2014-04-03 00:46:21

What qualifies SATI to comment on standards of court interpreting?


1 April 2014

For immediate release

What qualifies SATI to comment on standards of court interpreting?

The South African Translators' Institute (SATI) has been challenged recently in the press as not being qualified to comment on standards of interpreting, in particular court interpreting. This challenge is based on serious misconceptions of what SATI is and whom it represents.


SATI is a voluntary association of some 900 language practitioners, i.e. translators, interpreters, text editors, proofreaders, terminologists, lexicographers (dictionary makers), etc. "Translation" as a generic term includes many of these occupations, hence the reference only to "translators" in SATI's name.


In the absence of statutory regulation and a professional council like those for doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, auditors and accountants, etc., SATI has been working for years at regulating the quality of the work done by its members. To this end, it has followed a two-pronged approach, focusing on inculcating in its members an ethical awareness through its code of ethics, and establishing a voluntary accreditation system.


The accreditation system has been in existence now for some 25 years and is a certification of the competence of members who subject themselves to the accreditation examination, which comprises a peer assessment based on a practical examination that evaluates the candidate’s actual ability to translate, edit, interpret, etc. The assessment is in most cases double-blind, i.e. two accredited examiners who have no contact with each other assess each candidate's work, with the candidate being identified only by an examination number (clearly this anonymity is not possible for Sign Language).


SATI currently has 51 accredited interpreters in a number of language combinations, i.e. English and the following: Zulu, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French and SA Sign Language. Among all of the above interpreters, some of whom are also members of the SATI Council, resides a wealth of practical and theoretical (also academic) knowledge of interpreting practice. Certain members of the SATI Council have also been personally involved in interpreting in court and for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and are fully aware of the pressures involved in such work.

Furthermore, SATI, with the Department of Justice (DoJ), in co-operation with representatives of most tertiary institutions at the time, was instrumental in establishing in the mid-1990s a Diploma in Legal Interpreting that was offered by a number of universities and that soon developed into a BA degree in Legal Interpreting at UNISA. This was done to afford court interpreters the opportunity to enhance their skills and qualifications. SATI members at the various tertiary institutions in consultation with DoJ have developed and taught these qualifications and have acted as examiners of court interpreters studying towards the diploma or degree.


Although now defunct, these qualifications were the forerunners of the current Certificate in Legal Interpreting offered by the University of the Witwatersrand and University of the Free State under the auspices of the Safety and Security Sectoral Education and Training Authority (SASSETA). SATI members helped develop this qualification too by participating in the South African Qualifications Authority's standards-generating body that wrote the qualification and are currently involved in the teaching and assessment of these courses at the universities concerned.


All of the above testifies to SATI's competence indeed to comment on the quality of the interpreting that has been so much in the spotlight with the Mandela memorial service and the Pistorius trial. In addition, SATI has also played its part since as far back as 1996 in the establishment of what has now been passed by Parliament as the South African Language Practitioners’ Council Bill, which only needs to be ratified by the signature of the President to become law.


It is hoped that this legislation will further enhance quality in language practice, as it will cover those practitioners not currently belonging to any professional association and who are not subjected to any form of regulation or control – including court interpreters.



2014-04-02 16:50:44

New PanSALB member


SATI welcomes the news that SATI member Wannie Carstens (also Chair: SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, and a member of the Afrikaanse Taalraad) has been appointed to the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) for a period of five years. Congratulations, Wannie! It is not clear who else will serve on the Board.


The Afrikaanse Taalraad issued the following media statement on 18 Maart 2014:

Die Afrikaanse Taalraad verwelkom die Minister van Kuns en Kultuur, mnr. Paul Mashatile,  se besluit om lede van die Pan Suid-Afrikaanse Taalraad (PanSAT) te benoem. Daar is lank voete gesleep met  finale benoemings. Twee direksielede van die Afrikaanse Taalraad het gister hulle benoemings as raadslede vir ‘n termyn van vyf jaar ontvang. Hulle is prof. Wannie Carstens, direksielid en vorige voorsitter van die Taalraad en tans voorsitter van die SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns en hoof van die Skool vir Tale, verbonde aan die Noordwes-Universiteit (Potchefstroomkampus) en drs. Hendrik Theys, verbonde aan die Departement Afrikaans van die Kaapse Universiteit van Tegnologie. Dit is nog nie duidelik wie die ander lede is en wie die voorsitter gaan wees  nie. 


