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FIT conference accepts 7 new members
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By Patrick O'Donnell & Wang Ke

The XVIII Statutory Congress of the Federation Internationale des Traducteurs (FIT) opened in Shanghai on August 2. The meeting is ahead of the upcoming World Congress, held August 4-7 in Shanghai, which expects around 1,400 attendees.

According to its Web site, FIT is "an international federation of associations and organizations in the field of translation with members in more than 60 countries the world over. FIT represents the moral and material interests of more than 100,000 translators."

During the Statutory Congress, full member associations can meet about various issues facing the organization, such as admitting new members and getting updates about FIT's activities.

Lacking a gavel, Peter W. Krawutschke, outgoing president of FIT, rapped on his table at the front of the room to declare the opening of the congress. The first order of business was a vote on whether to accept associations applying for membership.

After a spirited discussion on voting procedure, FIT accepts seven new organizations as full members. They were from Ethiopia, Russia, India, Iraq, Romania, China's Macao, and the United States. This was a reflection of Krawutschke's goal of making FIT a more global organization. Five new associate and three new observer members were also approved.

Krawutschke then presented his report detailing the three years of his presidency. He and other executive council members spoke about some of FIT's accomplishments over his tenure. Huang Youyi, vice president of FIT, said Krawutschke did a good job raising the organization's profile, saying that the president has "helped put FIT on the map."

Members also said that, under Krawutschke's tenure, FIT made a priority of helping the plight of translators in dangerous areas. FIT has done things such as helping translators in Iraq find safe houses and sending members to speak before UNESCO asking for ideas on how to protect translators.

Peter W. Krawutschke, the president of the Federation Internationale des Traducteurs [Wang Rui/China.org.cn]

Krawutschke said after the meeting that he was most proud of the new FIT identification cards, which follow the lead of journalist identity cards. The goal of the card is to help translators become recognized in dangerous areas and raise the profile of members of the profession. He said that associations in rich countries have bought the US$25 cards and had them distributed to translators in places like Iraq and Cuba.

Despite his three years in office, Krawutschke remains humble. "I'm really not that important," he said. "It's the profession that's behind this that's important."

(China.org.cn August 3, 2008)

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