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FIT World Congress: translators gala in Shanghai
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A star-laden congress with the highest academic standard

The FIT World Congress might be described as the "Olympics" of translation circles, appealing to the most able translation professionals.

The congress has announced four keynote speakers. One of them is Yohannes Mengesh, assistant secretary-general of the United Nations General Assembly and Conference Management.

"He will talk about the role of translating in the UN, a very interesting topic alluding to a more serious issue – equality and cultural shock. In addition, he will offer his opinions on the significance of 2008 Language Year," said Huang.

Another keynote speaker is Karl-Johan Lönnroth, the director general of the Directorate for Translation (DGT) of the European Commission.

"The DGT of the European Union is the largest translation service in the world. Any speech in the EU is translated into all the EU languages; it is an exemplary display of respect for language diversity," said Huang.

The other two speakers are Wu Jianmin and Gu Yueguo.

"As a prestigious diplomat, press spokesman, cultural ambassador, and the President of the Bureau of International Exhibitions, one who has borne witness to many political events, Wu Jianmin will share some of his personal experiences to show the importance of translation."

Gu Yueguo is a researcher at the Institute of Linguistics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and assistant principal at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, as well as executive vice dean of the Distance Education College. He will introduce the evolution of Chinese language and characters through an impressive presentation.

Many world famous translators such as Tang Wensheng, Shi Yanhua and Benoit Kremer, president of the International Association for Conference Translators, and Xu Yanan, head of the Chinese branch of the Translation Services under the Documentation Division of the United Nations' Headquarters will also come to the congress. This will be an invaluable opportunity to learn about both translation theory and practice, providing Chinese translation teachers with a perspective on international professional translator training.

Huang also noted that he had attended the FIT World Congress on behalf of the Translators Association of China (TAC) several times. But the number of famous translators attending this congress will surpass all previous events.

The congress will also be larger than previous ones. Huang said that previous FIT World Congress gatherings had offered up to 50 sub-forums at most – this congress will organize 88. With two keynote speeches, the congress will have a total of 90 forums presenting a comprehensive range of topics. Foreign and Chinese translators will give their respective speeches at the sub-forums, present a perspective on translation in their nations, and discuss a variety of topics. Every forum will introduce the translation industry in a number of countries, and highlight the vital connections between translation and multiculturalism.

TAC has a bright future to exchange with its international counterparts

Three years ago Huang Youyi was chosen as the vice president of the FIT at the 17th FIT Executive Meeting held in Tampere, Finland. This is the first time that a Chinese has assumed such an important post since TAC joined the FIT in 1987. Talking about his feeling for the job through the three subsequent years, Huang said, "My job with the FIT needs the backing of TAC and the whole Chinese translation effort. Just as FIT President Dr. Peter Krawutschke said, the Olympic torch has been passing around the world, and it will finally arrive in Beijing in August. World translators will also focus their attention here."

He told the reporters that working with the FIT is voluntary so he receives no payment. The responsibility also consumes a large amount of his spare time. "But our job could help deepen foreigners' understanding about China. Some of them have learned a lot about China. At first they knew nothing about China. Now they are beginning to speak up for China at some international gatherings. This is an extraordinary change. I think we have achieved great success and it is a worthwhile job. Of course it demands commitment, passion and devotion. The TAC secretariat is a good team. I am supported by both the TAC secretariat and the China International Publishing Group (CIPG)," He added."We won the opportunity to host the FIT World Congress because leaders of translators’ federations from various nations have a better understanding of China. 600 foreign translators will meet in Shanghai. This is the best reward for TAC."

With regard to TAC's future international cooperation and exchanges, Huang said that TAC will offer invitations to the Second China International Forum on the Translation Industry, to be held next April, to those attending the congress. "The Second China International Forum on the Translation Industry will be one of the international exchange activities carried out by TAC."

He also said that the international translation education market is developing quickly. One of the TAC's important jobs is therefore to work with the international translation education market to promote the development of the Chinese translation market. TAC's task would be to introduce advanced teaching materials and gain useful experience through contacts with the FIT and the translator's federations of other countries to speed up the training of the Chinese translators.

"This is only a beginning. We are fully confident about the future."

(China.org.cn by He Shan & Zhang Ming'ai, August 1, 2008)

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