Conférence internationale permanente d'instituts universitaires de traducteurs et interprètes Excellence in T&I training and research

Our Profile

CIUTI is an organisation dedicated to excellence in translation and interpretation - in research as well as training. By nature, CIUTI is truly multinational and accommodates members from all continents and with different national and cultural settings. However, CIUTI members share a quality philosophy which results in a common profile.

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.