PanSAT wat ‘n waghond vir meertaligheid in Suid-Afrika moet wees,  was lank disfunksioneel onder ander vanweë berigte van ernstige finansiële wanbestuur. Waar die liggaam ‘n belangrike rol moet speel by die  operasionalisering van die Taalwet is die aanstelling van ‘n bekwame span taaldeskundiges ‘n stap in die regte rigting. Die Afrikaanse Taalraad spreek die hoop uit dat die nuwe raad sonder politieke inmenging met deskundige  taalbeplanning en taalbestuur ‘n billike en realistiese taalbedeling vir Suid-Afrika sal bewerkstellig.


Prof. Jacques van der Elst
Uitvoerende Hoof
Afrikaanse Taalraad
082 8807636
012 9972647. 

2014-01-08 18:13:53

FIT World Congress 2014


Join us in Berlin!


2014-01-08 17:56:07

SA Translators’ Institute welcomes statement on regulation of the profession


15 December 2013


The South African Translators’ Institute (SATI) welcomes the statement made by Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashitile on Friday (13 December) that government will “speedily begin regulating the [language practice] profession in early 2014 through the South African Language Practitioners’ Council Bill”.


The Institute started advocating such regulation as far back as the mid-1980s and was delighted when the Department of Arts and Culture in June this year introduced prospective legislation in this regard in the form of the South African Language Practitioners’ Council Bill. SATI together with its sister organisation the Professional Editors’ Group requested a process of public participation before the Bill went to Parliament and, when this was granted, prepared a detailed submission on aspects of the Bill that the organisations felt needed further consideration. The Department seems to have taken some of these aspects into account in the version of the Bill presented to Parliament, but SATI fears certain matters are still not clear enough.


The Bill provides for control of the accreditation and registration of language practitioners, and this will certainly help prevent incidents like that with Thamsanqa Jantjie at the Mandela memorial service last week. However, having run its own voluntary accreditation system since the late 1980s in the absence of a government-sanctioned scheme, SATI is fully aware of the challenges involved and that it will not be possible to have the Council set up and running in just a few months.


“There are many aspects to be considered,” said SATI chairperson Johan Blaauw. “SATI stands ready to assist the government in any way it can, and we hope they will make use of our experience. We also trust they will recognise the good work we have done towards professionalising the industry by granting automatic accreditation to language practitioners already holding accreditation from SATI.”

2014-01-08 17:50:38

SATI on fake interpreter’s alleged affiliation to professional bodies

15 December 2013


The South African Translators’ Institute (SATI) would like to correct statements regarding the so-called fake interpreter (one Mr Thamsanqa Jantjie) made by the Deputy Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, as quoted by various media sources, inter alia the SA Government News Service.  According to some reports, she said the interpreter was registered with the “South African Translators”, and according to the SA Government News Service that he was registered with the “South African Interpreters Association”. She also said he was accredited.


SATI, the only professional association of language practitioners in the country that includes interpreters, is neither of the two organisations referred to by the Deputy Minister. In fact, those organisations simply do not exist. SATI therefore wishes to state explicitly that the interpreter is not one of its members.


As regards accreditation, SATI is currently the only organisation that has an interpreter accreditation system in place. There are South African Sign Language-accredited interpreters (SASLI) who are SATI members. These interpreters have been vetted in the peer assessment process that the accreditation entails and that involves members of the Deaf community as well as currently accredited interpreters. SATI also has an MOU with the Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA) for the accreditation of SASLI.


There are therefore no other accredited interpreters, and Mr Jantjie is most definitely not accredited.


