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Translation Training Improved

Shanghai's first training center for simultaneous interpreters was launched at Shanghai International Studies University yesterday.

The center was set up at the newly established Graduate Institute of Interpretation and Translation to ease the deficiency of top-level interpreters in China, university officials said.

With a total investment of more than 4 million yuan (US$481,927), a new interpreter training lab with eight interpretation booths was built at SISU. All the booths are equipped with audio-visual equipment for two simultaneous interpreters to work in turns at international conferences.

Andrew dawrant, a senior interpreter at the United Nations, was invited to be the dean of the interpreta-tion institute, becoming the first foreign dean at SISU, university officials said.

So far, eight students -- including both fresh university graduates and interpretation teachers with working experiences -- have enrolled at the institute after passing strict exams on their English and Chinese language skills.

Students will receive training for five hours a day on interpretation, translation and conference management. Speeches given at recent international conferences -- such as the Forbes Forum held in Shanghai last week -- will be used as training materials instead of fixed textbooks.

Officials from the International Association of Conference Interpretation (AIIC) will be invited to test students' ability in a real working environment and award certificates to quali-fied graduates, officials said.

"We aim to train qualified simultaneous interpreters not only for Shanghai but for China and the world as well," said Chai Mingjiong, the institute's president.

Chai said there are 8,000 people in the city with interpretation certificates issued by the Shanghai Personnel Bureau, but less than 10 people have an AIIC certificate.

Currently, many international conferences are interpreted by teachers and English majors at local universities, who may be qualified for ordinary business negotiations but lack the skill needed for high-level conferences.

"Simultaneous interpre-tation is a really demanding job because it requires wide knowledge in addition to language ability," said Omar Abou-Zahr, head of the English interpreting unit at the European Commission.

(eastday.com September 22, 2003)

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