It all started with
the Tower of Babel…


There has been a need for interpreters ever since the emergence of different languages, since the construction of the legendary Tower of Babel. Interpretation is therefore undoubtedly amongst the oldest professions of mankind. Nonetheless, professional and academic training for translators and interpreters is a relatively recent development.

The University of Innsbruck was one of the first to establish a department of interpreter training in 1945 following the example of Heidelberg (1933), Geneva (1941) and Vienna (1943).

Since 1972 it has been obligatory for students to study at least two languages. The languages currently offered are German, English, French, Italian, Russian, and Spanish (see curriculum).




Due to increasing demand for high-quality translation services in all sectors of public life, translation and interpretation studies is a subject of increasing importance at many schools and universities all over the world.

In Innsbruck, conditions for studying have improved immensely now that the department has been re-located to a new building directly on the banks of the River Inn. Here, the 500 students and fifty members of staff currently working at the department have everything they need for efficient and individual working in compact groups. The department offers an excellent infrastructure including bright classrooms, a computer room, and individual PC workstations. There is also a separate room for the students’ representatives. Students and teachers can spend a full and effective day at the department – attending or holding courses, studying individually, working in the library, in the DVD room or the computer room, holding project meetings, as well as relaxing and chatting with colleagues in the New Mensa and the Café á la Carte.

Given that studying abroad and getting to know the culture and people there are especially important for future interpreters and translators, the department encourages international student exchanges Erasmus. At the moment Innsbruck has exchange programmes with universities in Belgium, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Russia, and Spain.


The department is also a member of the Conférence Internationale des Instituts Universitaires de Traducteurs et Interprètes (C.I.U.T.I.). Membership has proved hugely beneficial to the department’s international standing and has also provided for a lively exchange of ideas on questions of translation theory and related research (C.I.U.T.I.-Academy - „High-level scientific Euroconferences“).



The Innsbruck university course of translation and interpretation is based on the latest results of inter-disciplinary research whilst also focusing on first-hand professional experience. The new curriculum enables students to specialise in the fields of specialised translation, interpretation and media communication in the third part of the course. Moreover, the Department of Translation and Interpretation Studies offers an additional in-depth post-graduate course in translation and/or interpretation theory at the Faculty of Humanities. Also planned is the introduction of an international post-graduate programme under the motto “building bridges - translation and inter-cultural, cross-border communication within the framework of globalisation“. This programme will offer long-term vocational training jointly offered by the universities of Leipzig, Innsbruck and Granada.


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