A Kind of Anniversary – 10 Years of EULITA
On 26 November 2009 the European Legal Interpreters and Translators Association (EULITA) was founded at the Court of First Instance of Antwerp. The 10-Year Anniversary of EULITA was scheduled to be celebrated at the general assembly in Athens in spring of this year. Like for so many other meetings and celebrations, the Covid-19 pandemic triggered the cancellation of this event. Let’s hope we can make up for this at the 2021 general assembly of EULITA, but in the meantime I would like to refresh your memory about the foundation and 10-year history of EULITA. – Liese Katschinka
Erik Hertog (far right) can truly be regarded as the founding father of EULITA. He managed the EU project (Project number JLS/2007/JPEN/249) under the Criminal Justice Programme of the Directorate-General Justice, Freedom, Security of the European Commission which culminated in the foundation of EULITA as an international not-for-profit association (aisbl).
A two-day conference on “Aspects of Legal Interpreting and Translation”, attended by close to 300 participants from more than 30 countries, accompanied the official launch of EULITA at the Antwerp Court of First Instance on 26 November 2009.
The transitional Executive Committee of EULITA consisted of Liese Katschinka (Austria), President, Christiane Driesen (Germany), Vice-President, Zofia Rybinska (Poland), Vice-President, Kristiina Antinjuntti (Finland), Secretary, Lucía Castaño-Castaño (Spain), Treasurer, and Members Flavia Caciagli (Italy) and Maya de Wit (Netherlands).
A second EULITA project, which would have helped the newly founded association to become organized quickly was not accepted by the EU. Fortunately, the eruption of volcano Eyjafjallajökull in April 2010 initiated the practice of virtual Executive Committee meetings – and helped save considerable amounts of money over the years.
The 1st general assembly was held in Hannover, Germany, on 27 March 2011. The BDÜ hosted the conference, and the Executive Committee was pleased to welcome representatives from its 15 full members. The general assembly adopted EULITA’s Code of Ethics, and the mandate of the transitional Executive Committee members was confirmed at the election:
The general assembly was held on the Sunday when Europe switched from winter to summer time, which caused several attendants to arrive one hour later than scheduled.
KST ČR hosted the 2nd general assembly, held in Prague, Czech Republic, on 4 February 2012. The EULITA head count showed that EULITA had now 22 full and 40 associate members. For reasons of other commitments, Maya de Wit resigned from the Executive Committee and Mirjam van Oijen-Stolk succeeded her in representing sign-lanugage interpreters within EULITA.
In spite of the cold weather during the Prague general assembly, everybody was in god spirit, as the TRAFUT (Training for the Future) project on the implementation of EU Directive 64/2010 was proceeding smoothly after its launch in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in November 2011.
APCI invited EULITA to London, United Kingdom, to hold its 3rd general assembly on 6 April 2013. EULITA membership had grown to 29 full and 47 associate members. Katy Stifterova was co-opted as Secretary and took over her responsibilities from Kristiina Antinjuntti.
Crossing the Thames by ferry to travel to the conference venue was one of the London highlights. The launch of the QUALETRA project – also in London – only a few days before the GA was another memorable event.
In June 2013 Bianca Schönhofer, Austria, took up her work as assistant to the EULITA Secretary and President. She managed the bulk of the administrative tasks of EULITA until she handed over to Selma Beganovic in 2020.
TEPIS offered to organize the 4th general assembly in Krakow, Poland, on 5 April 2014. A new Executive Committee was elected, comprising many familiar faces and one newcomer: Geoffrey Buckingham, United Kingdom.
Opatija, Croatia, was the venue of EULITA’S 5th general assembly on 21 March 2015. The host association, ACIT, had chosen the balmy resort on the Mediterranean, but attendants arriving from Zagreb still encountered snow on the mountains. – The decision to apply to ISO for a new work item – an international standard on legal interpreting – was taken at this general assembly.
The LIT Search project (for a pilot European database of legal interpreters and translators) was successfully completed in Antwerp, Belgium, on 9 and 10 November 2015.
