Master -classes of Ian Newton

26 October 2020|

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!

International Translation Day at SCIT

2 October 2020|

International Translation Day celebrated on 30 September was marked at SCIT by a series of interesting events.  On the day SCIT held the first in this academic year virtual conference with EC SCIC. The conference was devoted to self-training and lasted 3 hours. The expert from the EC SCIC side was Carlos Garcia,  who has vast experience in interpreting and acted as a trainer in a similar conference last year, too. He explained how to plan the self-training session, work with a study buddy, how to set targets for the self-training and check on the progress. The students found the lesson very useful and were genuinely grateful to Carlos for the tips.

On 1 October SCIT graduates 2020 were awarded their diplomas. Antiepidemic measures had their impact on the usual diploma award procedure, and this year the awarding ceremony and the traditional boat trip took place later than usual.  However, the diploma award ceremony was attended by Andrey Maksimov, Head of the Committee for Science and Higher Education, Government of St. Petersburg, and Yulia Komarova, Vice -Rector for International Cooperation, Herzen University, who both warmly welcomed the graduates. Together with diplomas the graduates received SCIT certificates and books as gifts.

Another meeting of the open seminar Terra Translatologica also took place on 1 October.  This time the participants discussed the work of translation agencies in the times of crisis. The main speakers were Yulia Shestovskikh, a staff translator at the Vosstania, 6 Translation Agency and a SCIT trainer, and Fiodor Kondratovich, director of the LingvaKontakt Translation Bureau.  Elena Tarasova also joined the discussion.

The present-year SCIT students, however, were busy participating in their first mock conference. This is an important milestone for them as they and the trainers draw conclusions on their first month at SCIT – what they learned, how well they can prepare and deliver speeches, how effectively they work with their partners.  Of course, they were excited. But everything worked well for them, each one of them got his or her share of praise and critique. From now on mock conferences will be a weekly event. Let us wish them success!

Master class of Andrey Falaleyev

21 September 2020|

On 17 September SCIT hosted a special guest. Andrey Falaleyev, a famous interpreter came to meet SCIT’s new students and talk to the trainers, as is his habit at the beginning of each academic year. The meeting proved to be very interesting if sometimes suprising for the students, and they all were duly impressed by our famous guest. We are happy to have been able to organize the meeting  with Andrey Falaleyev in person. Needless to say we will be happy to see him at SCIT anytime.

SCIT’s participation in EMCI General Assambley

14 September 2020|

On 11 September Angelique Antonova, SCIT Deputy Director, took part in the work of EMCI General Assambley which convened virtually.   Representatives of member-universities discussed many and various issues: the ways chosen by each university to adapt the educational process to the distant format, the range of resources employed on the way, the steps to be taken to meet the challenges the future may hold in store. The colleagues were unanimous that the pandemic changed the profile of the T&I profession, and practicing translators and interpreters had to test the new software in the emergency mode, and many solutions are only to be discovered and tried.   Such tectonic shifts couldn’t but affect the training process at T&I schools. In the past academic year SCIT made active use of the KUDO and GoReact software, and thanks to that the training process in consecutive and simultaneous interpreting did not stop for a day. In the current year SCIT managed to select enough students to run the program as well as to engage in the training those who objectively cannot attend the classes in person as yet.  SCIT is optimistic about the future and hopes to uphold its reputation regardless of the challenges of the day.

(Русский) Начало учебного года в ВШП

7 September 2020|

On 1 September  SCIT started a new academic year. The School opened its doors to those who successfully passed through the sieve of distant entrance examinations, and for the first time they walked the SCIT corridors, appreciated the new equipment, met the teachers and graduates. The opening ceremony was without pomp, there were no important guests or long speeches, but it was not less warm for that! The traditional tea party gave the newcomers the chance to get to know each other better, ask their trainers or graduates some questions. For the first time the new students have felt  they are becoming a part of a big professional community, and only hard work can earn them a worthy place there. Ahead of them is a fascinating though difficult  year, let us wish them inspiration and perseverance!



