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First Nat'l Test for Translators/Interpreters to Be Held

With a huge army of foreign language learners and teachers, China will hold its first national qualification test for English-oriented translators and interpreters on Dec. 6 and 7 this year.

Launched jointly by the Ministry of Personnel and the China International Publishing Group (CIPG) in July, the China Aptitude Test for Translators and Interpreters (CATTI) is regarded as the most authoritative test of its kind in the country.

China has seen a rapid development in the language field since the country started its reform and opening-up drive at the end of the 1970s. Currently, China has over 40,000 professional translators and interpreters.

The country's successful bid for the 2008 Olympic Games and its accession to the World Trade Organization also helped boost demand for professional translators and interpreters.

Wang Xiaochu, vice-minister of the Ministry of Personnel, said that the launching of the test was necessary to regulate the expanding sector.

"An effective management system becomes very crucial when the translating and interpreting industry enjoys great momentum in development," Wang said.

There are no nationally accepted qualification certificates for the translating and interpreting industry before CATTI is launched, though there are a number of tests organized by different regions and departments.

The launch of CATTI is expected to end the confusion caused by different testing systems, which will be stopped after CATTI is introduced.

CATTI certificates fall into four grades. As an experimental step, this year's test only covers Grades II and III, or the intermediate and elementary levels, of English.

Tests of the advanced level, or Grade I, and other languages including French, Japanese, Russian, German, Spanish and Arabic will start in later years.

The test will be held in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou this year, and more cities will be authorized to host the test in the future.

Application for the test has begun and will end on Nov. 10. The test is open to anyone, without limitations on age, educational background and work experience.

People from overseas can also take the test as long as they are legally employed in China.

Application information is available at www.china.com.cn and www.beaktrans.com.

(Xinhua News Agency October 22, 2003)

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