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Elena Kidd

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The visitors take questions from students
The visitors take questions from students
Professor William Brooks chairs the Q&A session
Professor William Brooks chairs the Q&A session

Internal News - 22 October 2008

European Commissioner for Multilingualism visits Bath students

Last Friday (17 October) the Department of European Studies & Modern Languages hosted a visit by the European Commissioner for Multilingualism, Mr Leonard Orban.

Mr Orban was accompanied by his assistant, Mr Johan-Erik Häggman, and also present was Graham Watson, MEP for the South-West of England, whose support was invaluable when the National Network for Translation was set up recently.

The visitors were welcomed by Mrs Elena Kidd, Director of Studies for the MA in Interpreting & Translation (MAIT), now in its 43rd year, and the MA in Translation & Professional Language Studies (TPLS), and by Professor William Brooks.

The department is proud of its strong links with the institutions of the EU that recruit its trained interpreters and translators; in the past five years, nearly 20 per cent of English-language interpreters who have been successful in the European Commission and Parliament’s recruitment competitions have been graduates of MAIT.

The main purpose of Mr Orban’s recent visit was to meet this year’s students and, in a question-and-answer session, the Commissioner and Mr Watson highlighted the critical shortage of interpreters and translators with English as their mother tongue, the greatest demand being for those who work into English from French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Students had the opportunity to ask numerous questions about the demand for different language combinations, minority languages and employability.

In answering, the Commissioner also noted the rising need for services from Polish, and predicted that work into English from other Eastern European languages will increase significantly in the medium term. He also reminded those present that the movement of migrant workers into and within Europe has brought with it a greater-than-ever need for public service interpreting, alongside the traditional skill of conference interpreting.

During the visit, the Commissioner also toured the department’s digital interpreting laboratory, where students demonstrated their skills by simultaneous interpretation of a speech given in German into English.

Mr Watson’s website carries a brief report noting how impressed the Commissioner was. (See Related Links section.)

Russian, a major language of the United Nations and related organisations, can also be studied as part of the MAIT programme, and there are separate streams for Japanese and Chinese.

Careers day - 30 October

A careers day on Thursday, 30 October, organised by the National Network for Interpreting and the National Network for Translation in association with the Department of European Studies & Modern Languages, under the auspices of the national Routes into Languages programme, will highlight interpreting and translating. See Related Links section for further details.