A conference at the Council of Europe preceded the 6th general assembly in Strasbourg, France, which was held on 9 April 2016. CRETA, the Alsatian association, had extended its invitation to EULITA this time.
Finally it was the turn of ÖVGD, the Austrian association, to host the 7th general assembly on 1 April 2017. The Translating Europe Workshop “New Developments in Legal Translation” took place before the conference and general assembly, where a new Executive Committee was elected.
The location of the 8th general assembly was Sofia, Bulgaria. AIT, the Bulgarian association was responsible for organizing the event which took place on 17 March 2018. Many conference papers dealt with the impact of migration flows on the work of legal interpreters and translators. The newly adopted ISO standard 20228 on legal interpreting was presented.
The Luxembourg association ALTI hosted the 9th general assembly which took place at the European Court of Justice. Sandrine Détienne, France, was co-opted Treasurer which Daniela Amodeo Perillo had taken over after the elected Treasurer, Michaela Spracklin, had resigned from her position.
PEEMPIP had invited EULITA to Athens for its 10th general assembly, which had to be cancelled as most of Europe was in a lockdown at the end of March 2020. The virtual general assembly was held on 29 June 2020, where a new Executive Committee was elected: Daniela Amodeo Perillo (Italy) was re-elected as President, Laura Izquierdo Valverde (Spain) and Joanna Miler-Cassino (Poland) became Vice-Presidents, Barbara Rovan (Slovenia) took on the position of Secretary and Sandrine Détienne (France) was confirmed as Treasurer. Karl Apsel (Ireland) and Jan Runesten (Sweden) joined the new Executive Committee as Members.
This is a brief summary of EULITA’s activities during the past ten years. Of course, there were many more EU projects, contacts to EU authorities, national ministries of justice, NGOs, universities, colleagues in other continents, etc. There will be time to remember all the EULITA milestones when we meet again in person – hopefully at the 11th general assembly in Rome, Italy.
Whatever Became of ….. ?
EULITA was founded on 27 November 2009 at the Court of First Instance in Antwerp, Belgium. Below is an update on the persons who made up the Executive Committee at that time.
Liese Katschinka – EULITA President, 2009 – 2017
|The years spent on the EU project to set up EULITA (Project number JLS/2007/JPEN/249) under the Criminal Justice Programme of the Directorate-General Justice, Freedom, Security of the European Commission and the years from 2009 to 2017 are among the most exciting years of my professional life. The momentum that combined to launch a European association of legal interpreters and translators and to get Directive 2010/64 on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings off the ground was tremendous. With every new association and associate member that joined EULITA over the years it became apparent what need there had been for such an organization that would promote the interests of legal interpreters and translators. The collective effort to develop an international standard (ISO 20228: Requirements for Legal Interpreting) was a particular highlight during the years in which I served as EULITA’s president.||
EULITA President, 2009 – 2017
It was comforting for me see that, with Daniela Amodeo Perillo, there would a person at the helm of EULITA who is just as passionate over and committed to legal interpreting and translation as we all were on the founding Executive Committee. The years since the Vienna general assembly in 2017 are clear proof of this.
Since then I have continued my work as a conference interpreter, legal interpreter and translator – and helped my national association, ÖVGD (Österreichischer Verband der allgemein beeideten und gerichtlich zertifizierten Dolmetscher), to fight the never-ending struggle against poor working conditions and insufficient fees for highly professional language services. I was also asked to teach consecutive interpreting at the University of Vienna, where a post-graduate course has been designed especially for future interpreters working from Farsi, Arabic, Turkish and Albanian into German. The Covid-19 crisis turned most of these activities into virtual ones. However, the slow-down caused by the pandemic may have come at a time in my life, where I should also be thinking of shifting into a lower gear.
