At the invitation of our Canadian colleagues, the 2014-17 FIT Council met in the Canadian capital for its first face-to-face meeting in this Congress year of 2017, also the 150th anniversary of Canada.
A number of Council Members could not participate face-to-face due to unforeseen circumstances including family commitments and death of a family member. Thanks to technology, and exceptional dedication of Council Members staying up late in the night in their respective time zones, the Council was only one less than the full complement during most of the deliberation.
Indeed there were many important business items deliberated during this meeting (see minutes). This is also the first Council Meeting for our new Executive Secretary, Mr Daniel Muller, a Swiss national with exceptional skill and experience in multinational organisation management, accountability and governance, including for associations of translators. This unique combination of skills and knowledge was evident to the whole Council very early on in this meeting. He will be a tremendous addition to FIT. Welcome Daniel!
FIT continues to expand its membership, income, visibility and influence, a trend consistent throughout this mandate. Not only do we fulfil our mission in bringing in associations from countries previously unknown to FIT like Hungary and Costa Rica, we also welcome specialist associations like National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators (NAJIT) of United States. The Council also oversees an ever expanding network of collaborations with stakeholders including World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Conseil Européen des Associations de Traducteurs Littéraire (CEATL) and PEN International. Mindful of the critical importance of speaking with a unified voice and maintaining reputation as FIT continues to grow, the Council prepared a discussion paper on FIT organisation structure, accountability and external representation which will be disseminated across the Federation for consultation and debate very soon.
During this meeting, the Council also sees more fruits from our QT21 project collaboration with Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz (DFKI). With the added financial resources and another successful year of dissemination partnership, FIT will be launching a pilot project using the MQM Quality Metric to assess machine translation output against professional translation. This will form the evidential basis of the limitation and quality of machine translation output. Soon, members of FIT member associations will be invited to submit proposals to be part of this important pilot project. FIT values the importance of research and its influence on policies and practice. The Council thanked Council Member Eleanor Cornelius, specially appointed liaison with DFKI, for another successful year now bringing real benefits to our membership.
Also on the theme of research, FIT also welcomes the new co-editor of Babel Professor Meifang Zheng of FTIM, and the newly constituted and formidable Babel Standing Committee including two honorary advisor Marion Boers and Andrew Evans.
Two special papers on the benefits of being FIT associate members and for literary translators association were tabled and discussed in detail. Stay tuned to be the first to know of initiatives to increase FIT membership and involvement in these two very important areas of our profession.
As in any Congress year, the Council considered additions, deletions and amendments to our Bylaws and Rules of Procedures as well as governing documents and regulations of other FIT organs in preparation for the Statutory Congress. In particular, the Council will propose amendments in direct response to the requests of the Berlin Congress and aims to resolve current and future ambiguities thereby improving governance. Members will receive the Council-sponsored amendments along with the second convening letter in May.
Similarly, despite the recent, unexpected disruption, ironically in keeping with the theme of the XXI World Congress, this Council continued to devote much time and energy to the upcoming triennial FIT flagship event, the focal point of translation, interpreting and terminology around the world. Alison Rodriguez, the name and face almost synonymous with the XXI FIT Congress, prepared the best transition possible handing over the responsibility to Kevin Quirk as new FIT Liaison on all matters relating to the XXI Congress, who with his unique conciliatory style of diplomacy, will protect FIT interests in the new disrupted realities.
Above, you will find the new faces in the FIT Executive Committee. New assistant Treasurer Sandra Bertolini of AITI, Vice President Kevin Quirk of NFF, taking over the third Vice Presidency vacated by our dear Terry Oliver of ITI and Alison Rodriguez of AUSIT taking the reigns as the new Secretary General.
FIT Council thanks all our observers (Presidents Gulnaz Aliyarzadeh of CTTIC, Marielle Godbout of ATIO, Réal Paquette of OTTIAQ, David Rumsey of ATA, Executive Directors Diane Cousineau of OTTIAQ and Phillippe Ramsay of ATIO, Michel Parent and Faith Cormier of FIT Regional Centre for North America and Kawal Kahlon Board member of CTTIC and Yutang Xing of TAC) for their support and contributions throughout the two-day Council Meeting. We would especially like to thank ATIO and CTTIC for hosting this important and productive Council Meeting and for their undying support till 1930 on Day 2, 2.5 hours after the scheduled finish. On behalf of FIT, we salute you!