Newsletter December 2009
Conference interpreters are there to ensure that participants at international events communicate easily with each other. Many people however are unaware that the title “Conference interpreter” is not protected. In many countries here are national professional associations but there is only one international professional association for conference interpreters, AIIC.
AIIC, the International Association of Conference Interpreters, was founded in 1953 by a handful of colleagues who had chosen this new form of interpreting, simultaneous, as a career, without formal training, out of interest and based largely on their knowledge of two or more languages.
With its headquarters in Geneva AIIC now has 2,883 members in 70 countries, covering no less than 48 languages. AIIC is not made up of individual national associations. Each member is affiliated directly to the association. AIIC is organised in regions, of which Germany forms an independent region and meets one weekend a year for 2 days to discuss topics relating to Germany and the German market as well as issues concerning the association as a whole.
In the German Region there are 286 statutory members in 25 towns and cities throughout the country, interpreting into and out of 18 languages.
Membership of AIIC is seen as a seal of approval. Candidates must provide evidence of having worked 150 days under AIIC working conditions and they have to have a certain number of sponsors for each language combination, vouching for the ability and the professional skills of the candidate. The most important AIIC principles are contained in the Code of Professional Ethics, binding us to confidentiality and the highest professional standards towards our clients and colleagues.
Every 3 years AIIC organises a 4-day Assembly each time at a different location throughout the world. If you count all of the committee meetings and sectoral meetings on top, the Assembly covers 6 days of meetings in total. This gives us an opportunity to get to know colleagues from all over the world and because we know who lives where, we are able to put together teams of interpreters in Singapore or Guayaquil for our European clients. AIIC always has a number of projects on the agenda, such as interpreters in conflict areas, interpreting at video and teleconferences and has recently created the Malintzin Prize in recognition of particular services to the profession of conference interpreting. The first Malintzin Prize was awarded to the former German Foreign Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher at the Assembly in Nice in January. One highlight of the laudatory speech was the particular contribution that Genscher made to the recognition of the profession, since he repeatedly emphasised the importance of professionalism on the part of interpreters.
This year the AIIC German Regional Meeting was held in Hamburg. Around 75 colleagues from all over Germany found their way to Hamburg one weekend in November for their 2-day meeting, held in the Empire Riverside Hotel with a wonderful view over the port. On the agenda were subjects such as promoting new colleagues, interpreter training, further training and PR on which we have been working together with an agency in Berlin for some years now, to increase public awareness of AIIC interpreters and their work in Germany. We listened with great interest to a presentation on the possibilities and the needs of the interpreter pursuing a freelance career, how many days per year can and must a freelance interpreter work, given the fact that a day's work involves a minimum of one to one and a half day's preparation.
Even the weather gods were propitious and the colleagues were able to enjoy a few brief periods of sunshine in Hamburg.
Kaleidoscope of events
In the past six months SIMCONSULT has looked through a veritable kaleidoscope of events.
Business kicked off in the second half of the year with a great assignment in one weekend in July at the 2nd Congress of European Soccer Fans in German, English, Spanish and Italian. The congress venue was the HSV Soccer Stadium. They discussed the interests and the rights of soccer fans. The participants were all dyed-in-the-wool football aficionados doing a marvelous job for their various clubs.
From the HSV Arena to the ISS in space
From the football pitch we were virtually launched into space with an assignment from Astrium GmbH in Bremen. Topics concerning the present and the future of European space projects were tabled for an illustrious audience of politicians and representatives of ESA and EADS. The particular highlight was a live in-flight call to the first European commander of the ISS, Frank de Winne. Two interpreters from SIMCONSULT were there working with English and German.
Healthy nutrition for pigs
In October a team of SIMCONSULT interpreters worked for two seminars in Hanover, Germany and Vösendorf near Vienna on the subject of optimum feed compounds for pig breeding.
The aircraft with albatross wings
At the end of October the first Airbus A380 in Air France livery took off from Hamburg-Finkenwerder. The giant aircraft was handed over to the customer with pomp and ceremony attended by several hundred guests, many of whom had travelled from France to Hamburg and who were then taken on board the new aircraft for the flight back to Paris. SIMCONSULT Partner George Drummond interpreted with another colleague during the festivities.
In September both SIMCONSULT Partners, George Drummond and Susan Fergusson interpreted at the autumn session of the judges at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The International Tribunal is located just opposite the Airbus plant in Finkenwerder and we were able to admire at first hand the elegant Air France giant taking off and landing during test flights on the other side of the Elbe river.
We hear from passengers who have flown on board the A380 that the flight experience is nothing to compare with conventional flying. The passenger compartments seem much more spacious and there is not a hint of engine noise or vibration on take-off or landing. It's a flying experience as new as the whole concept of the graceful A380 with the wings of an albatross.
12th Endo Club Nord
In November the experienced team of four interpreters worked for the Endo Club Nord for the 12th time in English and German. This meeting on the subject of endoscopic operation methods is a huge event in this area and each year the world authorities on the subject meet to exchange views and demonstrate their latest techniques with satellite video links to various hospitals in Hamburg and around the world.
A group of physicians in Lisbon took part for the first time by video link. The technical equipment offstage is impressive, the simultaneous transmission of image and sound is perfect. It is indeed a great technical feat.
In closing we would like to express our sincere thanks to our clients and business partners, wishing you a healthy, successful start to the new year. We look forward to speaking to you again in 2010 at the beginning of the next decade of the new millennium.