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Release: July 26, 2001

UI announces closing of translation service unit within Division of Continuing Education

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa has closed its Translation Lab, a service unit within the Division of Continuing Education, effective July 1. No UI employees have been terminated as a result of this closure. Gertrud Champe, who as director was the lab’s only employee for the last year, retired June 30 after nearly 20 years at the UI.

The Translation Lab was not connected to the M.F.A. Program in Translation offered through the department of cinema and comparative literature in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the lab’s closing will not affect the future of that program.

A regularly scheduled review of the lab during 2000-01 showed that translation services for UI students, faculty and staff could be more efficiently delivered by external commercial translation firms in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. The review committee recommended the closure to Provost Jon Whitmore, who presented the recommendation to the President’s Council on Strategic Implementation for approval.

Steve Hoch, associate provost and dean of International Programs, said he expected the closure to have no effect on UI students, who generally request translation of such simple, short documents as transcripts or letters of recommendation. Many of those requests were already being referred to local commercial firms. He said faculty and staff who request translation services usually need highly specialized technical translators for documents on such topics as biomedical research or engineering.

"It is not possible for the University of Iowa to have in-house technical translators for all the languages and specialized topics our students, faculty, and staff request," he said. "External firms offer a more efficient way to provide translation services and ensure a much higher quality translation."

Wide availability of such technologies as fax and email make it fast and easy to send and receive documents for translation, Hoch added, eliminating the need for purely local services.