Other statements by the Deputy Minister are also deserving of comment. Trying to shift the focus by lamenting the fact that the camera “only picked up the one sign language interpreter who was interpreting for those deaf people who were physically at the event” and that he had “gotten confused as he tried to interpret from English to Xhosa to sign language” is unacceptable. One might excuse him on medical grounds, but if the interpreter’s English or interpreting skills were not up to scratch for interpreting directly into SASL he should never have offered his services for that.

It is one of the basic tenets in the interpreting and translation fields that one does not accept work for which one is not qualified. Having attended a school for the deaf and done an introduction to sign language course likewise do not make one an interpreter. It is too easy in South Africa for people to pass themselves off as interpreters when those hiring them – including government – are more concerned with cost than quality.


We welcome Minister Paul Mashatile’s statement on Friday (13 December 2013) that work on the regulation of the profession will start early in 2014, something the Institute has long supported.



2014-01-08 17:47:05

SATI on "fake interpreter"


11 December 2013


The South African Translators' Institute (SATI) has added its voice to the chorus of protests against the man dubbed “the fake interpreter" at the Mandela memorial service on 10 December. This organisation is 57 years old and a member of the International Federation of  Translators. SATI's membership is made up of more than 800 professional translators, interpreters, text editors and other language practitioners.


There is not yet any regulation of the language practice industry, despite SATI's appeals for legislative regulation going back to around 1985. An act of parliament establishing a professional council is at long last in the pipeline, though. SATI realised that in an unregulated environment unscrupulous operators in the field could easily take advantage of the general public if clients don't know the languages involved. For this reason an accreditation system was introduced in the late 1980s as a form of quality assurance to safeguard the public.


This institute's interpreter accreditation system has been in operation for approximately 15 years, specifically to counteract the kind of malpractice this incident at the Mandela memorial service testifies to. The existing accredited SATI interpreters work mostly in the spoken languages, but some are SA Sign Language (SASL) interpreters.


In the light of this incident, SATI urges the general public to check whether language practitioners they intend using are SATI-registered, and preferably accredited, for a particular language combination.


Enquiries by members of the public wishing to obtain the services of reputable language practitioners, including SASL interpreters, may be directed to the SATI executive director, Marion Boers. Names, language combinations and contact details of some freelance practitioners can also be found on SATI's website at


2011-12-12 15:19:02

Submission on SA Languages Bill


The Institute on 12 December 2011 made the following submission to the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture in relation to the SA Languages Bill recently published in the Government Gazette:


Submission to the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture on the South African Languages Bill [B23-2011]


  1. The South African Translators’ Institute (SATI), as a key stakeholder in the operationalization of South Africa’s language dispensation, welcomes the opportunity to comment on the South African Languages Bill, 2011.

    SATI, established in 1956 and with some 800 members across the spectrum of language mediation activities such as translation, interpreting, text editing, terminology and lexicography, is the only comprehensive, non-profit professional organisation for language practitioners in South Africa. Whereas initially SATI’s members were translators working almost exclusively in English and Afrikaans, its focus has shifted significantly since 1994. As a result, SATI’s members are now representative of activities in some 50 languages, including all 11 official languages and South African Sign Language, as well as other languages such as French, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin.

  2. SATI is of the opinion that translation and interpreting are not merely communication-oriented activities, but are also pivotal reconciliatory tools in promoting tolerance, understanding and mutual respect in expanding and consolidating the young South African democracy.

    Since 2003 SATI has been particularly concerned about the conspicuous absence of the proposed South African Languages Act and the South African Language Practitioners’ Council Act. Together with other language stakeholders across the board, SATI has argued that government’s language policy and planning have become trapped in a gap between ‘intention’ and ‘performance’, also as far as the provision of translation and interpreting infrastructure and services is concerned. It would seem as if the translation and interpreting profession in South Africa has been marginalised, with the result that its beneficial reconciliatory role in promoting tolerance, understanding and mutual respect, as well as its language development and empowerment role, are being ignored. 