SCIT’s final mock conference for the Russian MFA

9 July 2020|

SCIT traditionally finishes the academic year with an extracurriculum mock-conference organized especially for the Linguistic Support Department of the Russian MFA. This year the conference was held on-line. We decided to show the graduates at work with the languages that are most in demand in the MFA (they are English, German, French and Spanish).  The confrence was devoted to migration in today’s world. The speeches touched upon various aspects of the problem: the laws prohibiting to help illegal migrants in Switzerland, the influence of migratory processes on Russia’s economy, migration to the European Union, and even the Swiss enclave in Brazil. The speeches lasted 6 to 8 minutes, and  were interpreted consecutively in different language pairs; then there was a Q&A session, also interpreted consecutively. As a rule, questions and answers are the most difficult part of the conference. The MFA colleagues tried to find a weak spot, and brought in  the names of mushrooms and spices, difficult idioms, long quotations from the UN Secretary General, and even poetry. The graduates wouldn’t yeild, and showed good skills and potential for growth.

We are thankful to the colleagues from the Rssiam MFA who took part in the conference, asked questions and evaluated the graduates: Andrey Kleimenov, head of the section at the Linguistic Support Department, Victor Abramov, and  Daria Mandrova, SCIT graduate and currently a staff interpreter at the Russian MFA. We are certainly very grateful to all SCIT trainers who put time and effort in preparing and holding the conference.

Finals 2020 Are Over!

25 June 2020|

19 June was a remarkable day for SCIT. We have completed the 2019/2020 final examinations!  Translation and interpretation, students’ stress and strain about the exams and examiners’ exhaustion by the hours-long Zoom conferences, perseverence of the observers from international organizations – Mr. Kirill Kasyanov, Chief of the Russian booth at UNON and Mr. Liam Long and  Mr. Michael Sommers, interpreters of the Directorate General for Interpreting, European Commission, – all these are over and done with! We have left the anxieties of the past days behind, and now are congratulating nine newly-minted interpreters who are entering the field of professional linguistic services. Our grads have overcome. Well-done! Let us wish them luck!

First Round of SCIT Entrance Exams Is Over

18 June 2020|

Finally we are ready to announce the results of the entrance exams for SCIT. After two weeks of rigorous testing the commission recommended 11 people for admission. The C languages are German, French, Spanish and Chinese. It is worth remembering that at the start there were 40 people competing for admission. Our hearty congratulation to the lucky ones and we hope to see them in person in September!
Given that in the present day situation some people may decide against coming to St.Petersburg the SCIT administartion decided to announce another round of entrance exams which are scheduled to take place on 19-27 August 2020. This s the last call for those who missed it, or didn’t dare in June, or changed plans.

Distant classes with UN translators

14 May 2020|

When people talk about SCIT  they generally mean interpreting. However, translation takes no less time and place in the trainig process. In fact, there are 20 SCIT graduates currently working in the UN translation services, and this fact speaks for itself.

Traditionally in April SCIT hosted Mikhail Kuzmenko, Senior Reviser from the Russian Translation Section at UNOG. He came to take part in the aptitude tests and give master-classes to the students, trained them for the internship programs in the UN offices. Mikhail Kuzmenko is an excellent reviser, and his commentaries and explanations are  very useful and always to the point.

This year the situation is different. But hardly any worse! Mikhail Kuzmenko  supervises the institutional translation project carried out by the students. They translate UN documentation and discuss the work in the Zoom conferences. SCIT trainer Sergey Afonin is also involved in the project. He is present at the classes and draws advice from his vast experience of working for the international organizations.

Distant pedagogical assistance from UN

20 April 2020|

SCIT has close ties with the UN, and the Herzen University signed the Memorandum of Uniderstanding with the UN in 2008. SCIT graduates have their internship at the UN offices around the globe, some found permanent employment at the UN. Staff UN interpreters and translators come to SCIT with master-classes or to observe at final exams or aptitude tests.

Even at the present moment of COVID-19 confinement SCIT and UN continue the cooperation. Despite the fact that some series of master-classes have been cancelled due to the pandemic, SCIT students are not left without mentorship from the international organizations. Mr. Kirill Kasyanov, head of the Russian booth at UNON, has already given several virtual classes in institutional interpreting this semester, and on 17 April he had the first class on the KUDO platform allowing to teach simultaneous interpreting remotely. Mr. Kasyanov promised to make it a regular practice till the end of the semester.