International protection for translators and interpreters

Written by Singapore on . Posted in News

International petition to support translators and interpreters
As a group of professional interpreters, CIAP resolutely supports this petition to end the targeting of translators and interpreters worldwide and offer them specific protection under international law.

As a professional category, we are covered neither by the Geneva Conventions nor by a UN resolution (unlike journalists).

From the interpreters who assisted military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq to the translators of dissident content, our colleagues are being persecuted, imprisoned and summarily executed for practicing a profession that facilitates communication, bridges divides and permits negotiations to end conflicts around the globe.

The petition, launched jointly by Red TAIIC, FIT, IAPTI, CLI and WASLI, urges the UN Security Council to issue a Resolution to Protect Civilian Translators and Interpreters in Conflict Situations, which would give member states a mandate to prosecute crimes perpetrated against these neutral, multilingual communicators.

With close to 14,000 signatures as of today, there is strong support for this initiative. Please help protect our friends and colleagues, and their families, by clicking here to sign this petition.

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Conference interpreters in Asia contribute to international diplomacy

Written by Singapore on . Posted in articles, News

As conference interpreters working in Asia since the 1990s, CIAP interpreters have experienced first-hand many of the developments in international diplomacy described in this interesting article,

Two Centuries of Diplomatic Interpreting: From Top Hat To Short Sleeves Diplomacy by Jesús Baigorri-Jalón.

More and more international conferences are held in Asia today, where our conference interpreters are called in to contribute to this “diplomacy by conference” in an increasingly complex and technical world, where experts take the floor just as often as diplomats, the Secretary General may welcome delegates via video-link, and NGOs with observer status are given so little time to voice civil society’s concerns that their statements are often read out at breakneck speed.

Professional conference interpreters in Asia, just like their counterparts based closer to UN headquarter cities like Geneva or New York, must master their art and be familiar with an ever-expanding range of technical topics and vocabulary.

Conference interpreters at work in Asia for the UN in Bangkok

As the author remarks, easier travel and communication in today’s world has led to the proliferation of high-level summits, with world leaders meeting face to face more than ever before. November 2014 was a case in point. The 26th APEC Summit kicked off in Beijing on November 10th, followed the next day by the ASEAN and East Asia Summits in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, then the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane, Australia on the 12th and 13th. More than one conference interpreter in Asia took to the skies, hopping from one summit to the next like the leaders they interpret!

Many clients and conference organisers are unaware that there is a community of experienced, high-level conference interpreters living and working in Asia. CIAP’s consultant interpreters can assist in identifying and recruiting these interpreters, forming the teams of conference interpreters whom you can trust to take on that “most urgent business [that] never appears on the agenda. That’s the task of turning what is said in one language into another language with a maximum of accuracy and a minimum of delay” *.

* White, Peter. T.  (1955). The Interpreter: Linguist Plus Diplomat. New York Times, 6 November.

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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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It’s International Mother Language Day – use interpretation services!

Written by Singapore on . Posted in News


CIAP’s role as simultaneous interpretation providers is to allow speakers to convey their message with all the subtlety and nuance of the native language they master so well, be it Indonesian or Malay, Burmese or Khmer.

interpretation Indonesian Malay Burmese Khmer
As well as the more commonly requested Asian languages like Chinese, Japanese or Thai, our network of interpreters covers many others. From Bahasa Indonesian or Malay to Burmese, Khmer or Tetum, CIAP’s consecutive or simultaneous interpretation services are provided by professionals able to fully transmit those nuances into the target language, usually English.

In an effort to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism, UNESCO proclaimed February 21st as International Mother Language Day* in 1999. It is a day for celebrating all mother tongues, or native languages, around the world. UNESCO’s message is that language diversity helps to enrich us all and is a treasure, not a barrier. This is not only true when it comes to social justice and inclusion  – linguistic minorities are often among the most marginalized populations, with little or poor access to quality education –  but also applies to communication at international meetings and events.