  3. SATI wishes to draw the Portfolio Committee’s attention to the fact that almost a decade of language policy and planning limbo has passed since the release of the first version of the SA Languages Bill for public comment on 30 May 2003, when it was published in the Government Gazette, and a final consultative conference held in June 2003. It is imperative to note that the period of limbo saw only one significant intervention, i.e. the summons that was served on government on 14 August 2009 by an individual, Mr C Lourens, in an effort to force the promulgation of the South African Languages Bill (Lourens vs. The President of the Republic of South Africa and others, 2009).

    On 16 March 2010 the High Court ruled that in terms of the Constitution the national government had neglected its duty to regulate and monitor the use of the official languages by means of legislative and other measures. The Court found that government was in violation of the provision in section 6(4) of the Constitution that government must "promote and advance" all the official languages and ensure that they are accorded equal treatment. The Minister of Arts and Culture was given two years to fulfil government’s constitutional obligation to regulate and monitor the use of all 11 official languages.

  4. SATI has noted with concern that the current version of the Languages Bill deviates considerably from its earlier version, which was prepared under the guidance of a ministerial advisory panel and published in May 2003. It is important to bear in mind that the 2003 version was the result of a comprehensive consultative process that started with research into language needs and requirements by the highly acclaimed Language Plan Task Group (LANGTAG) in 1995, a process that included at least four national consultative conferences on a language policy and plan and language legislation (SA Languages Bill and SA Language Practitioners Council Bill) from 1996 to 2003.

  5. SATI is of the opinion that the 2011 version of the Bill, as government’s response to the High Court ruling, is an unsuccessful and weakened revision of the 2003 Bill. The Portfolio Committee’s attention is furthermore drawn to the evidently broad consensus among language stakeholders that the 2011 version does not support the spirit and letter of the language clause in the Constitution regarding the promotion of multilingualism, nor the provisions of government’s 2003 National Language Policy Framework and its Implementation Plan.

  6. SATI believes that the 2011 Bill, if enacted, will not bring about the necessary change to South Africa’s current de facto monolingual language dispensation, in particular as regards the linguistic behaviour of the government bodies to which it will be applicable. Section 3 of the Bill clearly limits the scope of the Act to national government only, i.e. “national departments, national public entities and national public enterprises”. The scope of the 2003 Bill, on the other hand, was significantly broader and included “all organs of state” and “other institutions where and when applicable” (section 3(2)), specifying that organs of state referred to “any department of state or administration in the national, provincial or local sphere of government”. This in effect fails to cascade multilingualism down to the level of greatest linguistic disempowerment, where local populations, owing to the de facto monolingualism (or at most the bilingualism of the old dispensation), can only interact to a very limited extent with the sphere of government with which they come into contact most. Ironically, local government is precisely that government interface where functional multilingualism can (and must) be brought most tangibly to the peoples of our country.

    Moreover, in reducing the scope of the Act to omit beneficiaries of interaction with government at the provincial or local sphere, the 2011 Bill disempowers speakers of the ‘minority’ official languages (i.e. all languages other than the dominant language, English) to take action when policy implementation failures occur at these lower levels of government. The 2011 Bill therefore clearly ignores a profoundly important language policy principle, i.e. that rules and regulations are made for people, not for a language or language(s).

  7. SATI has noted with concern that the rotation system provided for in the 2003 Bill involving the use of six official languages for communication by organs of state has been scrapped. SATI’s concern is based on the fact that the inclusion of this system based on the notion of functional multilingualism was the result of a broad consultation process that is now being unilaterally negated. The rotation system arguably creates a normative environment with the potential of exposing responsible institutions’ deviation to public scrutiny.

  8. Another serious matter of concern is the negation of the powers and functions of South Africa's only language-dedicated statutory body, the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), established in terms of section 6 of the Constitution. PanSALB’s lacklustre performance and its under-funded and under-staffed language substructures that were created since its establishment in 1996 have been widely condemned and criticised. However, the omission of PanSALB is also indicative of the dynamics of the current organisational arrangements between government's executive arm in language matters – the National Language Service, located within the national Department of Arts and Culture – and PanSALB. The convoluted institutional and interest arrangements between these two pivotal language policy and planning agencies have given rise to a plethora of contradictory and counter-productive (power) structures in the language policy and planning landscape that point to the urgency of a comprehensive review of government’s language policy, planning and management.

