THE 6TH NITI CONGRESS AND WORKSHOP
The Nigerian Institute of Translators and Interpreters held its 6th Congress and Workshop and international Translation Day Celebrations in collaboration with the Nigerian French School, Badagry, 14th and 15th October 2005 in Badagry, Lagos.
The Workshop dealt with the following themes and sub-themes among others: 1.Translation, Interpretation, Cultural and National development. 2. Translation and Interpretation in International Organisations. 3. Professional Training for Translators and Interpreters. 4. Translations theory, Research and Information Communication Technology (ICT). Topics treated included Translation and Mass Media, Literary Translation and Comparative Literature, Religious and Community Translation. Papers were presented and discussions held on translations in ECOWAS, the ECOWAS Court of Justice, in the UN, the ADB and other inter-governmental organisations.
The congress and workshop were declared open by the honourable Minister of Education, ably represented by Mr.Onoja (Principal, Kings College Lagos),while the International Day Celebration by thr Honourable minister of Intergration and operation in Africa, who was ably represented by Alhaji Idris Adamu Kuta. The Minister of Education pointed out that his ministry has continued to emphasize the importance of foreign languages such as French in Nigeria, hence the Language is now compulsory in Junior Secondary Schools while it is supposed to be compulsory General studies in tertiary institution in the countries .He promised to ensure that translators and interpreters continue to be protected more and more.
In the Keynote Address earlier delivered by Prof Ekundayo Simpson, President of the Institute, he focused attention on translators’ and interpreters’ rights, which as he pointed out happens to be the theme of this year’s International Translation Day. He particularly pinpointed the role of Media translators and community interpreters, who work in Nigerian languages stating that they needed special protection compared to the European Language professional colleagues
In his own address, the minister of Integration and Cooperation in Africa, Senator Lawan Gana Guba commended the organisers ‘for their ability to package it in such a way that makes interpretations a distinct and highly respected profession with a clear vision and special focus on the ECOWAS regional integration’. He also congratulated the NITI President and the |Executive for their ability to nurture the institute to its present enviable height and international standard. He went on: Indeed with such an impressive line up of dedicated and renowned interpreters and translators that we can see here today, it is my belief that you will in no distant future rank among the most prized highly respected professional bodies in Nigeria and West African sub-region.’ He also pointed out the government needs to be told to avail its self of the various programmes and services offered by the Institute for the purpose of translating its policies and programmes into our local languages for easy dissemination and implementation by the officials, and better comprehension by our people.
The Honourable Minister was happy to hear that the NITI bill has been submitted to the National Assembly for passage into law. He called on members of parliament to see the need (and the wisdom) behind the draft document and hasten action in passing it into law; ‘When the bill is passed into law, it is our belief that the practice and translation and interpretation will be regulated to the extent that the profession will no longer be an “all comers” affair. He urged formal accreditation and recognition by the Federal Ministry of Education thereby making it a fully-fledged and officially recognized institution by the federal government. It is only through such action that your chances of receiving Government aid and grants can be guaranteed.
The interactive section that followed with the representative of the honourable minister proved useful and strategic and focused on the ministries effort at integration not only in West Africa but also in the whole of the African region.
The Congress, Workshop and International Day Celebration ended with a statutory meeting and election of officers. The following were elected members of the National Executive Committee of NITI:
President: Prof. Ekundayo Simpson
Vice Prsidents: Prof. Tundonu Amosu, Col. Chike Umesiobi and Dr. Isaac Shuaibu
General Secretary: Dr. Ihenacho Akakuru
Publicity Secretaries: Dr. Collins Obasi
Legal Advisers: Prof. Union Odebiri and Dr Lere Oladitan.
Exec. Committee Member: Prof. Stella Johnson.
Ex-Officio Members: NATI President (Alh. Adisa Balogun), NATI Gen Sec (Mr. Tony Adedoyin).
Branches of NITI to be revived or newly created: Lagos Branch: Prof. Sam Aje and Princess Bisi Gbadebo Soboyejo as President and Secretary respectively. Aba Branch: Dr Collins Obasi, Owerri Branch: Dr. Chima, Port Harcourt Branch: Dr. Akakuru as Presidents, while Dr. Shuaibu and Mr. Hafizu Miko Yankasai as President and Secretary of the Kano branch respectively.
Among the resolutions and recommendations made and carried over from the last congress were the following:
In view of the strategic and integrating nature as well as the security implications of translating and interpreting of local and foreign languages, government should recognize the role of NITI as the regulatory and crediting body for the translating and interpreting profession in Nigeria. The National Assembly is called upon to kindly hasten the process of arriving at the relevant law already initiated by NITI.
The Ministry of Cooperation and Integration in Africa should be requested to serve as the link between NITI and the National Assembly for the purpose of the enabling law.
The opinion of NITI should be sought on matters relating to the profession of translation interpretation in the country, including the welfare, remuneration and career structure of translators and interpreters, where applicable.
Organizations such as media houses and the ministry of Foreign Affairs who have on their staff translators and interpreters should endeavour to see them so designated.
NITI should take interest in the issue of the constitutional provisions for language use in the National and State Assemblies, more so since the use of Nigerian languages in such organs would help develop Nigerian languages and culture and create job opportunities for translators and interpreters.