Archive for May, 2015

Simultaneous interpreters: a profession with standards

Written by Singapore on . Posted in articles, News


Jean-Pierre Allain

Whether they be doctors, engineers, lawyers, dentists, architects, mechanics, translators or simultaneous interpreters, all professions need to have standards. What are they?


Standards are rules on how a profession behaves, how it acts, to provide the services it renders to society in a manner that satisfies the needs and expectations of consumers. For instance, if you ask an architect to design your house, you expect the roof to be supported by beams strong enough to carry its weight and resist storms. Architectural standards prescribe the dimensions of beams, according to their material, so that they can do this.


Standards are set by the respective professions or by international bodies, such as the International Standards Organisation (ISO) or, in the case of foods, by the Codex Alimentarius (FAO/WHO). Other bodies also set standards. Our interest here is in standards set by a profession.


The standards for conference and simultaneous interpretation are set by the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC). At its 36th Assembly in Addis Ababa, in January 2015, AIIC members discussed, among other things, the importance of adhering to our professional standards, in the face of an increasing number of cases of sub-standard simultaneous interpretation at international conferences. Read more

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