About us > Background and history

Since its formation in 1976, Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru's primary aim has been to promote and develop professional standards in English/Welsh professional translation.

Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru was founded in 1976 when thirteen translators met in Aberystwyth on 15 October and decided that there was a need to establish an association of English/Welsh translators. At the time there were only about twenty full-time professional translators as the then Welsh Office, some local authorities and a handful of public sector bodies were only just beginning to employ translators and establish translation units and services. The need to form an association arose from the desire for a forum in which to discuss relevant matters, seek to standardize translation practices and agree on the development of standard Welsh-language terminology.

The history of the founding of Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru was chronicled by Berwyn Prys Jones in his lecture, ‘Troi a throsi: dathlu 40 mlynedd’ (The Hedley Gibbard Memorial Lecture, 2016).

The Association grew and developed as the number of professional translators increased. Some of its most notable milestones have included:

The establishment by Wil Petherbridge in 1989 of an assessment system for prospective members, a system further developed by establishing an examination system for Basic Membership in 1989, for Full Membership in 2003 and an Interpretation Assessment Test in 2005.

Grant aid obtained from the Welsh Language Board in 1997 enabled the Association to employ a part-time Administrative Officer. In 1999, with an increase in grant, this developed into a full-time post, and in 2001 the number of full-time staff doubled with the appointment of a Director. The post of Development Officer was created in 2004.

The post of Professional Development Manager in 2009 replaced that of the Development Officer and led to the establishment of a varied and successful training programme which led inter alia to an increase in the numbers and frequency of workshops, the development of the translation e-workshop, the 'Ymarfer CAP' (interpreting practice sessions), bespoke training programmes and a CPD scheme.

The appointment in 2001 of Dr Bruce Griffiths and Dafydd Glyn Jones as Honorary Presidents in recognition of their pioneering work in co-editing Geiriadur yr Academi (The Welsh Academy’s magisterial English-Welsh Dictionary).

The incorporation of Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru Cyf. as a company limited by guarantee in 2003, registration number 4741023.

The introduction in 2011 of the Code of Professional Conduct with which each member of Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru is expected to comply. This coincided with the establishment of both a complaints procedure and a translation quality assessment service.

The introduction in 2011 of Corporate Membership (amended in 2015 to Recognized Company) for private translation and interpreting companies, followed by the establishment of a procedure for recognizing public and not-for-profit organizations.

In 2012 the examinations system was revised and revamped with the appointment of a Chief Examiner and 2 deputies for the Membership Examinations and one deputy for the Interpretation Test.

A Student Affiliate category was established in 2015 to encourage and support students who wish to pursue a career in the profession.

A close relationship has been developed with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol ever since its inception 2011, and in 2014 a joint Memorandum of co-operation was signed.

Academic research has been sponsored through the financial assistance provided towards two PhD theses - Judith Kaufmann in 2009 and Dawn Wooldridge in 2015.

Interpretation in courts and the professional status of interpreters have both been strengthened in co-operation with HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru is being part-funded by the Welsh Government in 2016-17.