Myanmar is expected to be appointed to chair ASEAN in 2014. For PM Thein Sein, who is trying to make clear the steps his country is taking towards democracy and reform in a bid to improve relations with international society, the successful implementation of over 400 meetings, including the ASEAN Summit, to be one of the largest issues faced by Myanmar. As government officials in Myanmar have in the past had severely limited contact with the international community, they have little experience in planning and executing international conferences. If Myanmar is to be successful as the ASEAN chair, it will be essential to raise the capabilities of its government officials. For this reason, the foreign minister of Myanmar approached the Foundation, given its past support for training of civil servants when the country was still under international sanctions.
In this project, the following activities will be carried out with the aim of raising the capacities of Myanmarese civil servants.
In FY2012 interns will be sent to Cambodia (ASEAN Chair in 2012) and Brunei (ASEAN Chair for 2013), as well as to the ASEAN Secretariat, to gain firsthand experience of all aspects of hosting international conferences, from the planning to the execution stage. Moreover, government officials will take part in training in Indonesia and Cambodia, two countries with experience of acting as the ASEAN Chair, in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Through this training, it will be possible for the Myanmarese officials to benefit from the experiences of these two countries.
●1st Interpreter Training seminar Held
Over the four day period from June 18 to 21, the inaugural seminar of a series of seminars to train interpreters was held at the National Center for English Language, an affiliate of University of Yangon. A total of 35 people took part in this training session, from the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Culture, the National Assembly Secretariat, Ministry of Economic Development, and Ministry of Education. On the first day, an opening ceremony was held with Deputy Foreign Minister Myo Myint in attendance.
Over the first three days, the trainees received instruction in skills necessary for interpretation, including voice interpreting, dictation, reproduction, and shadowing. On the third day, 15 participants were selected for an additional intensive course and exercises to take place on the final, fourth, day of the training involving simultaneous interpretation of a policy speech given by President Thein Sein.
This year, further training will be held in Japan and Myanmar with the help of experts in simultaneous interpretation from Japan.
●2nd Interpreter Training Seminar Held
Over the five day period from July 31 to August 4, the second seminar of a series of seminars to train interpreters was held at the National Center for English Language, an affiliate of the University of Yangon. Fourteen individuals selected from various ministries took part in the event.
The training at this seminar focused on the function of ASEAN as an international organization and the various issues surrounding the ASEAN countries, with a view to the trainees being able to interpret talks on these issues when Myanmar assumes the ASEAN chair. Intensive training was carried out in areas essential to skilled interpreters, namely, dictation, reproduction, shadowing, as well as practice in simultaneous interpretation using speeches given by foreign ministers at a real ASEAN summit. In addition, a lecture was held on terminology specific to ASEAN and means of constructing glossaries, with an official present from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This year, a total of five training seminars will be held in Myanmar (including the two already held), and one seminar will be held in Japan. The 3rd Interpreter Training seminar is scheduled to be held at the end of September in Yangon.
●3rd Interpreter Training Seminar Held
Over the six day period from September 24 to 30, the third seminar of a series of seminars to train interpreters was held at the National Center for English Language, an affiliate of the University of Yangon. Twelve individuals selected from various ministries took part in the event.
Following up on the work done in previous seminars, the training at this meeting focused on topics likely to come up in real interpreting situations when Myanmar assumes the ASEAN chair, such as the various problems surrounding ASEAN countries, including food and energy issues, as well as the ASEM Ministerial Conference on Energy Security. Moreover, a recording of a speech given by President Thein Sein at the UN during the training period was used as material for simultaneous interpretation practice. At this training session the participants also focused on interpreting between Myanmarese and English in addition to the fundamental skills of note taking and shadowing. Mid-career staff from the ASEAN section of the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs with extensive knowledge of ASEAN-related vocabulary and who are directly involved with ASEAN meetings were on hand to provide evaluation and feedback to the trainees regarding the accuracy of their consecutive and simultaneous interpretation between Myanmarese and English.
At the end of the training, the names of the eight participants selected to take part in the fifth training session in Japan in January next year were announced. The 4th interpreter Training Seminar is scheduled to be held in mid-December in Yangon.
