FAO’s experience in organizing interpretation services

17 January 2019|

SCIT maintains an active dialogue with its international stakeholders, FAO being one of
its key partners. We are happy to recommend an article by Jonathan Clements, Officer-
in-Charge of the Interpretation Group at FAO, about the requirements for providing an
interpretation service at field meetings (See Our Publications). The article offers an
Interpretation Equipment Check-list, which many organizers of field events involving
interpretation as well as interpreters themselves may find useful. The author invites all
those interested to make use of the Check-list and adapt it as they wish.

UN Information Centre: Multilingualism as Basic Principle

18 December 2018|

The UN Information Centre’s annual seminar was marked by two landmark occasions – 70th  anniversary of the UN in Russia and declaring multilingualism a UN key principle.  The members of the UN-MoU Universities network with the Russian language – MGIMO, Moscow State University, Minsk State Linguistic University, Nizhni Novgorod Linguistic University and Astrakhan State University – presented their reports on the activities they carried out to promote the UN values and strengthen the position of the Russian language and culture worldwide. Vladimir Kuznetsov, Director of the UN Information Centre in Moscow, Alexei Fedorov, Deputy Director of the Linguistic Support Department of the Russian MFA, Vladimir Parshikov, Head of the Russian Translation section at UNOG, Alexandr Vorobiov, Deputy Director of the Conference Management Section at UNOV, spoke about developing cooperation with the universities and appreciated the SCIT trainers’ and students’ work during UN internships.  Kirill Barskiy, Permanent Representative of Russia at ESCAP, spoke about the ESCAP project for T&I trainers to develop their professional skills, where SCIT trainers are also included.  Vladimir Faekov, a patriarch of interpreter training in Russia, introduced the idea to develop a legal basis regarding the interpreter’s right to confidentiality. SCIT was represented by Director Irina Alexeeva and Deputy Director Angelique Antonova. Their report focused on the international conference on multilingualism organized by SCIT in June 2018, SCIT joining the international consortia EMCI and CIUTI, and the portal of T&I training resources with Russia’s ethnic languages developed jointly by the Russian Academy of Education and SCIT, which manifests the UN humanitarian ideology.

SCIT at Translating Europe Forum

26 November 2018|

The 5th edition of the Translating Europe Forum on ‘translation in the age of data’ brought together around 500 professionals from the language industry, academia and the public sector in Brussels on 8-9 November 2018. Many more followed the event online via live web-stream. SCIT was represented by Deputy Director Angelique Antonova.

During the Forum the participants could discuss the main trends and challenges the profession is facing. The Forum addressed the impact of artificial intelligence on society and the language industry, highlighted the importance of personal perspective and the possibility of ‘reframing translation’. The panel discussions looked into what kind of data is relevant, what ‘clean data’ means and how translators can benefit from the data they produce. Sharing translation data, legal aspects and latest developments in neural machine translation were discussed as well. The Forum also offered an overview on what the EU is doing: the Connecting Europe Facility, the multilingual ‘digital single market’, education, growth and jobs.

Voenmech visiting SCIT

9 November 2018|

Following the master-classes for Voenmech trainers and students held by Director Irina Alexeeva recently, the delegation from this famous university visited SCIT. Voenmech (the Ustinov Baltic State Technical University) has various programmes for technical translators. The guests were interested to learn about training at SCIT, attended classes in consecutive interpreting (a mock conference on ecology) and a translation class. The parties agreed to continue professional contacts and exchanges.

29 October – 1 November 2018: About Russia, In English Seminar

8 November 2018|

In three sessions, between Monday, 29th October, and Thursday, 1st November 2018, four of the winners of the Young Nabokovs Award – Aliya Abdrafikova, Alex Chesnokova, Irina Kudryavtseva, Nikita Stychinsky, – underwent a transformative 3-part seminar on how to write and talk about Russia, in English.

The aim of the seminar was to coach talented young Russians into writing materials in English, which could be of interest to people around the world who want to find out more about the real Russia.

The final result of the seminar was to produce a 90 second video, in English, with English subtitles, for publication on YouTube.

Hosted by Angelique Antonova, Deputy Director of the St Petersburg School of Translation and Interpreting, and taught by Professor Viktor Kabakchi, and Will Hackett-Jones, a trainer at the St Petersburg School of Translation and Interpreting and CEO of Eclectic Translations, the seminar was a veritable master class in using Russian-culture oriented English.

