Closure of EMCI Conference Interpreting Course at the University of Westminster
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Geoffrey Petts
The Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages, Prof. Jeremy Colwill
The Head of the Department of Modern and Applied Languages, Prof. Paul Robertson
University of Westminster, London
We the undersigned, members of the global conference interpreting community, were shocked to hear of the abrupt decision to close the flagship conference interpreting course at the University of Westminster.
The decision is all the more surprising since the PCL/Westminster interpreter training course had been in existence for almost 50 years, making it one of the longest-established interpreting courses in the world. The interpreter training course at the University of Westminster is known in the profession to be a high quality course in terms of both academic content and practical preparation for working life, and regularly produces graduates of the high standard required by international multilateral organizations and the private market.
The course is moreover the only EMCI (European Masters in Conference Interpreting) member course in an English-speaking country and one of the few to meet the stringent training criteria established by AIIC (the International Association of Conference Interpreters). Its demise may have severe consequences for the training of conference interpreters.
The European Commission has already spoken out against this closure; we wish to add our voices to that of Marco Benedetti of the Directorate General for Interpretation, who expressed his concern at the closure of the course in a recent letter to the Minister for Europe and the Minister for Universities and Science.
With this letter, we wish to register our deep disappointment at this decision and hope that the University will actively explore ways of reopening the course in the very near future.