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The CBTI/BKVT and its aims

The Belgian Chamber of Translators and Interpreters (CBTI in French, BKVT in Dutch) is the trade association for and representative of the translation and interpreting trades in Belgium. Its main goal is to promote the quality of the trades that it represents through their professionalisation, as well as defending its members’ collective interests. 

The non-profit association was founded on 16 April 1955 and given the title of “royal association” in 2006. It is one of Belgium’s rare bilingual trade associations, with members from and activities on either side of the French/Dutch language border. 

The CBTI/BKVT is an interest group for all the professionals plying the trades that it represents, whether or not they are members, work full-time or part-time, and whether or not they are employees. Most of its members are self-employed interpreters and/or translators who provide services to direct clients, translation and/or interpreting agencies, and/or networks of colleagues. 

Besides the various practical services that it gives its members, the association intends above all to represent the applied linguistics trades to the general public and national and international bodies. This work is supported by its membership of various regional, national, and international inter-branch federations. Its communications department is responsible for real-time transmission of information to the press, social networks, and direct contacts. In addition, it publishes a trade periodical, De Taalkundige/Le Linguiste (The Linguist). These tools have proven to be effective, especially during the pandemic crisis. 

One of the association’s important strategic missions is currently that of developing effective consultations and cooperation with the other operators on the market, both public and private. This strategic orientation is important, for it will make it possible to ensure a level playing field that will benefit all market stakeholders. 

The CBTI and its operation

The CBTI/BKVT is a non-profit association

The association has several types of member: 

  • Full members are professionals with verified skills and qualifications who enjoy a set of advantages offered by the association and determine its strategic orientation. 
  • Affiliated members (formerly associate members) are entitled to most of the associations’ benefits, but they belong to one of the following specific groups: 
  • Trainees are students or have just started their career and they do not yet meet all the conditions regarding experience or qualifications for full membership; 
  • Honorary members are chosen for their significant contributions to our trades and the association; 
  • Senior members are colleagues who have retired but still want to maintain a relationship with their trade association; 
  • The category of supporting members includes the Belgian universities’ translations and interpreting schools and specific major companies with large translation or interpreting departments with which the association has close ties.  

The CBTI/BKVT is deeply attached to democratic values and good governance.  

  • The General Assembly of its members is responsible for oversight and sets its major strategic priorities based on proposals from the Administrative Board. 
  • The Administrative Board runs the association and keeps track of progress made on the various fronts it is working on. 
  • An Arbitration Board is elected to settle disputes between members or between members and clients, provided that their general terms allow for it. 
  • An elected Disciplinary Board sanctions breaches of the Articles of Association, house rules or code of professional ethics. 
  • Sectoral commissions handle matters specific to the various trades the association represents. 
  • Administrative committees handle recurrent administrative tasks such as reviewing membership applications and recognising working language competency. 
  • In addition, a great many members take on important tasks such as keeping track of the language networks and drafting/translating various documents. 
  • The secretariat is the first line of contact with the public and members, as well as managing membership and taking charge of the logistics of event organization. 

All the work, with the exception of that of the secretary, is done by volunteers for the common good.

The CBTI/BKVT in figures

As on 31 December 2023, the CBTI/BKVT had 

  • 576 members, broken down as follows: 
    • 417 full members, 
    • 144 affiliated members, 
    • 9 supporting members, and 
    • 6 honorary members. 

In 2023 this site had 43,390 hits by 30,4443 different users, who consulted a total of 115,790 pages. 

Its periodical De Taalkundige/Le Linguiste is published four times a year. 

The CBTI/BKVT serving its members and the public

Besides the fundamental work done by the trade association to defend language service providers’ interests and to promote the quality and image of the various applied linguistics trades, the association also offers its members and the public a broad series of advantages and communication channels: 

  • a “Find your translator or interpreter” search engine
  • continuing education (lien) 
  • bilingual language networks (lien) 
  • a first line of legal advice (lien) 
  • various discounts on business-related purchases (lien) 
  • group insurance policies
  • rental of interpreting equipment (lien) 
  • model documents (lien) 
  • various publications 
  • forum for exchanges of ideas and advice (lien) 
  • a mediation chamber (lien) 
  • organisation of colloquia and conventions. 

The CBTI/BKVT and its partners

The CBTI/BKVT works with a series of partners and sponsors. 

