Originating from an initiative of DGT to shape a project on the trans-European voluntary certification of translators, a consortium led by the University of Vienna submitted a project proposal called TransCert in February 2012, in response to a call for proposals by the European Union in its Life-Long Learning Programme (LLP). The project was accepted for funding and will start on the 1st of January, 2013 and will last for 2 years.
While the EMT network is able to provide innovative and high-quality translator education at a tertiary level, it is imperative to establish certification that makes sure that life-long learning is taken seriously and that the highest standards of quality and professional relevance are maintained. This main objective is addressed by the TransCert project by aiming at a transnational certification system that is built on best practice at national and institutional levels. The innovative approach of the TransCert certification scheme combines best practices in translation quality assurance (e.g. EN 15038), industry certification at European level (e.g. ECQA) and international standards in personal certification (e.g. ISO 17024 - General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons).
The consortium including its international advisory board that will carry out the project consists of leading representatives of the three important types of stakeholders or pillars of this area: university programmes (EMT members such as University of Vienna, LEUVEN Antwerp, ISIT Paris), translation companies (e.g. Intertext and EUATC) and translators’ associations, representing individual translators, as well as other related institutions and networks (FIT, SFT, GALA, EULITA, etc). The involvement of all stakeholders in the field will guarantee the quality and sustainability of transnational voluntary certification for translators, being open also to non-European and non-EU countries all over the world.
As TransCert is designed as a two-year project it will not be able to satisfy all the needs and concerns related to such an ambitious certification scheme. Therefore the first two years will be dedicated to the development of a first trial certification scheme based on the following Work Packages and criteria.
Eligibility for certification will be a recognized qualification, preferably a translation degree earned at an institution of higher learning.
After defining the skills a translator is required to have and analysing the real training needs by comparing existing translator training programs, market needs and the specific skills of translators working in the field (WP 4), the TransCert Consortium will create a training structure and a modular training programme suitable for five-day blended-learning training sessions devoted to those skills that appear to be underdeveloped in average translators (WP5). A learning portal will be designed and training materials will be converted to the format appropriate for Moodle. As the project is designed to prove the feasibility of a translator certification scheme, it will initially provide training material only in German, French and English. Therefore, within WP 5 only the English version of the training package will be available on the portal. In order to ensure effectiveness, only the final version will be translated into German and French. WP 6 will be aimed at testing the TransCert trial training programme and getting feedback on it from potential users in the market, with a view to improving the programme. The last step (WP 7) will be the finalisation of the training. Within this WP the final version of the training material will be translated from English into German and French and uploaded to the eLearning portal (WP4). The exam pool will be uploaded into the exam system. Train-the-trainer Events (WP 8) will complete the TransCert project.
This two-year planning does not preclude any future spin-off projects of TransCert dedicated to important aspects of any translator certification scheme. More specifically, spin-offs should be targeted at 1.) non-degree holders , 2) various domains (more advanced) and 3) LLD (languages of lesser diffusion) in order to provide a certification scheme catering to the needs of the international translators’ community.