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Indo-Swiss Translation and Interpreting Professionalization (ISTIP)

At a glance


India and Switzerland share as an inherent characteristic their widely practiced and officially recognized multilingualism. In the management of multilingualism, English (as a second language) has played a much more prominent role in India than translation and interpreting (T&I), whereas, in Switzerland, English (as a lingua franca or ELF) has been gaining ground against a background of a strong T&I tradition. In India, it is only in professional circles that the need for highly qualified translators and interpreters is recognized. As this need remains intangible in much of everyday life,, it is not accommodated for in terms of tertiary training opportunities. Instead, Indian universities have thus far focused on literary translation.

Commencing with a focus on dialogue interpreting, the ISTIP bridging grant project aims to facilitate an exchange of expertise between the Swiss partner ZHAW and the Indian partners from Pune University and Pondicherry University. A train-the-trainer and curriculum-development initiative, based on the long-standing expertise of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (IUED) at ZHAW from their accredited BA and MA programmes as well as continuing education sections, aims at extending the T&I programme range at the two partner institutions. In return, the Indian partners will share their expertise with English as a hub language and ELF communication in a multilingual environment, which is making strong inroads into multilingual Switzerland, and with EMI (English as a medium of instruction), which is becoming highly topical at Swiss universities. The partners are ideal in that the two Indian partners are the country’s main representatives of Switzerland’s main languages, German and French (Pune for German and Pondicherry for French).

In view of its potential for the professionalization of T&I in India, the opportunity of setting up small T&I businesses for Indian language students, the prospect of gaining intercultural experience and competence in a globalized world for Swiss students, and the examination of the implications of ELF on multilingualism and multiculturalism in international communication, the project will also explore the possibility of joint application for research projects extending the collaboration beyond the bridging grant phase.