The creation of the European Masters in Translation network was the central theme of an international conference organised by the European Commission in Brussels on 16-17 March. More than 100 universities and other stakeholders involved in translator training met to agree on the criteria for training programmes to become part of a common EMT quality label.
"High-quality, attractive translator training curricula provided by universities throughout the European Union contribute to a secure supply of skilled professionals not only for the commission and the EU institutions, but for all translation markets," said Leonard Orban, European Commissioner for Multilingualism.
The European Master's in Translation should become a quality benchmark for translator training consisting of a set of competencies to be acquired in a masters degree in translation. The scheme was launched in 2005 at the initiative of the Directorate-General for Translation of the commission, and was developed in cooperation with recognised experts on the translation profession from universities.
The first two conferences, organised in October 2006 and March last year, prepared the basis for the cooperation by proposing a standard set of key competencies within a translation study curriculum. The standard competencies can be introduced by any university providing translator training and wanting to participate in the EMT network. Although the commission gives advice, the responsibility for translator training rests with the universities.
The establishment of the network will be the culmination of the four-year development of the EMT scheme. When it is operating, the network will help promote the exchange of best practice between participating universities and, ultimately, enhance teaching standards, the professionalism of future translators, and the creation of a truly European market for skilled translators.
The commission recently warned of a potential shortage of translators in some languages, confirming the need for a steady supply of professionals from translator training institutes.