On 6-12 July a module on institutional translation was organized for the Herzen-SCIT students by the Russian Section of the Verbatim Reports Service, UNHQ. This module is a part of the students’ internship, which was held distantly by Reviser Alexander Pankov. During the classes the students performed translations of the actual UN texts and discussed the results. Being a reviser, Alexander was very particular about the quality of the translation, trying to achieve clarity, accuracy and stylistic unity. The students had homework, which helped to make the classes really intensive. One of the tasks was to identify the imperfections and inaccuracies in the translations done by other people, and it was a good reviser’s practice for the students. In general, the students found this module very useful, and would like to keep on studying with Alexander.
On 16 June a Russia-US Summit took place in Geneva. We are proud that the talks between President Vladimir Putinand President Joe Biden, as well as the following press-conference of Russia’s President, were interpreted by SCIT graduates. The colleagues, including Americans, were unanimous in their high evaluation of the job done by our graduates. Congratualations to Daria Mandrova, Kirill Kazakov and Elizaveta Myshenkova! Well-done!
On 8 June SCIT held another virtual conference with DG SCIC. This was the last conference for this academic year, and during the class the trainers and students were able to estimate how well the students are prepared for the final examinations. At the conference the students practiced the consecutive interpretation from Russian into English and from English into Russian. The speeches dealt with such topical issues as migration, digitalization and Keizen philosophy, level of difficulty – advanced. We are happy that the European experts noticed that the students coped rather well. We hope it promises good results at the finals! We are grateful to Michael Sommers and Guy Laycock, DG SCIC interpreters, for the detailed commentary and valuable feedback.
On 17-19 May the 7th MoU Universities Conference was organized by the UN, and SCIT took an active part in this event. This year the conference was dedicated to the Power of Languages at the Time of Crisis. The 3-day agenda was packed with discussions: participants from the universities around the globe and the UN services took stock of the network cooperation in these difficult times, analyzed the challenges and the solutions. Carole Maisonneuve, United Nations Headquarters representative, updated the participants on the MoU activities and spoke about the impact the recent developments had on implementing the memorandum. We are happy that SCIT came in the top five of universities accroding to the number of internships and graduataes’ employability by the UN services. This can be viewed as a logical outcome of the close cooperation between SCIT and the UN Russian linguistic services: the predominant majority of the graduates had internships at the UN linguistic services, which immensely facilitated the passing of the LCE for them. As of today, 22 SCIT graduated are staff UN translators and interpreters.
The conference participants shared their experience of adapting the trainig process o the new reality and spoke about the measures taken to ensure the quality of training so that the graduates could compete successfully at the LCEs. Angelique Antonova, SCIT Deputy Director, addressed this issue in her presentation, and dwelt on the mixed format in the interpreter training in the present circumstances. Sergey Afonin, SCIT translation trainer, shared his insights into organizing the virtual translation training sessions. The participants discussed the future of the remote technologies and AI systems for the T&I training and the set of new professional skills required of language specialists. Special attention was paid to the organization of remote internships, and we pleased that SCIT students will have their share of them, too.
The conference participants utilized the platforms Interprefy and Zoom.
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.