News Releases

UWI launches the Caribbean Interpreting and Translation Bureau

For Release Upon Receipt - July 21, 2008

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Caribbean Interpreting and Translation Bureau (CITB) has been officially launched. The Bureau, which was established in 2005, was formally launched with a brief press conference and opening ceremony at the Office of the Campus Principal, UWI St Augustine on Wednesday 23rd July.

Deputy Principal, Prof. Gurmohan Kochhar, ceremonially opened the launch by receiving a copy of the original communiqué, dated September 27, 2005, requesting the establishment of an account in the name of the CITB. Prof. Kochhar commended the entrepreneurial initiative of the founders of the Bureau, and declared the University’s continued support for this new agency.

Prof. Ian Robertson, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education, echoed Prof. Kochhar’s affirmation of continued support, and encouraged the CITB Steering Committee “to develop that sense of entrepreneurship that previous generations may not have developed, especially in the Arts”. He pointed to the long term potential of the Bureau beyond the immediacy of routine translation and interpretation, “to provide opportunities for the many people that [the Faculty of Humanities and Education has] trained in the modern languages”, and “to unlock some of the historical documents that exist across the Caribbean.”

Dr. Beverly-Anne Carter (Chair) and Mr. Eric Maitrejean, two CITB Steering Committee members, shared perspectives on the opportunities presented by the timing of the launch and the positioning of the Bureau within the framework of the regional University. Mr. Maitrejean, Lecturer in French in the Department of Liberal Arts, thanked Pro Vice Chancellor (PVC) and Campus Principal, Professor Clement Sankat, who in his former post of PVC for Graduate Studies and Research, gave approval for the Postgraduate Diploma in Interpretation, the programme whose graduates provide the seedbed for the Bureau’s future professional interpreters and translators. The CITB is also intended to be an incubator for proficient undergraduate linguists from the degree programmes, or recently qualified interpreters from the postgraduate Diploma in Interpreting.

“In less than two years of existence, we have generated a hefty profit for the Campus, as we have been convincing a number of state agencies, local companies and private organisations of the quality of our services,” said Maitrejean.

He also recognised former St Augustine Campus Principal, Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie, who made the insightful decision to outfit both the Centre for Language Learning (CLL) and the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) with state-of-the-art interpretation equipment before the profitability of the CITB operation was fully assured. The CITB was established to exploit the local and international opportunities for the provision of qualified services in translation and interpreting. It was expected that through the creation of the CITB, the Faculty of Humanities and Education could provide a centrally-managed Faculty and campus resource for interpretation and translation services.

Dr. Carter, who is also Director of the CLL and CSEC Examiner in French, observed that in the most recent examinations, less than 20,000 students sat for French and Spanish, as compared to the over 90,000 students who sat for Math and English Language. She pointed to the direct connection between the lack of motivation to pursue foreign language learning and the perceived lack of importance of foreign languages, and noted that, “The establishment of the CITB tells our graduates that, for the best in field, there are high-paying professions to which they can aspire. It helps to send a signal about the importance of foreign language education.”

Since its establishment, the CITB has provided translations and conference interpreting services to individual or corporate clients such as the Ministry of National Security, the Office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Social Development, the Min. of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Culture, Gender and Youth Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, E-Teck, TDC, the Regional Council of Martinique, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Martinique, as well as to regional organisations such as the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA), the Caribbean Coalition of National Aids Planning Committees (CCNAPC), the Caribbean Epidemiology Center (CAREC), the Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC), the Caribbean Regional Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (CRN+), and companies such as Angostura Limited, Carillion, Caribbean Music Group (CMG), Banyan Productions, Mc Cann Erickson, Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline Co. (ECGPC) and MC3 Caribbean. The CITB has also been contacted to tender for the Summit of the Americas, to be hosted by Trinidad and Tobago in 2009.

For further information regarding the CITB please contact Ms. Vanessa Williams at 662-2002 Ext. 3896.