EU Interpreting Booths Project Six interpreting booths for simultaneous interpretation training have been inaugurated at the University of Malta this morning by Education Minister Louis Galea and Mr Marco Benedetti, the EU Commission’s DG for Interpreting Services. Professor Roger Ellul Micallef, Rector of the University, presided the ceremony. The laboratory interpreting booths can accommodate twelve students at a time and they have been installed at the Faculty of Arts. The project was financed under the EU Transition Facility Funds.

The EU delegation was led by Mr Marco Benedetti, the Commission’s DG Interpreting Service, and included Ms Olga Cosmidou, the DG Interpreting Service at the European Parliament as well as other officials. Mr Benedetti and Ms Cosmidou both expressed their satisfaction at the effective way in which the project is being implemented. Mr Benedetti said that the work so far provides a sound basis for the further development of this specialized department at the University. He said that whilst the commission has adapted a strategy for multilingualism, the EU still considered essential the duty of all to protect and nurture the different languages of the member states.

Minister Louis Galea spoke in Maltese, and was interpreted from the newly inaugurated booths by four of the students. He thanked the EU Commission and the European Parliament for the direction, support and financial assistance to build Malta’s capacity in the filed of simultaneous interpretation. Minister Gaea reiterated the Government’s political will to ensure that Maltese is regularly used in the EU institution as agreed in the Treaty. He said that Maltese is the essential ingredient of Malta’s identity and a new law was enacted last year to ensure that the national language is safeguarded and promoted. The Minister assured the EU delegation that the Government and the University will continue to work together to train the necessary number of professional interpretation.

The Bureau of the Commission on for Conference Interpreting - Service Commun Interprétation-Conférences - SCIC has for the past year sent over to Malta experienced interpreters to help in the running of the course, which included the Training of Trainers seminar held in September, the organisation of consecutive and simultaneous interpretation sessions for the nine registered students, and the conducting of tests to monitor students’ progress during the one year post-graduate programme leading to a Masters Degree in Conference Interpreting. The aim of the Faculty of Arts is to have the course registered with the European Masters in Conference Interpreting.

The course Director, Prof. Joseph Eynaud, stated that the Maltese booth in Brussels and Strasbourg now has four new Maltese interpreters who graduated at the University of Westminster and who have passed recruitment tests in Brussels. Other graduates in conference interpreting being trained at the Faculty of Arts next year are expected to join the present interpreters working for the Commission and for the European Parliament. Plenary sessions in Strasbourg, Council Meetings and Summits are now being covered in Maltese.

In the meantime two local experts will, by next year, compile a Maltese terminology database to assist translators working in translation units in Malta, Brussels and Luxembourg. The Faculty of Arts is also offering post-graduate courses in Translation Studies. 45 students have just graduated in the post-graduate diploma for translators and a good number have already been employed in Brussels or Luxembourg.