1. Equivalence in Diversity
CIUTI and its members aim to ensure a high quality in the training of translators and interpreters. In order to uphold this quality against the background of different national frameworks, CIUTI subscribes to the principle of equivalence in diversity. CIUTI does not seek uniformity in the degrees of translators and interpreters offered at its member institutions. Rather, the diverse structures of higher education in the countries of the CIUTI members should be exploited to ensure that the same quality standards are reached at the end of the degrees.
Membership of CIUTI should signify to the outside world that the contents and the examination standards, as well as the knowledge, attitudes and skills are of equivalent quality. The following principles should be observed:
2. Translating and Interpreting in higher education
According to the CIUTI statutes and the Guidelines for New Membership published in 1995, the programmes should combine practical training in translating and interpreting with academic qualifications. Translation and interpreting (T and I) programmes belong to the domain of theoretical and applied translation studies. Hence, they should equip students with the theoretical basis and the methods of translation studies and prepare them for the multifarious translation profession.
At the heart of the curriculum lies more than mere language training. Competence in the native language and one or two foreign languages is, in the best case, a precondition. The core of the T and I curriculum consists of translation training.
T&I studies, as described below and as practised at CIUTI member institutes, are a discipline in their own right, to be distinguished from neighbouring disciplines such as Applied Languages, Area Studies, or, more generally, Cultural Studies. At the same time there is an interdisciplinary collaboration with these disciplines.
In accordance with the principle of an academic education, the curriculum should be based on the theoretical and applied research of the teaching staff, who should have relevant academic qualifications. At the same time, the teaching staff should be able to introduce professional experience and provide training that is relevant for the profession.
2.1. Aims of the programme
Translation and/or interpreting require the competence of producing a text – on the basis of a written or oral input, that fulfils a specific purpose in the culture of another language. A good translational performance is ipso facto purpose oriented: the quality of a translation or an interpretation can only be measured against the standard of the fulfilment of its purpose.
2.1.1. A translation degree develops the competence of analysing a written text and turning it into another language for the target culture, as required by the function of the text and the expectations of the target culture. In the course of the programme, the student acquires the basics and techniques of translation in working with professionally relevant text types.
2.1.2. An interpreting degree develops competences of simultaneous and consecutive interpreting. Both imply the ability to quickly understand and analyse spoken text, distinguishing between major and minor points and rendering those reliably and appropriately in a spoken text in the target language.
For consecutive interpreting, the ability is developed to take in all the information of longer spoken texts by means of special note-taking techniques so as to be able to render this text appropriately with the correct details and nuances.
For simultaneous interpreting the ability is developed to understand speeches in real time and render them in the target language simultaneously. This is involves a targeted practice of strategies like anticipation, recognition and structuring of main lines of thought, and self-monitoring of one’s spoken performance.
In the training provided by CIUTI member institutions, conference interpreting occupies a central place.
3. Focus: translation competence
The aim of a degree course offered at a CIUTI member institute is to acquire a translation competence, which implies at least the competences described below.
3.1. Competence in the native language
For translators and interpreters an above average mastery of their native language (A language) is a prerequisite. Because of its importance for any translation performance, it should be further developed and refined in the course of the curriculum by means of specific practice activities, so that students are able to analyse and summarise all kinds of texts, correct and edit texts, or produce texts themselves.
Because of the increasingly demanding standards of the globalised translation business, competence in the native language will be a defining characteristic for any translation or interpreting performance in the professional world.
The level to be acquired in the A language is the C2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference.
3.2. Competence in the foreign language(s)
A general competence in the foreign language(s) (B or C languages) is also a prerequisite for fulfilling translation tasks. Either this competence is present at the outset, in which case it will be perfected in the course of the curriculum, or (especially in the case of C languages) it will be acquired, developed and perfected.
Foreign language competence is a prerequisite for achieving proficiency in specialised language use. Most translators and interpreters will, in their professional life, work with specialised texts, and will, in their chosen language or language combinations, specialise in domains such as technology, medicine, natural sciences, agriculture, economy, law, international organisations etc., which presupposes a specialised topical knowledge. Hence, the programme will also pay attention to the skills needed to quickly acquire the knowledge of such domains, to conduct individual research and to access the relevant information sources.
As a consequence of the variety of specialised texts, the students can only be acquainted with the problems of specialised translation and terminology. They will be introduced to the various results of text linguistic analyses of specialised texts and to the principles of terminological research, including terminology searching and computer-assisted terminology management.
3.3. Intercultural competence
As communication is always localised in a specific culture and society, background knowledge of the culture of both source and target language is necessary. In translating and interpreting, the aim is not merely to render written or oral text in another language by replacing words and observing the rules of grammar. Rather, there is a complex transfer from the source culture and language into the target culture and language where a series of text-internal and text-external factors may play a role. Hence the students should acquire an intercultural competence that enables them to include the socio-cultural context in the translation process, recognising the possible differences between sender and receiver, and taking these into account.
CIUTI member institutes recognise the importance of this intercultural component, as it is only possible to really translate on the basis of a thorough knowledge of the cultures concerned (including their translation culture).
3.4. Translator’s competence
Translation studies investigate both the process and the product of translation. Hence, academically-schooled translators should also be equipped to approach their task from a scholarly angle. This requires knowledge of the theoretical basis of the discipline, and of ongoing research and developments.
The curriculum will introduce the various models and methods of translation studies, focusing on the processes of translating and interpreting, because the ultimate goal is the acquisition of procedural competence.
In view of the information and communication technology available, a familiarity with translation tools is obligatory. Access to the World Wide Web will enable translators to participate in the worldwide translation market. Moreover, translators and interpreters should be taught to make efficient use of the available information and communication technologies and use computer-assisted translation tools to manage their projects.
Finally, the curriculum should also pay attention to social and communicative skills, including more general skills that allow students to apply their acquired competence in the ever-changing professional context, such as teamwork skills, communication skills, problem solving skills and the ability to work in interdisciplinary teams.
3.5. In sum
In sum, the link between professional training and academic qualification required from CIUTI member institutes is reached when all the above-mentioned components are well and truly integrated as translation competence in the curriculum. It is up to the institutes to decide how exactly the different components are integrated; furthermore there are no specific requirements as to the weighting of the different components.
In view of the broad range of demands on the market concerning translation and interpreting, the institutes are of course free to offer specific MA degrees with other profiles and to name them accordingly. Examples that come to mind are an MA in Literary Translation, in Court Interpreting, in Community Interpreting, in International Management and Intercultural Communication, in Language and Technology etc.
However, CIUTI members should, in accordance with the statutes, provide at least the above-mentioned mainstream degrees in translation and in conference interpreting.
4. Membership application
See the JOIN CIUTI page for information on the membership application procedure and the membership application form.