Inter-branch organisations:

  • FIT/IFT: The CBTI/BKVT has been a member of the International Federation of Translators since its founding. This federation now has more than 130 national associations or training institutes in 78 countries under its wing and thereby represents more than 85,000 language professionals. The CBTI/BKVT co-organised with Mons-Hainaut University the FIT/IFT World Convention in 1999.
  • CSIPME : The CBTI/BKVT has a seat on the Higher Council of the Self-employed and SMEs of Belgium (CSIPME). This institution, regulated by a revised law of 10 June 2014, is the federal advisory body that represents our sectors. It plays a crucial role for the CBTI/BKVT in that it officialises our representativity and gives us a megaphone to which the relevant ministries listen most attentively.
  • FVB : The CBTI/BKVT is a member of the Dutch-language federation of liberal professions, which is a branch of Unizo (Unie van Zelfstandige Ondernemers or Union of Self-employed Entrepreneurs) – the Dutch-language organisation defending the self-employed and heads of companies in Flanders and Brussels. This very active association provides advisory services and training for associations of the self-employed such as ours.
  • UNPLIB : The CBTI/BKVT is a member of Union nationale des professions libérales et intellectuelles de Belgique (National Union of Professionals and Intellectuals of Belgium). The aim of this inter-branch association is “to promote, defend and represent the common moral, social and economic interests of the liberal professions”.

Other market players:

  • BQTA : The CBTI/BKVT has a friendly relationship with the Belgian association of translation agencies, Belgian Quality Translation Agencies.
  • EUATC : The CBTI/BKVT co-operates with the European Association of Translation Companies in contributing to its annual European Language Industry Survey (ELIS).


Did you know that the first Articles of Association of the CBTI/BKVT, which was founded at the same time as the first school for translators and interpreters in Belgium, included organising translation and interpreting classes as part of the association’s activities? Today, now that a dozen translation and interpreting institutes have been subsumed by universities, the CBTI/BKVT has excellent relations with these institutions. To give them a boost, final-year translation and interpreting students may become affiliated members of our association free of charge. In addition, the CBTI-BKVT holds a yearly competition,  “prize for the best final dissertation”, with substantial prizes given to the top three dissertations. You will find these dissertations in our virtual library. Moreover, most Belgian universities are also supporting members of our association. 

  • UCL : Formerly the Marie-Haps Institute: the Bachelor’s courses are given in Brussels, near the European quarter, whilst the Master’s are given at Louvain-la-Neuve.
  • ULB : The Brussels Free University has incorporated the former translation and interpreting institutes ISTI and Cooremans. Courses are given in nineteen languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, and Farsi.
  • UAntwerpen : Antwerp University has long offered training in translation and interpreting. It has a reputation for promoting close ties between its teaching staff and students.
  • ULiège : Liège University offers translation and interpreting in English, Dutch, German, Spanish and sign language into French. After the three-year Bachelor’s curriculum, it proposes a 2-year Master’s in either translation or interpreting or a double Master’s in translation and interpreting that lasts three years.
  • UGent : Having taken over the training offered by the former provincial institute and Ghent institute of translation and interpreting, Ghent University offers Master’s degrees in translation, interpreting and multilingual communication for seven languages in addition to Dutch.
  • UMons : Mons University has had a Faculty of translation and interpreting for years. The EII (Ecole d’interprètes internationaux) has forged a solid reputation for itself, especially in the area of European affairs, and was the first translation and interpreting school to become part of a university.
  • KUL : The former school for Dutch-speaking translators and interpreters, Vlekho, which then became the HUB, is now part of the Dutch-speaking Catholic University KUL, with premises in the heart of Brussels.

The CBTI/BKVT in networks

For a linguist, being able to keep up, even improve, one’s working languages obviously calls for continuing education. This is an important priority of our trade association. However, practice, not just the acquisition of theory and knowledge, is primordial to be able to juggle words. So, the CBTI/BKVT works with other national associations not only under the aegis of the International Federation of Translators (FIT/IFT) but by participating in a series of bilingual linguistic exchange networks as well. These networks provide opportunities for exchange in the form of linguistic debates, requests for help with ongoing translations, and above all discussions with native speakers who are professional linguists in other countries so as to keep abreast of changes on the language front. These exchanges take place via virtual fora, of course, but also through in-person meetings! 

These networks are organised at a national association’s request. 

Networks in which the CBTI/BKVT is currently active: 

  • The German/French network 
  • The English/Dutch network 
  • The English/French network  
  • The Russian/French network.