Meeting of the IAMLADP Universities Contact Group

The Centre attended the Annual Meeting of the Universities Contact Group (UCG) of the IAMLADP Working Group on Training, which was held at the European Parliament in Brussels on 18 and 19 April 2018. The meeting was attended by representatives from most EU institutions, as well as by various United Nations organisations. Several universities were also represented.

One of the IAMLADP (International Annual Meeting on Language Arrangements, Documentation and Publications) working groups is devoted to training. This working group comprises three task forces:

One of the IAMLADP (International Annual Meeting on Language Arrangements, Documentation and Publications) working groups is devoted to training. This working group comprises three task forces:

  • Joint Training Ventures, to which the Centre regularly contributes;
  • E-Learning;
  • Universities Contact Group (UCG).

The mandate of the UCG is to act as a liaison point for the further development of relations and cooperation between international organisations (IOs) and training providers.

It is very important for IOs to be in touch with academic institutions. The UCG, which involves 19 IOs and 13 universities, is a clear example of such a win-win relationship, since some universities organise seminars which are attended by their students and by staff from IOs, who share their expertise with the students. In turn, IOs can also benefit from the expertise of university researchers and professors. The collaboration between the Translation Centre and the University of Leeds was mentioned on several occasions in the past, since the Centre has been able to benefit from the expertise of Leeds researchers in the field of computer-assisted translation, subtitling and automatic speech recognition. Several translators also attended the seminars organised in the past by the University of Salamanca on legal translation.

All these seminars are offered for free to staff from IOs (their organisations just need to pay for their travel expenses) and, in exchange, the participants also give a presentation about their own work or organisation for the benefit of the local students.

The participants discussed the question of student traineeships in international organisations. Many IOs, like the Centre, indeed offer traineeships and the UCG provides universities with an overview of traineeships and internships for young university graduates in translation, terminology, etc.

The participants also addressed questions such as how to bridge the gap between training and professional life. The goal is to better identify the skills, competencies and knowledge which all graduates should have when they leave universities and are recruited by IOs.

At a time when translators increasingly carry out the quality control of machine-translated texts and spend more and more time on revising what others – contractors/colleagues or machines – have translated, the participants also agreed that it is important for translators to distinguish between mistakes typically made by humans and new types of mistakes which occur in translations produced by machine translation systems. The gradual introduction of neural MT systems, which may produce what appear to be natural translations which look very much like a human translation, has led to new challenges for translators, given the unexpected nature of some of the problems reported by translators who post-edit such translations. The various IOs are faced with similar problems and are looking for qualified trainers and appropriate training material to raise translators’ awareness of such issues.