All too often, speakers at international conferences come under pressure to use the new lingua franca of global English or Globish, instead of their native language. Rather than miss out on the whole message with all its depth and subtlety, there is another option: simultaneous interpretation. As well as Indonesian, Malay, Burmese, Khmer and Tetum (which is spoken in Timor Leste), CIAP has assisted clients with request for simultaneous interpretation in Mongolian, Laotian, Hindi, Bengali, etc. We also cover the full range of European languages, and more commonly requested Asian languages like Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese), Japanese or Thai.

And of course, simultaneous interpretation not only allows your speakers to address the meeting in their own language, it allows participants to follow the entire meeting in their mother tongue. Rather than straining to follow in English, your participants can listen to the simultaneous interpretation in their mother tongue – be it Khmer, Malay, Indonesian, Burmese or whichever language you require.

* International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000.

The date represents the day in 1952 when students were shot dead by police during a protest in Dhaka calling for Bangla to become one of the two official languages of what was then East Pakistan and is now Bangladesh.

The theme for International Mother Language Day 2015 is “Inclusion in and through education: Language counts”.


interpretation Indonesian Malay Burmese Khmer

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Happy Lunar New Year

Written by Singapore on . Posted in News

Asia's professional interpreters wish you a Happy Lunar New Year

CIAP, a network of professional interpreters across Asia Pacific,

wishes you a very prosperous and communicative Year of the Goat.



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Interpreting services in Chinese in high demand, and not just in Asia

Written by Singapore on . Posted in News

CIAP provides interpreting services in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and many other Asian languages. We specialise in the Asia Pacific region, but interpreting services in languages such as Chinese are needed worldwide, and not just for business purposes.

This study reveals that an Asian language is the most common language spoken after English and Spanish in 11 states across the United States. With Chinese ranked as the 3rd most common language in New York state, interpreting services in Chinese are also in high demand there. From Tagalog in California to Korean in Virginia and Georgia, from Hmong in Minnesota to Vietnamese in Texas, if you are not hearing English or Spanish, the words you are most likely to hear will be pronounced in an Asian tongue. Chinese speakers who have yet to master English will require interpreting services as they interact with their host country’s administrative and court systems.

The maps tell an interesting story of how immigration has globalized our region’s languages and why translation and interpreting services into and from Asian languages like Chinese, Korean etc are key, and not just in the Asia Pacific region.

Contact us at to learn more about our interpreting services in Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesian, Bengali, Burmese, Cantonese, Hindi, Japanese, Malay, Khmer, Thai or other Asian languages. We also provide interpreting services in non-Asian languages, from French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, German and Italian to Arabic, Turkish etc.

Interpreting services in Chinese are needed across the US, where Chinese is a times the third most spoken language

Tagalog, Vietnamese, Hmong, Chinese, Korean are all commonly spoken in the US

Visit for more language-based maps and insights into the USA’s linguistic geography.

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A tribute to the late Russian interpreter Victor Sukhodrev

Written by Singapore on . Posted in News


“You cannot stop to ponder. You just can’t. If you do, you fail. (…)

An interpreter at that level cannot – not ‘should not’ – simply cannot make a mistake.”

– the late Russian interpreter Victor Sukhodrev, 1932 – 2014

As the chief interpreter for every Soviet leader from Krushchev to Gorbachev, the late Russian interpreter Victor Sukhodrev attended more meetings of the Cold War superpowers than almost any person in history. His words will resonate with any interpreter, Russian or otherwise, involved in high-level, high-stakes meetings, international conferences, court hearings, contractual negotiations etc. For professional interpreters, every word spoken matters and conveying your exact message is our priority.

Here, the Washington Post pays tribute to Sukhodrev’s outstanding career as a Russian interpreter in the Soviet era and sheds some light on what drove him to such a mastery of the English language.

Russian interpreter Sukhodrev interpreters at a summit toast

Interpreter Viktor Sukhodrev (centre) with Leonid Brezhnev and Richard Nixon.



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