Guests listen to live interpreting in Japanese and Chinese at the opening of the newly refurbished JM Campbell Conference Facility
Guests listen to live interpreting in Japanese and Chinese at the opening of the newly refurbished JM Campbell Conference Facility
17 September 2010

UQ’s reputation as a global leader in translation and interpreting studies has received a boost with the opening of a high-tech learning space.

The newly-refurbished JM Campbell Conference Facility will be used by students in the award-winning Master of Arts in Chinese Translation and Interpreting (MACTI) and Master of Arts in Japanese Translation and Interpreting (MAJIT) programs.

Head of the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies (SLCCS) Professor Alfredo Martínez-Expósito said the University's early vision in building its languages program had paid dividends.

"We were the first Japanese conference interpreting program in the southern hemisphere and remain the top program, with the best facilities,” Professor Martinez said.

"We now have the best Chinese interpreting program in Australia as well and have plans to expand to other world languages.”

Potential future offerings include Portuguese and languages from the Middle East.

UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Deborah Terry and Peter Davidson, former Director of UQ’s Asian Studies Centre were on hand to officially open the new space on September 14.

The original facility has a remarkable story of its own, and was named after its benefactor, John Monteith Campbell.

Mr Campbell was a Queensland grazier who had been assisted by local residents after unexpectedly falling ill during a trip to Japan.

He was so moved by their kindness that upon his death in 1974 he bequeathed a quarter of his estate to UQ to “advance the education of oriental languages within the State of Queensland”.

In 1983 it was declared these funds would be used to establish special conference facilities to provide training in interpreting skills for postgraduate students of Japanese.

Things have come a long way since then, with the refurbished space boasting the same conference and simultaneous interpreting equipment used in a professional setting.

“Students will have the confidence required by using the equipment we have provided here, to confidently approach the often difficult task of interpreting the many different topics and presenters that they will encounter at international meetings and conferences,” Professor Martínez-Expósito said.

To demonstrate these new capabilities, eight current students from both the MAJIT and MACTI programs simultaneously interpreted guest speaker speeches, broadcast live to those in attendance.

Media: Thomas Dunlop at SLCCS (07 3365 6914,