  9. In view of the serious flaws in the 2011 Bill and in view of the language management situation explicated above, SATI would like to appeal to government to acknowledge that its language policy and planning have not realised their intended purposes, of which the flawed 2011 Bill is particularly diagnostic. Since policies are never "complete scripts" but are mutable in nature, SATI would like to argue that the time has now come to acknowledge that South Africa’s language policies are (relatively) incomplete and should therefore be revised following pressure and critique from stakeholders across the board.

    Fifteen years after the publication of the Final LANGTAG Report and eight years after Cabinet approved the long-awaited National Language Policy Framework (NLPF) it is evident that post-apartheid language policy and planning have seemingly become trapped in the "gap" or "disjunction" between policy development and lack of policy implementation. Moreover, it is overwhelmingly clear that the 2011 Bill is seriously flawed and at most an empty gesture to appease the High Court ruling. A comprehensive review of the language needs and priorities as identified by language stakeholders since the LANGTAG process is therefore deemed to be imperative. A review of policy will, among other things, have to pay close attention to "gap-producing factors" such as citizens' language preferences and repertoires, as well as the current position and development of the African languages.

  10. SATI would like to suggest that the time has come to call for a national language policy forum where effective dialogue may take place between the domains of policy development, implementation and management, and therefore between politicians and bureaucrats on the one hand, and language stakeholders and interested parties on the other.

  11. SATI, as a key stakeholder in the operationalization of South Africa’s language dispensation, is prepared to give government its full support in collaboration with other organisations and bodies active in the field of language. A multilingual language policy that is applied in a consistent manner is and will remain an essential instrument through which all South Africans can attain their full potential and contribute in a meaningful manner to the development and expansion of a prosperous democratic dispensation.

2011-09-04 20:28:34



SATI entry a FIT winner


SATI member Prof. Daniel Kunene was the recipient of the Karel Capek Medal for translation from a language of limited diffusion at the XIXth World Congress of the International Federation of Translators in San Francisco on Thursday 4 August 2011


It is with great pleasure that we announce that at the closing ceremony of the XIXth World Congress of the International Federation of Translators (FIT) in San Francisco on Thursday 4 August 2011 SATI member Prof. Daniel Kunene received the Karel Capek Medal for translation from a language of limited diffusion. The award was made to him for My Child! My Child!, his translation from Zulu into English of CLS Nyembezi’s novel Mntanami! Mntanami!, first published in 1950. The translation was published by Maskew Miller Longman in 2010.




SATI member Marné Pienaar, SATI chairperson Anne-Marie Beukes and FIT president and SATI executive director Marion Boers with Prof. Daniel Kunene at the awards ceremony


The fact that Daniel Kunene was a contemporary of Sibusiso Nyembezi (1919-2000) makes the translation all the more interesting. This classic Zulu novel, now available for the first time in English, explores many issues still relevant today and offers readers valuable insights into life in both rural and urban South Africa during the early years of apartheid. Mntanami! Mntanami! was usually the first novel read by Zulu readers in South Africa in the 1950s. Its intellectual power and critical realism have not diminished since its publication over half a century ago. Sibusiso Nyembezi belongs to a group of Zulu intellectuals such as HIE Dhlomo, Benedict Wallet Vilakazi, EHA Made and Jordan Kush Ngubane, who revolutionized South African culture in the 1940s, comparable to what Xhosa intellectuals had achieved in the 1880s.


Among the comments made in the citation for the award were that the translation is a “commendable effort to bring literature written in Zulu … to other South Africans … as well as to the international English-reading public.” The jury chairperson felt that Kunene was the most deserving candidate because “apart from his very large experience in translating literary works and the awards he [has] received, Kunene translates from African languages into English. This means that he is opening these languages and cultures to the world via English.”


