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.

3 April: first KUDO mock conference at SCIT

4 April 2020|

On 3 April SCIT held the first full-scale mock conference using the KUDO platform! Yes, there were some technical hitches, sound gaps and change-of-interpreter problems. We did  not use videos or relay, not yet. But we had three booths for two interpreters, proper speeches and moderators. The conference had two parts (to change the speakers and interpreters) and lasted 4 hours. There were 9 students and 6 trainers taking part in it.

On the whole, it worked. All interpreters got certified and were able to log in and work; the trainers needed two devices to connect and thus were able to simultaneously follow both the original speech and the interpretation. It was a full-fledged conference, and we were learning interpreting as well as mastering RSI. Let us hope that all  the stress and strain of taming technologies was not for nothing. Classes at SCIT continue according to the timetable, and the student do not lose the momentum. We are keeping  on!

PS We thank KUDO for the opportunity to use their platform free of charge and with no limit. The company promptly resonded to the EMCI request and generously granted access to its services to the member universities, as well as organized training seminars for the users.

SCIT tests new software for distant interpreter training

18 March 2020|

At this difficult moment mutual support and help are beyond price. EMCI universities  consortium, of which Herzen’s SCIT program is a member, appealed to RSI software developers for help. The KUDO company kindly agreed to provide its platform to the EMCI universities till the end of the semester at no cost for them, and hold a seminar for the trainers.  The first seminar took place on 17 March, the next one is planned on Friday. Next week we hope to be able to use the platform for the distant simultaneous interperter training at SCIT. Our thanks go to  Ewandro Magalhães for organizing and running this seminar. We are optimistic about the future and hope for the best!

28 February: All Welcome Day at SCIT

3 March 2020|

On 28 February SCIT opened its doors to potential students. The event took place in the Conference hall, and it was so full there were almost no free seats left. Following the tradition Director Irina Alexeeva opened the meeting by telling about the admission exams procedure, and then SCIT trainers and graduates (Yury Shashkov, Sergey Leonov, Elena Zheltova) spoke about the curriculum and the studying process. We were also happy to welcom Kirill Kazakov, SCIT graduate of 2014 and now a staff MFA interpreter, who told about interpreting at the high level and his experiences of interpreting for Russia’s political leaders. Certainly the guests asked questions, and we hope they found answers for them, and left with a better understanding of what SCIT is and how we teach here. We believe that many of them will come back to try their luck at the aptitude tests which start on 30 March.

EMCI holds ToT Seminar for SCIT trainers

2 March 2020|

From 27 to 29 February, SCIT hosted Ian Newton, lecturer at FTI-UNIGE and former ILO Chief Interpreter, who ran a series training sessions for SCIT teachers. These activities were organized within the framework of cooperation with the EMCI Consortium, of which SCIT is an active member.
The Training of Trainers sessions addressed many varied issues relating to the teaching of simultaneous interpreting at the intermediate level. SCIT trainers were active participants, contrinbuting their own experience and expertise to the discussions, and testing new approaches and techniques with SCIT’s current students. The logic of the discussions followed the students’ expected transition from simple well-structured narratives on familiar topics to more demanding speeches, with special attention paid to stress management and building up the interpreter’s stamina and resilience.
We express sincere gratitude to EMCI for organizing this event, and Ian Newton personally for making the discussions useful, lively and stimulating.

Master-classes of Ian Newton, FTI-UNIGE lecturer

2 March 2020|

From 25 to 26 February, SCIT hosted Ian Newton, lecturer at FTI-UNIGE and former ILO Chief Interpreter, who ran a series of master-classes for students.
SCIT students are at their initial stage of mastering retour into English, and Ian Newton’s master-classes were designed to foster their progress. The programme of master-classes was intensive, with three class sessions daily, and students practiced skills in both consecutive and simultaneous interpreting into English.
We express sincere gratitude to Ian Newton for generously sharing his experitise with SCIT students.