01 Dec 2020

Reaching out for better understanding

Translators and interpreters are not renowned for pushing themselves into the limelight. Sometimes, one breaks through into a more public arena, combining a high-profile assignment with evident professionalism and skill – for example stand-out interpreters at concerts and political events. Or individuals who have translated award-winning literature.

In many ways being somewhat under the radar is a sign of success. Anthea Bell said: “All my professional life, I have felt that translators are in the business of spinning an illusion: the illusion is that the reader is reading not a translation but the real thing.” In many ways, therefore, not being visible is a sign of success in translator. However, this has to be balanced against the need to raise awareness in the broader community of what professional translation is and its value. Just as people also need a better understanding of the vital role of interpreters and the skills involved.

Everyone can play their part – in a big or a small way. Taking the time to do this both helps the translation and interpreting sector, and enriches those who are the recipients of this outreach work. And we thought it was only fitting to recognise an individual or organisation that is already doing great work in this area with ITI’s new Outreach Champion award.

This award is for an individual or organisation that has successfully promoted the value and importance of professional translators/interpreters, and/or the powerful, positive impact of communicating in other languages for business and society in general, beyond the translation and interpreting sector.

For example, someone who has helped to give the business community a better understanding of translation and interpreting; or who has enthused young people about working in languages; or who, through their voluntary work, has significantly increased awareness of the importance of quality translation or interpreting; or who, by making consistently excellent use of their language skills even though these are not a core requirement of their job, has inspired others and helped them to understand the benefits of languages.

This is not a teaching award, and entries should not be submitted for teaching achievements. It is also not for activities aimed at those who are already ‘sold’ on language skills and work, for example translation studies students.

It is very much about raising awareness in the wider business and general community.

2020 has clearly been a very atypical year, and this will have resulted in some outreach activity being curtailed. For this reason, we will be happy to consider nominations where most of the activity has taken place prior to 2020.

Eligible entrants will be nominated; they cannot nominate themselves.

Find out more about the ITI Awards and how to put in an entry for the ITI Awards here.