Comments on the translated work show Kunene’s resourceful thinking on how to convey linguistically foreign concepts in the target language. My Child! My Child! was seen as an ambitious translation that not only effectively bridges the gap between extremely dissimilar languages, races and cultures in general, but also deftly revives a milieu of decades past for a gratifying presentation to today’s diverse worldwide readership. The translated work has an almost global reach in terms of bringing together both the nations of the world and the different communities within the country of its origin. The translator’s career and professional exploits tell a story of avid pioneering and capable stewardship in the field of literary cross-cultural communication.


Daniel Kunene is Professor Emeritus in the Department of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, and has an honorary DLitt et Phil degree from the University of South Africa. He is an honorary lifetime member of ALASA (African Languages Association of Southern Africa).


The Karel Capek Medal is made available by the Czech Literary Translators´ Guild in memory of the great Czech writer.


We congratulate Prof. Kunene on this achievement. 


Unfortunately, SATI’s other two nominations for the FIT Awards – Adele Palmeri’s translation into Italian of Pamela Gien’s South African play The Syringa Tree for the Aurora Borealis Prize for translation of a work of fiction and Anne-Marie Beukes and Marné Pienaar’s production of an Afrikaans version of the FIT translation terminology collection for the Aurora Borealis Prize for translation of a work of non-fiction – were not winners, but none the less featured among a range of excellent entries.


The International Federation of Translators (FIT) makes a series of awards at its World Congress every three years recognising translations of outstanding quality as well as the best periodical and website of a member association. More information about the awards and the Federation can be found on FIT’s website at


SATI’s executive director Marion Boers was re-elected president of the International Federation of Translators at the congress in San Francisco. This is her second term as president and will run until August 2014.


The International Federation of Translators is a world-wide federation of professional associations bringing together translators, interpreters and terminologists. With more than 100 members in 55 countries, it represents the interests of nearly 100 000 language professionals. Further information can be found on the FIT website:


2011-07-18 18:51:46


SATI member new chair of the SAASA


2011-01-31 09:54:14

Alliance of Language and Media Practitioners (LAMP) is launched

The much-anticipated Alliance of Language and Media Practitioners (LAMP) was signed into effect in Johannesburg on 19 January 2011. This groundbreaking achievement resulted from months of discussion between the founding partners: the Professional Editors’ Group (PEG), the South African Translators’ Institute (SATI), the Southern African Freelancers’ Association (Safrea) and the Writers’ Guild of South Africa (WGSA).


The parties have formally joined forces to support and publicise the rights, skills and general recognition of language and media practitioners.


LAMP’s convenor and Safrea Chairman, Clive Lotter, notes: “This is a historic breakthrough for professionals in the media, language and creative industries. For the first time our organisations can present a united front to industry players when representing our members’ interests.”


John Linnegar, Chairperson of the Professional Editors’ Group, is thrilled by LAMP’s founding: “The Professional Editors' Group (PEG) welcomes the establishment of LAMP as a forum through which organisations active in the language and media fields can collaborate more closely. This has been an objective of ours for some time now, as our work overlaps with that of kindred associations in many respects.”


The aims and objectives of LAMP, as outlined in its Memorandum of Understanding, are the following:


  • To establish regular communications and coordinate activities based on common interests
  • To coordinate their public relations
  • To research, coordinate and publicise recommended rates of payment for all media and language disciplines
  • Through trade unions and other bargaining mechanisms, to lobby the government and industry players to standardise minimum rates in the media and language industry
  • To share expertise and pool our strengths to improve service offerings to members and eliminate unnecessary costs
  • To coordinate and share training resources
  • To develop united positions in representing members in industry issues and in relevant industry bodies, associations and other forums


"SATI is pleased to have a forum for engaging with other organisations in the language and media field, as our work overlaps in many respects,” said Professor Anne-Marie Beukes, Chairperson of SATI. “The creation of LAMP can only strengthen and benefit these professions and facilitate public awareness of the role played by language and media practitioners in a multilingual South Africa."


Thandi Brewer, Chairperson of the WGSA, comments: “For movie and TV industry writers to join forces with our language and media colleagues is a natural fit. We have many common interests and will gain by sharing our intellectual property and standing together in representing our interests.”


