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The Conference Interpreters Association of Turkey Marks its 50th Anniversary with a Book funded by the European Union

Mon, 16.09.2019 - 19:40



The Conference Interpreters Association of Turkey (TKTD) held a press conference at Boğaziçi University to launch the EU funded publication: "The Things I've Heard: 50 Years of Conference Interpreting in Turkey" to mark its 50th anniversary.


Speaking at the press conference, TKTD President Bahar Çotur said, “As the first and only professional organization representing conference interpreters in Turkey, our aim is to pass the heritage we've preserved for three generations on to future generations. We believe that this book will be of interest to not only conference interpreters but also everyone who wishes to read Turkey's story from a completely different point of view.” Documentary filmmaker Somnur Vardar interviewed in 55 hours 35 conference interpreters representing three generations.


H.E. Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the European Union Delegation to Turkey, which is the book’s main sponsor, said, "The European Union has played a decisive role in the development of conference interpreting as a profession in all member and candidate states. The EU institutions trained potential conference interpreters from Turkey in Brussels at the end of the 80s, supported the initiation of undergraduate training and now contribute to the two graduate programmes in conference interpreting in Turkey, which have both been designated as EU Centres of Excellence, with funds and pedagogical assistance. We are pleased to see that these efforts have resulted in a pool of highly qualified conference interpreters in Turkey."  




Which politicians have interpreters enjoyed interpreting the most in the past 50 years? Who saved some of the movies screened at the Istanbul Film Festival in the 80s from being censored? Who made the final decision when the European Union and Turkey were negotiating about the new coins of the Republic of Turkey? How can conference interpreters listen and speak at the same time in simultaneous interpretation? What do economist Prof. Asaf Savaş Akat, actress Serra Yılmaz, writer Emine Uşaklıgil and academic Dr Bahar Eriş have in common? Why do Mitterand, Demirel, Özal, Clinton, Obama, Nevzat Ayaz, Bertolucci, Pessoa, Hanif Kureishi, Hrant Dink appear in the same book? These are some of the questions readers will find answers to in the 50th anniversary book.


Turkey’s conference interpreting journey began when the Economic and Social Studies Conference Board (currently TESEV), established by business people such as Nejat Eczacıbaşı and Vehbi Koç, trained a handful of talented multilingual young people to become interpreters with the support of the Ford Foundation. Afterward, a group of visionary conference interpreters founded the Conference Interpreters Association of Turkey in 1969. The book retells the socioeconomic, cultural and political history of Turkey in the past 50 years.  


The European Union Delegation to Turkey, Eczacıbaşı Group and Turkey Region of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) helped fund the book; almost half of TKTD's members and their students worked on the book as volunteers. The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) contributed to the project with its own digital archives.


For press inquiries:

Miray Akdağ  - Press Officer for the Delegation of the European Union in Turkey miray.akdag@eeas.europa.eu

M +90 532 624 93 56 / T +90 312 459 88 77


For more information and interviews, please contact:

Bahar Çotur – b.cotur@aiic.net, +90 532 472 5636

Verda Kıvrak – verdak@gmail.com, +90 532 200 0641