association of China (TAC), spoke at the opening ceremony of the forum, whose theme is "Translation, Cognition and Interdisciplinary Studies."
Cohen spoke about the impact of globalization on the translation profession, saying that demand was growing in scope of languages as well as in volume of service.
"Professional translation is crucial for good international communication and efficient trade and exchanges between countries and economies. It is our role to make the public aware of the significance of translation," she said.
"We hope the range of venues will spread wider as a result of growing public recognition of the role translators and interpreters play in society and in international exchanges, and as a result of the growth of FIT membership on our continent," agreed Lin.
Lin also expressed hopes that participants would seize the opportunities provided by the forum to forge new ties, strengthen old friendships and exchange information and ideas. Such sharing will help to improve the status and standards of the translation profession.
Forum participants will hold parallel discussions under five sub-themes: translation and cognition, teaching of translation and interpretation, translation and mass media, translation and intercultural communication; and translation corpus and machine translation.
In addition, workshops will be held on the topics of "Western Translation Theories in China: Application and Critique" and "Translation and the Formation of Chinese Modernity." A round-table discussion on regional translation practices will also take place.
A number of renowned scholars in the field of translation and interpretation are taking part in this year's forum. They include Edwin Gentzler, director of the Translation Center and professor of Translation Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the US; Cay Dollerup, editor-in-chief of Perspectives: Studies in Translatology and professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark; and Theo Hermans, professor of Dutch and Comparative Literature, University College London.
The translation associations of China and South Korea initiated the FIT Asian Translators' Forum in 1995. Previous conferences were held in Beijing 1995, in Seoul in 1998 and in Hong Kong in 2001.
Under the auspices of the Chinese Ministry of Education, the current forum is co-hosted by TAC and Tsinghua University. It will close on October 31.
During the forum, an international exhibition of books on translation and interdisciplinary studies will be held.
The Foreign Languages Press will publish a collection of selected dissertations by participants to the forum in both English and Chinese. Some outstanding papers will be recommended to international and Chinese academic magazines, including Perspectives: Studies in Translatology and the Chinese Translators Journal.
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Chen Chao, October 30, 2004)