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Nothing lost in translation here
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08:12, August 05, 2008

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The role of translators and interpreters in bridging cultural gaps is essential to building a harmonious world, Wu Jianmin, former Chinese ambassador to France, said here yesterday, at the start of the four-day 18th World Congress of the International Federation of Translators (FIT).

"Enhanced inter-cultural exchanges give Asian culture greater world exposure," he said.

The congress, which has been held every three years since the FIT was founded in 1953, is one of the most prestigious and influential international gatherings in the translation community.

"The scale of inter-cultural exchanges has never been so extensive," he said.

This year's congress, which has 1,500 participants from more than 70 countries and regions, is the first to be held in Asia. It will focus on the role translators have to play in promoting cultural diversity in the modern world, Wu said.

Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office and chairman of the local organizing committee of the 18th FIT World Congress, said the congress provided an opportunity for China to demonstrate its commitment to preserving and promoting cultural diversity.

Yohannes Mengesha, assistant secretary-general of the United Nations' department for general assembly and conference management, and a keynote speaker at the congress, highlighted the distinctive features and security aspects of simultaneous translation in universal political institutions such as the UN, as well as the role the UN and its linguists play in promoting multilingualism and respect for cultural diversity.

The FIT represents more than 60 countries and about 500,000 interpreters and translators worldwide.

On Saturday, at its statutory congress, the federation accepted seven new organizations - from Ethiopia, Russia, India, Iraq, Romania, China's Macao and the United States - as full members.

In reference to three of them being from Asia, Huang Youyi vice-chairman and secretary-general of the Translators Association of China said: "This demonstrates the growing cultural role Asia has to play alongside its economic development."

Source: China Daily

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