Liese Katschinka, November 2020
Christiane Driesen – EULITA Vice-President, 2009 – 2017
La vie après EULITA
C’est avec une certaine tristesse que j’ai quitté mon poste de vice-présidente d’
EULITA, en 2017. Ce n’était pas tant le prestige que je craignais de perdre, mais plutôt le regret d’un travail créatif dans une ambiance chaleureuse et amicale au sein du Comité directeur , et sous l’efficace et habile direction de notre présidente, Liese Katschinka qui fit toujours preuve d’un très grand sens politique permettant de faire reconnaître notre association par toutes les instances concernées. Il me semblait en outre que je n’avais pas accompli tous les projets essentiels à mes yeux, concernant en particulier une meilleure coopération entre EULITA et les universités, la recherche ainsi que la formation. J’aurais aussi voulu finir un projet de fiches de position de l’association sur les différents aspects de l’interprétation et de la traduction juridique, entre autres : définition des techniques d’interprétation, nécessité pour l’interprète de se préparer, interprétation à distance, relais, question d’éthique, quand refuser une mission, etc. Après 2017, j’ai néanmoins poursuivi mon engagement concernant la formation des interprètes et traducteurs juridiques. J’ai participé à quelques projets européens à cet effet et eu le plaisir d’obtenir la participation de EULITA et de notre infatigable présidente, jamais avare de son temps et de son expérience, pour un projet sur la traite des mineurs étrangers, il s’agit du projet CAPISCE, dont vous trouverez les détails sur le site.
Outre la formation d’interprètes et traducteurs juridiques à l’université de Hambourg et divers stages auxquels j’ai l’honneur de participer en Europe, j’assume désormais la codirection scientifique d’un projet similaire à l’ISIT, membre associé de EULITA. Avec ma co-directrice juriste, Agata Delaforcade, nous venons de mettre la dernière main à un manuel de formation pour interprète et traducteur juridique, en français, qui paraîtra en janvier.
Soyez assurés que je suis les avancées d’EULITA avec le plus grand intérêt; je suis comblée d’avoir participé à ses débuts et très fière de voir combien EULITA s’épanouit grâce à l’engagement de sa présidente et de son nouveau Comité de direction, et cela, pour le plus grand bien de notre profession et la promotion des droits humains.
Bon vent à EULITA !
Christiane J. Driesen
English text: – Life after EULITA
It was with some sadness that I left my position as Vice President of EULITA in 2017. It was not so much the prestige I feared to lose, but rather the regret of a creative work in a warm and friendly atmosphere within the Executive Committee, and under the efficient and skilful leadership of our President, Liese Katschinka, who always showed a great political sense that allowed our association to soon be recognised by all the relevant entities. Furthermore, I felt that I had not accomplished all the projects that were essential to me, in particular those concerning better cooperation between EULITA and universities, research and training. I would also have liked to have finished the association’s draft position papers on the various aspects of legal interpreting and translation, such as, among others
After 2017, I have nonetheless pursued my commitment to the training of legal interpreters and translators. I have taken part in a few European projects to this effect and had the pleasure of obtaining the participation of EULITA and our tireless president, never stingy with her time and experience, for a project on the trafficking of foreign minors, the CAPISCE project, details of which you will find on the site.
In addition to the training of legal interpreters and translators at the University of Hamburg and various seminars I had the honour of taking part in in Europe, I am now the scientific co-director of a similar project at ISIT, an associate member of EULITA. Together with my legal co-director, Agata Delaforcade, we have just finalised a training manual for legal interpreters and translators, in French, which will be published in January 2021.
Please be assured that I am following the progress of EULITA with great interest; I am delighted to have been part of its beginnings and very proud to see how EULITA is flourishing thanks to the commitment of its President and its new Committee members for the benefit of our profession and the promotion of human rights.
Best wishes to EULITA!
Christiane J. Driesen
Zofia Rybińska – EULITA Vice-President, 2009 – 2017
Much has not changed professionally since April 2017. I have been active as before as a sworn translator and interpreter and also as a teacher, passing on my experience and skills mainly to post-graduate students at Interdisciplinary Studies in Translation and Interpreting, Institute of Applied Linguistics, University of Warsaw.
