On 9 April SCIT took part in the EMCI seminar on the future of the interpreter’s profession and the challenges of interpreter training in today’s world. The participants – mostly leaders of interpreter training programs at universitites and practicing interpreters themselves – discussed the latest tendencies in the interpreter labour market, the work conditions and the use of remote interpretation platforms. The need to address the issues of remote interpreting in the training process is beyond doubt. EMCI has granted free access to the KUDO platform this year to be used in interpreter training, and SCIT makes an active use of it. The KUDO platform will be used for the EMCI student meeting on 21-23 April 2021. The possibility of granting free access to online interpretation platforms for all EMCI members for the next academic year is being discussed at the moment. Regular meetings and consultations with the world-renown industry experts, similar to the one on 9 April, helped the School to go through the tough pandemic period with the minimal damage to the training process.
This week a series of master-classes of Kirill Kazakov, Russian MFA interpreter and SCIT graduate, has started at SCIT. Kirill has vast experience in interpreting on the highest level, for the top state officials; he is frequently invited to give talks on interpretation in the diplomatic sphere at various T&I fora and meetings. For the SCIT master-classes Kirill has prepared a special set of exercises to activate the diplomatic vocabulary, as well as speeches to train in the consecutive and simultaneous modes. The students jumped at the opportunity to ask him all kinds of questions about MFA interpreting, and Kirill gave direct and detailed answers. The students highly appreciated the class as very useful and intensive, and are looking forward to new meetings.
The new week at SCIT was marked by the launch of the new terminological project with WIPO. Alena Bakhtina, SCIT graduate 2018, who completed a temporary contract with WIPO in 2020, is actively involved in supervising the work, alonside SCIT trainers Angelique Antonova and Sergey Afonin. The project deals with the subject area of dentistry and orthodontics, and each of the students is expected to research 7 recently introduced terms in their contextual usage to update the WIPO Pearl terminological base (https://www.wipo.int/reference/en/wipopearl/). The results are to be presented to WIPO in May 2021.
On 13 March Irina Alexeeva, SCIT Director, took part in the on-line seminar “Language mediator as a key figure in international communication”. The seminar was organized by Al Farabi Kazakh National University in Astana. In itself, discussing language mediation in the diplomatic sphere is quite topical, and it is not surprising that SCIT was invited to take part in the discussion. However, it was a pleasant surprise for Director Alexeeva to find among the forum participants SCIT graduates from the specialized Kazakh program, which was realized at the School some 5 years ago. They were Meiram Islam, Svetlana Filimonova, Nazira Umekova. Their presentations at the seminar made it evident that they are not only making brilliant careers in the sphere of diplomatic interpreting and translation and/or teaching T&I, but also serve as conductors of the SCIT principles and ideology with its focus on quality and professionalism.
75 people were active participants at the seminar, and other School graduates from the Kazakh program were among them, too.
The recording will soon be available on Youtube. Don’t miss it! There will be a lot of interesting and useful materials.
On 12 March SCIT held its first virtual conference with the Directorate General for Interpretation, European Parliament. The conference format was challenging: interpreting from Russian into English, which is currently a very popular format in the European Union. The topics varied from the representation of colour in different languages to functioning of the urban transport, incuding electric scooters. EP interpreters gave detailed feedback, generously shared their experience and gave advice to the SCIT students. At the same time they praised the SCIT trainers for the good level attained by their trainees. SCIT thanks the European colleagues – Jeraldine Wojcik, Andrew Bolton and Fenella Dodd – for their active participation in the conference and, largely, for taking part in bringing up the new generation of interpreters in Russia. Angelique Antonova, SCIT Deputy Director, acted as a moderator on the SCIT side.
On 6 March SCIT welcomed its graduates 2020 on the remarkable occasion: they received the long-awaited EMCI certificates. As is known, EMCI is a privileged consortium of 16 European universities offering Conference Interpreting programs with the recognized quality of education. Among its members are such renown schools as ESIT, ISIT, FTI (UNIGE), Charles University in Prague, Comillas University in Madrid, and others. SCIT is the only university in Russia which was granted this honour. The member universities jointly monitor the quality of training, and guarantee that member universities follow the stringent quality criteria. This is the reason why getting an EMCI certificate for a university graduate is nearly a seal of excellence, a proof of their high professionalism.
Some graduates 2020 were unable to attend the ceremony due to various reasons, and one of them is being actively engaged professionally. It is this cohort 2019-2020 that was impacted most of all by the lack of live interaction with each other and trainers in spring and summer 2020, and that is why every opportunity to come together counts as a special occasion. SCIT trainers and administration were happy to join them and share in the joy of the meeting. The new cohort were also present, and used this opportunity to ask questions, listen to the graduates’ stories of studying at SCIT, taking exams and entering the professional life.
On 26 February SCIT held the first virtual conference with the DG SCIC interpreters in this year. This conference is a part of the ongoing pedagogical assistance rendered to the School by the European Commission. Such events are an integral part of the training process at SCIT as they familiarize the students with the professional quality standards in the internaional organizaions. The training speecches areprepared by the European partners – practising interpreters, and they also give assessment to the students’ performance. Receiving feedback is of paramount importance for the students as they get valuable advice from the professional IO interpreters and accordingly adjust their learning strategies and improve the technique. The speech topics varied from road safety to stock markets. The School is grateful to the European colleagues – Michael Sommers and Alexander Drechsel – for taking part in the conference and the help they give in bringing up the new generation of interpreters. Angelique Antonova moderated the conference on the SCIT side.
On 3 and 4 December 2020 DG SCIC held a special on-line event SCIC meets Universities online. This year’s theme for discussions was interpreting in the times of a pandemic. Thought-provoking presentations and interesting discussions focused on such topical issues as interpreting practices, interpreteer training and interpreter selection in the times of a pandemic. Carlos Alegria, Director General DG SCIC (acting) opened the event with a welcomiing address, and Javier Hernández Saseta, DG SCIC, Head of Unit Multilingualism and Knowledge
development, stressed the importance of the topic for the professional community in his word of welcome. SCIT was represented by Deputy Director Angelique Antonova.
The first week of October traditionally marks a new stage in the SCIT training process – introduction of note-taking. We usually try to bring into this as many professional interpreters as possible so they could share the tricks of the trade. We believe that the more different approaches a student gets to know, the quicker he or she will be able to develop the personal system of one’s own with maximum efficiency.
This year a series of such master-classes was conducted by Ian Newton, trainer from FTI UNIGE and retired senior interpreter at ILO. The event became possible due to the Cooperation Agreement between St. Petersburg School of Conference Interpreting and Translaiton, Herzen University, and the Faculty of Translaion and Interpreting, Geneva University. There were two days of intensive classes covering theoretical preliminaries and practical training. Ian Newton prepared several speeches on current issues, and the students got down to work. Ian’s excellent English, his usual friendliness and good sense of humour came as the additional bonus to the classes. We are very thankful for this cooperation!