The students learned about the process of taking an idea for a video to the synopsis stage, then on to script and storyboard stages; about the importance of message over medium; about speaking to camera, sound quality, lighting, video editing, voiceover, and finally subtitling. This was an immense amount of information to grasp over three short sessions, but they proved they were worthy of winning their Molodye Nabokovy (Aspiring Nabokovs) awards, but picking up the materials taught quickly, learning new skills, and doubtless working hard on their videos late into the night.

The results were beyond any of the instructors’ expectations, and we all hope that these videos are just the beginning of a positive flow of truthful information about Russia from a young generation of talented new writers, telling the rest of the world what it’s really like to live and learn in modern Russia.

Aliya Abdrafikova

Irina Kudryavtseva

Nikita Stychinsky


SCIT takes part in public debate over T&I Professional Standard at HSE

5 November 2018|

On 11 – 12 October, Director Irina Alexeeva took part in III National Conference on Staffing Policies at Universities: Consolidating Human Capital  sponsored by the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Director Alexeeva was a key speaker in the thematic debate on  Professional Standards as a Way to  Integrate Business, Education and Research Practitioners as a Community of Professionals. SCIT practices and achievements were analyzed as a case of innovative professional experience.

SCIT admitted to CIUTI

23 October 2018|

This week SCIT received a membership certificate from CIUTI – Conférence internationale permanente d’instituts universitaires de traducteurs et interprètes. The annual CIUTI meeting took place in May 2018 in Edinburgh, and SCIT’s admission was approved of by the CIUTI General Assembly. The membership in CIUTI is the sign of quality in T&I training and a guarantee that SCIT’s T&I graduates are able to competently deliver professional service. Yet it is not only the sign of quality, but a promise to maintain the high level of T&I training and an opportunity for ample networking with partner universities.


3-5 October: master-classes of Brian Gentle, DG SCIC interpreter

5 October 2018|

On 3-5 October SCIT hosted Brian Gentle, DG SCIC interpreter, with a series of master-classes on note-taking.  The classes were aimed to introduce the principles of note-taking as well as provide initial training in taking notes. A short lecture was followed by intensive practice: preparing and giving speeches, consecutive interpreting, analysis of the notes taken, and so on for three days! The students with German had a bonus: an additional class  in conscutive interpreting from German into Russian. As always, Brian won the audience with his professionalism and friendliness. The students are sure to have received a positive impetus to continue mastering the chosen profession. Thank you, Brian!

Mock Conferences Commenced

5 October 2018|

The week from 1 to 5 October was busy: the students had their first mock conference, the first virtual conference with the European Commission, there was a series of master-classes on note-taking from Brian Gentle, DG SCIC interpreter, and finally there was a celebration of the International Interpreter’s Day!

The mock-conference was the first serious test of the students’ achievements in the first month of studies: they prepared short speeches on a broad range of issues themselves and interpreted those of their fellows. Understandably, there were difficulties: the speeches were over difficult, the memory did not always work, or sometimes anxiety interfered with logic and coherence. Yet constructive feedback from the trainers will certainly help students to concentrate on their individual weaknesses and improve performance.

It was specifically this topic – setting individual training goals and tailoring the study process to address individual needs – that was the highlight of the first virtual conference with the European Commission conducted by Carlos Garcia Vico, DG SCIC interpretor. The conference tackled the organization of selt-training. The students discussed the concept of self-training in general, the kinds of activities the term comprises and the necessity to set individual training goals and monitor results while training independently or with a study buddy.  Again they practiced interpreting their partner’s speeches in consecutive, trying to formulate a specific study aim for each activity and give feedback on achieving it. Without doubt the virtual conference was useful, and the students will be more mindful about organizing their self-training. We are thankful to the European Commission for this important contribution to the SCIT study process.

Congratulations to Evgenia Yakovchik, winner of Cosines Pi in the nomination “Potential”

27 September 2018|

On 27 September 2018 Moscow State University became a venue for the final of the International Contest of Simultaneous Interpreters Cosines Pi.  Among the runners up were Evgenia Yakovchik, SCIT graduate of 2018, Ekaterina Bereznikova and Maria Afanasieva, both from St. Petersburg. The final competition included simultaneous interpretation of Neil Gaiman’s interview from English into Russian and a fragment of a talk show from Russian into English.  The Jury panel headed by D. Yermolovich included around 20 people, among them professional interpreters, interpretation trainers and representatives of large translation companies. SCIT trainer Ekaterina Shutova was also on the panel. The performance assessment was rather rigorous, but just. We are happy to announce that the jury gave the victory to the SCIT graduate. Well-done, Zhenia!