Established in 1994, the Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation of Beijing Foreign Studies University was the first such school in China. It was formerly the United Nations Translator Training Course established in 1979. As of 2020, the school has trained more than 2,000 top professional translators for the United Nations and other international and domestic organizations. Well-known alumni include Cui Tiankai, Liu Jieyi, He Yafei, and Zhang Qiyue.
With the mission of “cultivating top translators and cross-cultural communication talents with critical thinking”, the school has taken the lead in talent training, scientific research, social services and international exchanges for more than 40 years, and is committed to becoming a “Double First-Class” graduate school of translation and interpretation.
The Double First-Class Plan, short for World First Class University and First Class Academic Discipline Construction, aims to comprehensively develop elite Chinese universities and their individual faculty departments into world-class institutions by the end of 2050.
The faculty has 26 full-time lecturers, of whom 10 have doctoral degrees and five are PhD students. Most of the lecturers served as interpreters and translators in renowned international organizations, including the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the European Office in Geneva, UNESCO, the International Labour Organization and the World Health Organization. They provided interpretation for the leaders of the Communist Party of China and the State, as well as hundreds of heads of foreign states or governments at many high-end foreign affairs activities. The school also hires honorary, part-time and high-level visiting professors from home and abroad.
The school provides both master's and doctoral programs in translation. The mater's programs not only covers applied translation directions in multi-language interpretation, Chinese-English simultaneous interpretation, Chinese-English conference interpretation and Chinese-English translation and interpretation, but also offers master of research in interpretation theory and practice, translation and cross-cultural studies. The doctoral programs also have several directions including interpretation research and translation research. As of June 2021, the school had a total of 262 students, who after graduation will work in ministries and commissions, government foreign affairs offices, state-owned enterprises, multinational companies, universities and institutions, and in similar positions.
The school has frequent exchanges and cooperation with United Nations agencies and other international organizations in Chinese language examinations, translation training, talents training, and internship and professional training. More than 40% of the new Chinese translators in the United Nations are from the school.
On May 8, 2008, the school joined the Conférence Internationale Permanente d’Instituts Universitaires de Traducteurs et Interprètes (CIUTI) as the first Chinese member.
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