FIT President’s message: protecting our art, preparing for the future

Headshot of Alison Rodriguez
Alison Rodriguez

Dear colleagues,

While 30 September may seem very far away, I’m pleased to share that our theme for International Translation Day 2024 is Translation, an art worth protecting. You can read more about this choice in this issue. Historically, FIT has been concerned with all aspects of copyright and how it affects translators via its Literary Translation and Copyright Standing Committee. With the rise of AI, copyright-related issues now affect all of us – in every sector – whether we are interpreters, translators, or terminologists.

Protecting our livelihoods means ensuring a viable future for the profession by training professionals and equipping them with the skills they will need to succeed. In this latest issue of Translatio, you can read about member initiatives to train, support, mentor, and award emerging professionals at vital stages of their careers, further protecting the future of the profession. As well as looking forward, this issue also looks back, with a valuable historical perspective on the birth of modern simultaneous interpreting and member anniversaries.

Since our last issue, FIT has welcomed its fifth Regional Centre – the Regional Centre for Asia, also known as FIT Asia, in one of FIT’s most geographically and linguistically diverse regions. The launch of FIT Asia was hosted along with the annual FIT Council meeting by the Malaysian Translators Association (MTA) in Kuala Lumpur. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to MTA for its superb contribution to both hosting the FIT Asia Launch and organising such a productive Council meeting. FIT greatly appreciates the chance to meet and speak with its members and hear their concerns and experiences, and to this end, MTA also organised a stellar joint FIT–MTA International Forum. Joint events are a great way to work together within the FIT family and an excellent way to promote the profession.

In another joint initiative, the UNESCO World Book Capital for 2024, Strasbourg, will be the location for the European Conference on Literary Translation, an initiative of the European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations (CEATL) that FIT will participate in. Like UNESCO, FIT is committed in its belief that books, and particularly books in translation, are essential to building a more inclusive, peaceful, and sustainable society, supporting education, copyright, freedom of expression, the freedom to publish, and language rights as part of UNESCO’s indisputable “human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

In the words of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution declaring ITD as a UN International Day, the day highlights, “The role of professional translation in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development”. This means that protecting translation is about protecting far more than individuals: it means protecting an art and a key element of multicultural, multilingual societies that “is indispensable to preserving clarity, a positive climate and productiveness in international public discourse and interpersonal communication”.

Here’s to celebrating and protecting the vital work of interpreters, translators, and terminologists and marking those efforts this 30 September.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

Alison Rodriguez,

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