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UPDATED: July 12, 2008 NO. 29 JULY 17, 2008
Translation Nation
The International Federation of Translators will hold its largest ever world congress in China on the eve of 2008 Olympic Games

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

Founded in Paris in 1953, FIT is a non-governmental organization under the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Because of this, the themes of many activities at FIT should reflect the concerns of UNESCO. Over the last two years UNESCO has actively advocated cultural diversity, which happens to be promoted by translation and interpretation, according to Huang.

In August 2005, the Translators Association of China (TAC) delegation bid successfully to host the XVIII FIT World Congress at a FIT Statutory Congress in Tampere, Finland.

Founded in 1982, TAC is China's only national translation association, functioning both as an academic society and a trade association. It became a member of FIT in August 1987. Huang said China is a translation powerhouse as it has been estimated that about half a million Chinese devote most of their professional life to translation.

"The selection of Shanghai was preceded by an outstanding effort on the part of the TAC leadership during the FIT Executive Committee's visit to Beijing in November 2004," said Peter W. Krawutschke, President of FIT, in a public letter intended to attract participants to Shanghai.

Explaining why China could be the first Asian country to host an FIT World Congress, Huang said TAC's active foreign communications were a factor, along with the rising lure of China itself and the recent popularity of the country as a conference venue.

The congress will be staged at the Shanghai International Convention Center, a five-star hotel on the bank of the Huangpu River. The six-day conference will be divided into two parts: a two-day statutory congress and a four-day open congress where topics like "interpretation and translation in international and national courts" and "certification of translators and interpreters" will be discussed at over 90 forum sessions.

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