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12 April 2000

Institute of Translation and Interpreting (IÜD) Stays at the University of Heidelberg

Minister von Trotha: "Modernisation of curricula a major priority"—Special commission to elaborate recommendations—Study proves that the IÜD is the foremost institution for the education of university-level interpreters in all Europe

The Institute of Translation and Interpreting (IÜD) is to remain part of the University of Heidelberg. The announcement came from Baden-Württemberg's minister of higher education and research on 12 April in Stuttgart. A decision had become necessary following the recommendation of Baden-Württemberg's Higher Education Structure Commission to envisage reorganising the Institute as (part of) a Professional College (Fachhochschule).

"After careful consideration of all relevant aspects by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research we have decided not to implement the recommendation of the Higher Education Structure Commission but to leave the Institute at the University of Heidelberg," said von Trotha. The decision was taken after consideration of a number of irrefutable arguments. In his announcement the minister emphasised the following points:

  • An up-to-date and representative study by the University of Mainz, supported by the European Union, demonstrates that there is substantial demand for interpreters working into and from German with university-level qualifications.
  • The study also shows that the Heidelberg IÜD is Europe's foremost institution in the education of university-level interpreters. A survey involving 550 such interpreters working in the EU revealed that 15% had their Diplom degree from Heidelberg, 12.8% from Germersheim, 5.6% from Saarbrücken, 6% from Paris, 3.96% from Geneva and 1.1% from the Fachhochschule in Cologne.
  • The high percentage of foreign students (25.25%) and the large proportion of women students (87.88%) gives the Institute a very special significance.
  • Graduate translators and interpreters no longer work exclusively in traditional foreign-language fields. Many of the graduates from the IÜD have jobs in new, exciting and well-paid professions (software localisation, web publishing, cultural consultancy, video-conferences, conference management etc.). In this connection the issue of continuing education is also important.

Minister von Trotha pointed out that keeping the Institute at the University does not mean leaving everything as it is. "The ministry is aiming at a qualitative and quantitative overhaul of the curricula on offer. In connection with special languages in the field of technology some form of cooperation between the Institute and a Fachhochschule will be taken into consideration," said von Trotha.

With a view to achieving a modernisation and updating of the courses at the Institute, the ministry plans to set up a special commission to elaborate proposals for the further development of study content and structures. In this connection thought will be given to the question of whether and to what extent closer cooperation with Fachhochschulen should be prioritised.

The commission will be made up of representatives from higher education, the business world, the professional association for translators and the translation services. It is expected to start work before the summer vacation.

Please address any inquiries to:
Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst
Press Office

Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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