Going forward

While the alliance parties develop common positions and share resources, each member association will retain its own identity and continue serving its own constituency. The partners have agreed to rotate the leadership between the member associations, with Clive Lotter of Safrea being selected as its initial convenor.


LAMP invites all like-minded organisations in the language and media fields in South Africa to consider joining and strengthening the alliance.


About the Lamp Alliance Members

The Professional Editors’ Group (PEG)

The Professional Editors' Group (PEG) is a voluntary professional association that represents more than 400 language practitioners – writers, copy-editors, sub-editors and proofreaders – in southern Africa. The Group works to ensure that its members uphold high standards of copy-editing and proofreading, to promote professionalism and professional behaviour among copy-editors, and to enhance the understanding among potential clients and the general public of the work professional editors do.


The South African Translators’ Institute (SATI)

The South African Translators’ Institute is a voluntary, non-governmental, professional association representing over 800 language practitioners in South Africa. Members include translators, interpreters, language editors and terminologists. The Institute works to ensure high standards in the language industry.


The Southern African Freelancers’ Association (Safrea)

The Southern African Freelancers’ Association (Safrea) is a non-profit, professional membership organisation composed of freelance workers in the communications field. Members are writers, photographers, editors, proofreaders, graphic designers, illustrators, researchers, translators, and other experts in communication, offering a broad range of skills and specialities.


The Writers’ Guild of South Africa (WGSA)

The Writers' Guild of South Africa (WGSA) is the new name of SASWA, The South African Scriptwriters Association, formed in 1974. It remains the only association in South Africa with the sole purpose of assisting, protecting and promoting scriptwriters in the local film and television industry and new media.


LAMP Convenor: Clive Lotter 082 920 3731 or

The Professional Editors’ Group: John Linnegar (Chairperson) 021 552 5240 or OR PEG Administrator: 011 792 5768 or

The South African Translators’ Institute (SATI): Anne-Marie Beukes (Chairperson) 083 675 8053 or OR Marion Boers (Executive Director) 011 803 2681 or

The Southern African Freelancers’ Association: Clive Lotter (Chair) 082 920 3731 or OR Gareth Griffiths (Vice-Chair) 021 789 2560 or

The Writers’ Guild of South Africa (WGSA): Thandi Brewer (Chair)

2010-03-17 23:51:20

High Court order on the government’s constitutional obligations in relation to language


The SA Translators’ Institute (SATI) has expressed its satisfaction with the judgment of the High Court on 16 March in which the government was ordered to honour its constitutional obligations in relation to the use of the official languages within the next two years.


As a non-governmental organisation representing translators and interpreters, the Translators’ Institute has since 1994 with great enthusiasm supported the spirit and letter of the language clause in the Constitution and tried to promote the use of all the official languages in its sphere of influence. The Institute is eagerly anticipating announcement of the measures that the government and its executive authority, the National Language Service in the Department of Arts and Culture, will take to implement the constitutional requirement of fair use of the official languages.


The Institute is prepared, in cooperation with other organisations active in the field of language, to give government its full support. A multilingual language policy that is applied in a consistent manner is and will remain an essential instrument through which all South Africans can attain their full potential and contribute in a meaningful manner to the development and expansion of a prosperous democratic dispensation.




2008-09-03 13:37:33

The South African Translators’ Institute becomes an international heavyweight

Marion Boers, Treasurer and Office Manager of the South African Translators’ Institute (SATI),  brought the Institute, and South Africa into the limelight when she was elected President of the International Federation of Translators (FIT) at the 18th World Congress in Shanghai, China.

Pretoria, 18 August 2008 – Ms Boers, representing SATI at FIT’s 18th World Congress in Shanghai, China, was elected to a three-year term as President of FIT. She is taking over the reins from an icon in the industry, Prof. Peter W. Krawutschke, who is widely regarded as the man who made FIT a more global organisation. Mr Huang Youyi, vice-president of FIT, said Krawutschke had done a good job raising the organisation's profile, adding that the president has "helped put FIT on the map".

