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Directorate Conference and Protocol Trains Entry-Level Freelance Interpreters with Portuguese A/B/C, in, Bissau

The ECOWAS Directorate of Conference and Protocol has launched its inaugural programme, Specialised Training in Interpreting and Translation (DCP-STIT)' in implementation of one of the components of its approved Q2 Workplan. The first instalment of the training under the programme took place at the Hala Hotel, Bissau, Guinea Bissau, from 11th to 17th July 2023. This activity came on the heels of the previous activity 'Identification of Potential Portuguese A/B/C interpreters', which had run in Bissau in February 2023 as part of the preparations for the first ever chairmanship by a Portuguese speaking Member State.

The objective of these and future trainings is to equip trainees with the requisite interpreting skills to meet ECOWAS interpreting standards and offer high quality services to the Community institutions. The instalments will target the language combinations which the Commission has difficulty recruiting due to insufficient numbers and unprofessional quality on the supply side. The Programme will also play a role in the integration agenda of the Community, opening the eyes of young West Africans to employment opportunities as freelance language professionals.

On day 1, 'Training of Trainers: Teaching Self-Learning Techniques', Director of Conference and Protocol, Madam Olukemi Robinson-Atabuh, welcomed the trainers and moderators and presented the objectives of the Course and the expected results.

The 7-day training proper commenced on Day 2, with modules on 'Basic Introduction to note taking in Consecutive Interpretation', 'Simultaneous Interpretation; Problems and Solutions', 'Introduction to Remote Simultaneous Interpretation', 'Self-learning techniques', 'Introduction to ECOWAS institutions and agencies, amongst other modules. There was a final assessment test on the final day of the training and two successful candidates validated to be included on the Commission's roster of freelance interpreters and who are one step closer to success should they wish to be recruited by the Commission.

The inaugural training was delivered by DCP interpreter trainers, and two professional African external trainers recommended by the European Union and active in the Pan African Masters in Conference Interpreting and Translation (a UN sponsored initiative in which the ECOWAS Commission participated in 2011/2012).

For this inaugural capacity building session in the series, under the DCP STIT, the trainees were from the Portuguese speaking Member States. Others also had passive Portuguese in their language combination. The gender dimension has also been mainstreamed into the activity.

The DCP STIT Programme will be deployed to other disciplines in relation to gaps in capacity with the Directorate: Self-Revision in Translation, Tools for Termbase Building CAT Tools, Artificial Intelligence in the Language Industry. It is also being designed to partner with the Directorate of Education.


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