Overview of organisations - 2010

Growing by leaps and bounds: the Staff Interpreters’ Committee extends its reach. The AIIC Staff Interpreters’ Committee annual meeting was marked by record-breaking attendance with strong participation of new members and freelance observers. Discussions in Brussels ranged from the need for solidarity with interpreters in conflict zones to the desire for better governance and communication across our professional association.

Thanks to the outreach efforts of outgoing chair Nancy Pratt, the Staff Interpreters’ Committee was delighted to give a warm welcome to several new member organisations during its annual meeting hosted by the European Commission. With new representatives hailing from the United Nations in Nairobi and the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia, the committee continues to broaden its geographical representation, helping to make AIIC a truly global organisation stretching from the African Development Bank in Tunis to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in Nouméa. Nineteen organisations were represented in person, by written report, or both, and with nearly 30 attendees, including numerous observers, participation soared.

Roderick Jones of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Interpretation kicked off the meeting with an overview of the host organisation. His presentation addressed the current challenges of multilingualism in the context of the European Union. Highlights included the ongoing challenge felt by all organisations to recruit the next generation of interpreters, associated measures undertaken in the area of testing and training, and steps aimed at addressing the results of customer satisfaction surveys.

A project update on Interpreters in Conflict Zones was presented by special guest Linda Fitchett, current chair of the working group seeking to draw attention to the woeful plight of many individuals serving as linguists under highly dangerous conditions that have in some instances resulted in their torture and murder. In the wide-ranging discussion of this praiseworthy initiative, the limits of neutrality in such settings and options for building solidarity within AIIC were explored, to include the possibility of offering training to address emotional stress, burnout and professional development needs, when circumstances allow. This outward-looking discussion was firmly embraced; the committee now plans to include a thematic presentation every year.

Organisations Represented in 2010

In person and via written report

Via written report

Council of Europe – Strasbourg

African Development Bank – Tunis

European Commission / Directorate General for Interpretation – Brussels

Food and Agriculture Organisation – Rome

European Parliament / Directorate-General for Interpretation and Conferences – Brussels

International Civil Aviation Organisation – Montreal

Federal Government of Canada – Ottawa

Special Tribunal for Lebanon – The Hague

International Criminal Court – The Hague

United Nations – Geneva

International Monetary Fund Washington

United Nations – New York

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – Brussels

United Nations – Vienna

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Paris


The Secretariat of the Pacific Community – Nouméa


United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials – Phnom Penh


United Nations Nairobi


United States Department of State – Washington


Time raced by as deliberations segued into an impromptu exchange on interpreter training in languages of limited diffusion. It was determined that a considerable number of staff interpreters serving on the committee also teach within their organisations and in university schools of interpreting. As a result, a consensus emerged to explore possibilities for collaboration with the Training Committee in an effort to boost the exchange of information.

Annual reports from member organisations addressed the structure of the interpreting service, staffing and recruitment, working conditions and workload, facilities and equipment, missions, training, use of new technologies in interpreting, as well as documentation, computers and terminology. Under these seemingly mundane headings, the fervent discussion continued as members provided enlightening updates on the status of their organisations. Staff interpreters who are members of AIIC may contact their committee representative to obtain a copy of the meeting minutes detailing some of these changes.

As committee members followed the annual report of the representative of the Private Market Sector, Nur Deriş Ottoman of the Turkish Region, and discussed governance within AIIC, they were struck by the degree of commonality in the views shared with freelance colleagues. The desire was unanimous to support efforts contributing to better governance and improved communication across thematic and functional groups in the association.

The Staff Interpreters’ Committee looks forward to seeing the profiles of organisations that it recently finished drafting online soon. Under the guidance of our new chair, Sirpa Lehtonen, who will hold the reins until the Assembly in Buenos Aires, the committee is now turning its attention to preparing for the next meeting, which will be held in Africa and include a focus on training in member institutions, and to considering proposals for the Assembly in Buenos Aires. 

Recommended citation format:
Staff Interpreters. "Overview of organisations - 2010". aiic.net February 3, 2011. Accessed July 4, 2020. <http://aiic.net/p/3569>.

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