FIT is an acclaimed international federation of translation and interpreting associates, with more than 100 member associations, such as the American Translators' Association (ATA), Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) in the UK and, of course, the South African Translators’ Institute (SATI). The Federation strives to promote the morale and material interests of over 100 000 translators and interpreters worldwide.

Ms Boers is expected to fill the shoes of Prof. Krawutschke quite comfortably. She has been a member of the executive of the South African Translators' Institute since mid-1989 and has run a virtual office for the Institute since July 2000. She has a BA in languages from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and a Postgraduate Diploma in Translation from the University of South Africa (Unisa). She began her career in 1983 at the government language office in Pretoria, where she spent four years and received thorough inhouse training in translation and editing. Since January 1987 she has worked as a freelancer for a wide variety of clients in both the public and private sectors. She translates into English from Afrikaans, French, German and Dutch.

SATI was established in August 1956 and has been the champion of professional and student translators, interpreters and editors in South Africa for over 52 years. It is also usually the first port of call for many clients looking for professional language practitioners or for more information on the profession.

SATI currently has 730 registered members and has shown a steady increase in membership over the past five years. It is the only recognised translation institute in South Africa and offers the only professional accreditation structure for language practitioners available in South Africa.

SATI is on the frontlines fighting fervently for the interests of the translation profession and to protect both its members and the public against exploitation and unethical conduct in all language-related matters. SATI is passionate about improving the skills and level of service of all its members and focuses on hands-on, experience-based learning.


2017-06-02 16:37:10

ITD Adopted by the UN!


24 May 2017

United Nations recognises role of professional translation

24 May 2017 marks a historical milestone for all professional translators, interpreters and terminologists as the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted Resolution A/71/L.68 recognising the role of professional translation in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development.

In the same resolution, the United Nations General Assembly declares 30 September to be UN International Translation Day to be celebrated across the entire UN network.

Official recognition of the International Translation Day (ITD), first celebrated back in 1993, has been one of the long-standing missions of the International Federation of Translators (FIT) since its inception. Many attempts have been made to seek official recognition of ITD, especially from our partner UNESCO. As recently as early 2015, a delegation with a letter signed by FIT President to the Secretary General of UNESCO attended the inaugural launch of International Mother Language Day, but to no avail. Multilingualism, successful implementation of which is intricately linked with professional translation, interpreting and terminology, is one of the key pillars of the United Nations and it is a central component of its engagement with citizens from 193 Member States through its six official languages. It is particularly poignant that Resolution A/71/L.68 compliments the Nairobi Recommendation of 1976, widening the scope to encompass all human endeavours by recognising the role professional translation plays in connecting nations – the very theme of ITD2016, proposed by the American Translators Association (ATA).

This resolution also enshrines and celebrates the importance and the irreplaceability of professional translation in international human endeavours. It highlights the critical need for training the next generation of professional translators, interpreters and terminologists to meet this ever-increasing demand as international interaction, cooperation and collaboration continue to grow. The United Nations, in collaboration with its university partners, has been one of the leading centres of excellence in training the translators, interpreters and terminologists who will continue to play a critical role in international security and prosperity in Member States and across the UN.

Both FIT and the UN are about bringing people together. Resolution A/71/L.68 not only brings the UN and FIT closer together with ITD coinciding with the International Week of the Deaf (IWD) and following the successful inaugural combined observation and celebration of the IWD and ITD last year, it is hoped that the celebration of ITD across the UN will also highlight the important role played by the national and regional sign languages, especially in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Finally, it is important to remind the Federation and the wider profession that 2017 already marks an important milestone. The European Commission and the wider European Union will be observing and celebrating the ITD for the first time in conjunction with the European Day of Languages (EDL) following last year’s successful meeting between the Director-General for Translation (DGT) and Director-General for Interpretation (DGI) and the FIT President at the European Commission.

The theme for #ITD2017 is Translation and Diversity.

Let International Translation Day be celebrated all around the world in 2017!



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