Translators and interpreters are in the crosshairs of state and non-state actors around the globe. Hunted down and killed by insurgents, tortured by military regimes, prosecuted and imprisoned even in “free-world” countries, the assault on linguists is surprisingly far-reaching. To combat this critical state of affairs, Red T, a non-profit advocacy for translators and interpreters in high-risk settings, and the five major international language associations – AIIC (International Association of Conference Interpreters), FIT (International Federation of Translators), IAPTI (International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters), CLI (Critical Link International) and WASLI (World Association of Sign Language Interpreters) – have joined forces in solidarity. By drawing the attention of the public, governments and other bodies to the terrible fate of many of their colleagues, these organizations seek to achieve greater recognition and protection for translators and interpreters at risk.
The session will be led by AIIC’s Linda Fitchett and Red T’s Maya Hess and will lay out the current landscape for conflict zone linguists; present ongoing activities such as the Open Letter Project, the development of safety guidelines, and the pursuit of a UN Resolution for the Protection of Civilian Translators/Interpreters in Conflict Situations; as well as chart future endeavors.
Linda Fitchett was the President of the International Association of Conference Interpreters/Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conférence (AIIC) until January this year. Born and educated in England (B.A. University of Leeds and conference interpreting diploma London), she was a practicing conference interpreter for 37 years. Initially working as a freelance for various international organizations and private business in France for 20 years she then worked as a staff interpreter of the English interpretation service in the European Parliament for17 years until retirement. An active member of AIIC since 1974, she has participated in many of its varied activities and coordinates its project for Interpreters in Conflict Zones.