China.org.cn: What kind of organization is FIT?
Mr. Huang: FIT was founded in France in 1953 with the full support of UNESCO. Currently there are 120 members from both Europe and sundry other countries. Despite its relatively small territory, Europe's strong economy has helped produce a boom for its translation industry. With around 20 members in the European Union, any EU document needs to be translated into more than 20 languages. The Translation Department is the largest in the EU Institutions. Most of the previous 17 congresses were held in European countries, apart from one in Australia and a few others in North America.
FIT has brought many European translation associations together and done much work in protecting the interests of translators. For example, if a translated book is borrowed from a library in Norway, author and translator can claim equal royalty in copyright. This has given a big boost to the translation industry. Now the industry needs unified standards for such things as payment accreditation. FIT is working hard on this. Thirdly, translating can be a dangerous job. Wherever there is a war translators will definitely be needed, but a translator’s life is worth little if he becomes a casualty on the battlefield. As a result, FIT is now considering emulating the International Federation of Journalists in issuing certificates to protect translators’ legitimate rights and interests. FIT also hosts a series of activities ranging from workshops to seminars.
China.org.cn: Would you please share your experience about being elected as a Vice President of FIT?
Mr. Huang: The FIT World Congress is a triennial event. The Council is its governing body, made up of 17 commissioners, some of whom are from Japan and Korea. As early as 1987, TAC joined FIT, and obtained several places on the Council. With China’s translation industry taking shape, TAC has an ever-closer contact with FIT and draws on experience from other members. After I was elected as commissioner, I made greater efforts to help TAC gain influence in FIT.
Three years ago, I was proposed on a slate of candidates for FIT Vice President. I hesitated to take up the offer because I was not sure I could commit the time required – online discussions, attending thrice-yearly meetings in Europe or US, and fulfilling duties as a liaison officer for Asian members are all part and parcel of a Vice President’s job. But a lot of my Chinese colleagues encouraged me to accept the post. My boss also persuaded me, saying that this was a unique opportunity, not only for me but also for the development of China’s translation industry. So I leapt at the opportunity and have progressed through the top management hierarchy. My success reflects FIT’s acknowledgement of the impressive progress TAC has made in recent years.
China.org.cn: What have you done as a Vice President of FIT?
Mr. Huang: After being elected, I set myself a number of objectives, for example to bring China’s translation industry into line with international standards, and to strengthen the ties between TAC and FIT. To this end, one aim was to bring the FIT World Congress to China to provide translators with an opportunity to meet and discuss translation. This year China will hold two great events, one is the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the other is the FIT World Congress that has been dubbed “The Translation Olympics”. It is the first time in its 55-year-long history that the triennial FIT World Congress is to be held in Asia.
(China.org.cn by He Shan, July 23, 2008)