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Speech of Liu Xiliang at opening ceremony
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Liu Xiliang, President of the Translators Association of China, delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the 18th World Congress of the International Federation of Translators, August 4,2008.

The 17th FIT World Congress, held in Tampere, Finland, voted for Shanghai, China, as the venue for the 18th FIT World Congress in 2008, with Translators Association of China (TAC) as its host. This is the first time in its history that FIT has held a congress in Asia. Accepting the FIT flag from our Finnish colleagues, we felt both a great honor and a heavy responsibility.

TAC began preparations for the event immediately after the Tampere Congress. Under the leadership of the local organizing committee of the Congress, we have put all our efforts into promoting the Congress at home and abroad, assessing the 1,500-plus abstracts submitted, arranging financing for the Congress and making logistical arrangements. Now, we are happy to welcome the more than 1,500 participants from over 70 countries and regions to the Congress. The ancient Chinese thinker and philosopher Confucius said,"How happy we are to meet friends from afar."We sincerely hope that this Congress will facilitate communication and exchanges among our translator and interpreter colleagues worldwide, and increase our friendship. Such friendship was felt during the preparation for this Congress. After the devastating earthquake in China's Sichuan Province on May 12, we received letters of condolences from the FIT and our colleagues from Finland, Norway, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Canada, Nigeria, Albania and more. We appreciate your kind concerns very much.

Since TAC joined FIT in 1987, it has actively participated in international translation activities, and a number of its representatives have been elected Council Members of FIT. In 1995 TAC hosted the first FIT Asian Translators Forum. So far, the forum has been held five times in different countries and regions in Asia, and has become one of the most important regional activities in the translation field. In preparation for the Congress over the past three years, TAC has made wide contacts with translation organizations and institutions around the world, and increased its communication and coordination with them. We have the strong feeling that, as a bridge connecting different cultures, we translators and interpreters should first of all increase communications and exchanges among ourselves. We all know that a great deal needs to be done to enhance the status of translators and to uphold their intellectual and material interests. Under the guidance of FIT, we will work closely with other translation organizations and language workers to promote the recognition of translation as a profession, and further public appreciation of the value of translation.

Many domestic and international organizations, including the United Nations and in particular its subordinate body UNESCO, have paid great attention to the Congress in the preparation process. The Chinese government and Shanghai Municipality have supported the event, and many enterprises, institutions and individuals, including the Beijing Yuanpei Century Translation Co. Ltd and the Shanghai Oriental Translation Center, have generously sponsored the Congress. I wish to express our sincere gratitude for their support. I would also like to thank, on behalf of the Translators Association of China, all Congress participants for coming to the event.

I sincerely believe that this four-day gathering of the international translation community will be crowned with success.

Liu Xiliang is President of the Translators Association of China.

(China.org.cn August 4, 2008)

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