●4th Interpreter Training Meeting Held
Over the six day period from December 17 to 22, the fourth seminar of a series of seminars to train conference interpreters was held at the National Center for the English Language, an affiliate of University of Yangon. Fourteen individuals selected from various ministries took part in the event, as did five observers recommended by the Ministry of Education.
The 5th interpreter Training Seminar is scheduled to be held for eight handpicked individuals from January 21 in Tokyo.
The training at this seminar focused on themes such as education and labor, policies to counteract poverty and disasters, and other issues surrounding the ASEAN countries, with a view to the trainees being able to interpret talks on these issues when Myanmar assumes the ASEAN chair. Furthermore, as a means for the trainees to further develop their practical interpreting skills, exercises employing voice-based training materials were used, based on content that the interpreters will be likely to come into contact with at ASEAN Education Ministers' Meeting (ASED) and such events.
Moreover, in line with another facet of this project, namely, the program to raise the capacity of Myanmar to host the ASEAN Conference Meetings (consigned to the ASEAN-Myanmar National Secretariat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Union of Myanmar), a presentation was given by Mr. Zaw Win, one of the trainees. Mr. Zaw Win, an official from the Ministry of Education, was sent to the ASEAN Summit (Nov 18-21, Phnom Penh) as a member of the delegation organized by the ASEAN-Myanmar National Secretariat. He spoke about the sites visited by the delegation and his observation on the trip. For the trainees hoping to take part in the ASEAN meeting in 2014, the information provided was both practical and beneficial, and a spirited Q&A session followed.
5th Interpreter Training Seminar Held
Over a five day period from January 21, the fifth seminar of a series of seminars to train interpreters was held by Diplomat Ltd., Tokyo, as an SPF-consigned project. Attending this seminar were eight individuals selected from the participants of training seminars 1-4.
As a new addition to the training programme, trainees dealt with economic problems relating to ASEAN, as well as construction of glossaries for interpreting purposes using the Internet, with a view to their upcoming interpreting tasks when Myanmar assumes the ASEAN Chair. Moreover, a boost to the practical side of the training was provided through practice using the latest interpreting booths and equipment.
Given that this training seminar was held in Japan, the trainees listened to a seminar on future prospects in Japanese politics hosted by the Sasakawa Middle East Islam Fund. The lecturers for the training seminar provided simultaneous interpretation during this event, giving the trainees an opportunity to learn about the content of the work of a simultaneous interpreter at an international conference.
The sixth and final seminar for interpreter training in fiscal 2012 is scheduled to take place for six days from March 4 in Yangon.
Training at Diplomat Ltd.
Left: Interpreter training in simultaneous interpretation booths in the meeting room of The Nippon Foundation building; Right: Courtesy call on Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of The Nippon Foundation
Left: Courtesy call on Mr. Hanyu, chairman of The Sasakawa Peace Foundation; Right: Visit to Kamakura
6th Interpreter Training Seminar Held
Over a six day period from March 4, the sixth and final seminar for fiscal 2012 of a series of seminars to train interpreters was held at the National Center for the English Language, an affiliate of Yangon University. Thirteen individuals selected from various ministries took part in the event.
In this training seminar, the trainees took part in several realistic interpreting scenarios in which one trainee would stand at the podium in the classroom and play the part of the speaker, while another would interpret what was being said. A number of relevant themes were addressed in this seminar, including the results of Cambodia (the 2012 ASEAN Chair), the current situation of ASEAN, regional developments concerning the ASEAN Econonomic Community planned for construction by 2015 , cultural differences between ASEAN countries/their neighbors in Asia and US/European countries, as well as the factors leading to clashes over these differences.
On the final day, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Diplomat Ltd., the project consignee, presented a certificate of completion to the participants of the training in 2012.
The interpreter training project is set to continue for the nine months remaining until Myanmar assumes the ASEAN Chair in January 2014. The first seminar for interpreter training in 2013 is scheduled to take place for six days from May 13 in Yangon.
||The Sasakawa Peace Foundation
||Year project budget implementation