An interview with Dr. Amal Al-Malki, Founding Dean College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Hamad Bin Khalifa University
The Translation and Interpreting Institute (TII), part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), was launched in 2012 and continues to make an impact locally, regionally and beyond. We spoke to Dr. Amal Al-Malki, Founding Dean of CHSS, about TII’s success story.
TII has come a long way since its inception in 2012. While I am very proud of the institute's growth, I am most proud of the quality it has sustained. TII has persevered throughout the last decade because of its strong, dedicated community despite various challenges, only to emerge stronger; such as adapting to the changes brought to us by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At TII, we currently deliver three Master of Arts programs: the MA in Translation Studies and MA in Audiovisual Translation, both of which have been validated by the University of Geneva, and our latest, the MA in Intercultural Communication. There is also an opportunity for our graduates to pursue a PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences at CHSS, which TII is a part of, and I always feel the utmost pride when I see our alumni returning to pursue a PhD. Over the past 10 years, we have graduated 199 students, who are now active contributors to society, within their own professional fields and domains.
Our Language Center has also grown immensely since TII was founded. We now offer 12 languages for adults, namely, Arabic, English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, and Turkish. That is in addition to eight languages for children and teenagers, namely, Arabic, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Turkish, Mandarin Chinese, and Portuguese. Over the past 10 years, we have welcomed more than 15,000 language learners from the local community; whether children, teenagers, avid travelers, diplomats, and executives, among others!
We also have the Translation and Training Center (TTC) within TII, where we offer revision and proofreading services to Qatar Foundation centers and strategic partners in diverse fields, in the business, medical,and legal sectors, to name a few. Over the past 10 years, TTC has translated more than 13,000,000 words, delivered more than 2,000 interpreting sessions, and welcomed over 100 trainees.
I would love to see TII evolve into a leading international translation, interpreting, and educational language hub that invites students, academics, and professionals from all over the world and from different fields and professions. I would also love to see TII evolve into a historic institute with a strong, influential legacy that lives on for years to come.
Developing our graduate studies programs, creating partnerships, and increasing collaborations with local and international universities is something we are constantly and effortlessly working towards here at TII. Professionally, we would also love to increase and extend our partnerships and collaborations with the various sectors in the State of Qatar, the region, and beyond.
When TII was first established, it was important to build a reputation and a network within the community in Qatar, and to gain the public's trust. Now, I am very proud to see people choosing to visit TII with a curious mindset to learn more and benefit from what we have to offer. Over the years, we have partnered and collaborated with over 70 entities within Qatar, the region, and internationally.
Indeed, our community here at TII has certainly grown since the institute's inception. We have grown not only as a hub of education and research, but also as a service provider and employer, and our community continues to grow.
While I enjoy attending all the international conferences I am invited to be part of, my all-time favorite event is indeed TII's International Translation Conference. Since its inception, the conference has been designated as an international space that stimulates professional exchange and the promotion of the craft and specialization of translation and interpreting. It has positioned itself as an impactful driver of social development towards a knowledge-based society. This conference is a valuable opportunity for us at TII to network with other academics and professionals from all over the world in the field of translation. From what I learned over the years, the whole team at TII enjoys the conference. It has indeed become a pillar of our success over the decade, and a special opportunity for our employees to work in a fast-paced, rich environment where they see the fruits of their labor and the year of long, hard work they put into it.
I am proud that the programs offered through the Translation and Interpreting Studies Department (TISD), the MA in Translation Studies and MA in Audiovisual Translation, have been validated by the University of Geneva. Both programs are designed to train highly skilled translators and help them become more specialized in their fields, whether they work in business and commerce, science and technology, or literary translation. Our MA in Audiovisual Translation program is unique in the region, where the field of audiovisual translation is growing and in high demand. Once enrolled, students of the TISD find a wide range of professional opportunities in diverse contexts, and they are surrounded by some of the most professional and prominent academics in the field that encourage and mentor them to pursue these opportunities.
The Language Center at TII currently offers a wide array of languages for the public; 12 languages for adults and eight for children. Before we add any program, we seek out public opinion. We have a survey on our TII website which we invite the public to fill out so we can get to know what languages the community is most interested in learning. We live in a world that is constantly changing, and with demands that are rapidly shifting, so we always keep our options open at TII and do our best to match public demand.