For three days, interpreters and translators from around the world discussed professional prospects and challenges, and shared their extensive experience with peers in an online format. Thanks to the web-based format, the Summer School has achieved a broad geographical representation of participants: over 400 specialists from 25 countries have taken part in master classes and seminars.

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In their presentations, interpreters addressed the challenges encountered when interpreting at State-level events; analysed typical errors made by translators and interpreters when working with top public officials; reviewed the use of artificial intelligence systems in translation; and discussed the current trends in translation and interpreting services market in the new economic realities.

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Svetlana Rubtsova, Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages at St Petersburg University, welcomed the participants and noted that the 2020 Summer School was the first to be organised as part of the work programme of a new educational unit.

Our key focus areas at the Faculty of Foreign Languages include translation studies. We are actively developing in this direction by implementing both additional educational programmes and master’s programmes. Hence, our interest is in issues related to translation and interpreting studies, teaching translation, and interpreting training. Besides, our academic staff carry out all the translation and interpretation requirements of the University.

Svetlana Rubtsova, Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages at St Petersburg University

Svetlana Rubtsova added that in the academic programmes in translation studies, St Petersburg University students acquire a variety of professional skills. On graduation, they can work as tour guides, English teachers, or may choose to become employees of international departments of business enterprises and diplomatic institutions.

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For students wishing to obtain a master’s degree in translation studies and intercultural communication, St Petersburg University offers unique academic programmes.

The event was hosted by the Faculty of Foreign Languages and the School of Foreign Languages and Translation at St Petersburg University. The School offers professional development and advanced training programmes in translation and interpreting. Over 500 students choose to enrol in these programmes every year. According to Kseniia Anisimova, Director of the School of Foreign Languages and Translation at St Petersburg University, the lockdown demonstrated that the academic staff were up to the challenge of making effective use of distance learning technologies: classes were not interrupted during the pandemic. She noted that a number of new educational programmes are scheduled to be opened in September. These include: a training programme for professional translators in specialised translation skills; and a professional development programme for academics who teach translation studies at universities. A number of modules are designed to be delivered through distance learning mode. Also, in academic year 2020/21, we intend to offer our programme ‘Translator in the field of professional communication’ as an e-learning course. This will make it accessible to students who live in St Petersburg and also elsewhere.

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The 1st International Summer School on Translation and Interpreting at St Petersburg University has showcased a unique panel of speakers, including: the Soviet and Russian interpreter and translator Pavel Palazhchenko, who worked with Mikhail Gorbachev and Eduard Shevardnadze (1985-1991); and Boris Naimushin, the official interpreter of the President of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov (2002-2012). Presentations were made by such experts as: Nikolay Borovskiy, a full-time translator and interpreter at the UN, interpreter and the Head of OSCE Vienna Language Services, a former Diplomatic Service member of the Language Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (USSR); and the interpreter Mark Bernardini, who worked for such organisations and institutions as European Parliament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Russia, Italy), Russian Presidential Executive Office; and many others. Representatives of companies working in various fields of the translation industry shared their experience with the participants: Aleksey Kozulyaev, CEO of RuFilms LLC, gave a lecture on the challenges of audio-visual translation; an intensive workshop on translation projects and professional development was conducted by Nikolay Kulikov, who is the Executive Director at AKM-West and a member of the Management Board of Translation Teachers Union of Russia, and Maxim Berendyaev, who is the Director for Technology and Quality at AKM-West and a member of the Board of the Union of Translators of Russia.

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All in all, 12 lectures and master classes have been held at the 1st International Summer School on Translation and Interpreting at St Petersburg University. The key speakers highlighted various facets of the profession – from university education for future translators to work in international organisations and companies.

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