Since April 2017, I have continued to devote much of my energy, thoughts and time to the TEPIS Society in my role as TEPIS President, elected in 2014. TEPIS’s success in the long-lasting efforts to have the official rates for court interpreting and legal translator’s services increased in 2019 gave me more organizational hope as it proved that collective efforts must never die. With this frame of mind, I am looking forward to the next opportunity to resume our struggle for better professional status of sworn translators and interpreters in Poland.
The 10th anniversary of EULITA coincides with the 30th anniversary of TEPIS. Unfortunately, the celebrations have been impacted by the pandemic. The TEPIS’s plans, arrangements and the programme had to be changed and limited during this year, but a two-day conference, though virtual, was held in October. Members and friends of the TEPIS Society could gather together only remotely. I do hope that representatives of EULITA member associations would be able to meet in person soon.
EULITA’s accomplishments during its 10-year activity are impressive and should be highlighted. Worth noting are certainly the Code of Ethics, the EU projects, the ISO standard 20228, the growing membership of EULITA as well as the exceptional commitment and joint effort of the past and present Executive Committee officers.
I sincerely wish EULITA every success in the work that lies ahead and as President of TEPIS let me assure the Executive Committee of our continued readiness for involvement and support.
Kristiina Antinjuntti, Secretary , 2009 – 2013
Unfortunately, Kristiina Antinjuntti did not send an update on her life after EULITA. The Internet shows that she is currently the Executive Director of SKTL, the Finnish Association of Interpreters and Translators.
Lucia Castaño-Castaño, Treasurer, 2009 – 2016
Back in 2009, I was asked by APTIJ to represent our association in EULITA, which was then officially founded at the Antwerp Court. Since our association was still young at the time, becoming part of the first European association of legal interpreters and translators was a very special event for us. Being part of the EULITA team was a wonderful experience for me, which allowed me to meet colleagues from throughout Europe. I enjoyed my position as a treasurer during a time when, on a personal level, I had two of my three children.
Directive 2010/64 was definitely a milestone for our profession as the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings was formally giving the status of fundamental right at European level, causing in Spain a major change in our legislation in 2015. Still, our profession lacks the official recognition it deserves and surely APTIJ and EULITA will keep working together to improve the situation.
Now, both EULITA (and my children) keeps growing, and, hopefully, we will see more results of our common efforts in the near future.
Maya de Wit, Member of the Executive Committee, 2009 – 2012
|EULITA was established during my presidency of the European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters (efsli). My fellow board members, all spoken language interpreters, warmly welcomed me as the first sign language interpreter. Liese Katschinka, EULITA’s first president, worked tirelessly to get the association to work and made every effort to involve sign language interpreters. In 2012, after my second term as efsli president came to an end, my EULITA board membership ended and I moved on, focusing more on conference sign-language interpreting. In 2014 I joined AIIC and became the coordinator of the AIIC Sign Language Network. Just two years ago, I started my PhD research, focusing on International Sign interpreting in conference settings (see www.mayadewit.nl). Although I have moved away from the field of legal interpreting, I have nice memories of my EULITA days, and the very invite to write up this update tells me why.||
Maya de Wit
Flavia Caciagli, Member of the Executive Committee 2009 – 2016
Since my stepping down from EULITA Executive Committee I’ve applied everything I had learned in the years spent working with the Executive Committee, the projects, and from each and every one of the Executive Committee members. I have chaired my association, AssITIG, for the past ten years, but time had come for me to step down from our Board and put it in the hands of other wonderful members, who are really full of enthusiasm and willing to carry on for the best interests of the association.
|I have kept on working in courts and was, unexpectedly, flung into the brand-new experience of “remote” interpreting for courts during our lockdown. I think this is one very important development concerning legal interpreting although it has its pros and cons.
I’ve also kept myself busy attending webinars and specializing in interpreting for victims of torture and rape survivors, although I also love to spend my spare time enjoying my grandchildren.