CETRA at Historic ASEAN Summit on Languages

asean-1CETRA was invited to participate in a historic summit to assist with the creation of a Translation and Interpretation (T&I) organizational body for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN represents a commitment to intergovernmental cooperation and economic facilitation between 10 southeast Asian member states. It is similar to the EU, but for Asian member states. The summit was held to create an ASEAN Multilingual Translation and Interpretation (MTI) committee designed to help provide common standards, support, and cooperative structure to the language industry across the participating 10 nations.

Currently, ASEAN nations have varying levels of TI industry development, so the role of the committee is to harmonize the efforts of the industry in both continued development and quality expectations. CETRA was able to provide insight from the global language services provider (LSP) perspective on:

  • Linguist qualification requirements
  • Regional differences in language service demands
  • Best practices and information on current translation technologies
  • Insights on other international standards for the language industry such as ISO, EN and ASTM
ASEAN Summit
Maneerat Sawasdiwat Na Ayutthaya (left), President, AATI ASEAN MTI, with CETRA’s Kim Groff at the ASEAN language summit.

This initiative is a historic moment for the language industry in southeast Asia. Though the ASEAN countries are vastly different with a wealth of language and cultural barriers, translation and interpretation are bridges that can truly allow great cooperation and unified strength across any and every industry they touch.

We are very excited to see how the regional language industry will expand and innovate through the support and guidance of the ASEAN MTI committee, and to see the many benefits that ASEAN itself will reap as a result of supporting the linguists and language professionals in the region.

Participating organizations of the summit included the International Federation of Translators (FIT), Association of Asian Translation Industry (AATI), language service providers and educational institutions.

The MTI committee was able to draft a series of best practice guidelines as a starting point for the committee to help grow, support and establish reliable certification of linguists in the region.

In the future, the committee plans to solidify its membership so that it is  managed by experts in all 10 of the ASEAN countries, and to formalize commitments and standardized best practices for the industry.

Over the past decade the AATI MTI has organized several T&I events in the region to celebrate National Translation Day and other key unifying activities for linguistic professionals. Next year will see the launch of an ambitious awareness campaign to address the relative devaluation of language services and the underrepresentation of the linguists who provide critical support to the entire ASEAN network in social, economic, and political arenas.

CETRA was very privileged to be included in the foundational stages of such a worthy and far-reaching venture. We look forward to cooperating with ASEAN MTI to help grow this historic initiative into a strong network of support for professional linguists and LSP partners in ASEAN for decades to come.

Blog by:
Kim Groff
Senior Project Manager