The ITAT was founded in 1946 when the premises were located in Meerscheinschlössl in Mozartgasse. In 1988 a Chair of Translation Studies was established and Erich Prunc was appointed the Department’s first professor. This paved the way for the development of a doctoral programme and allowed the Department to reach its full academic potential. In 1994 the ITAT moved to its current location and also was accepted into CIUTI, the Conférence internationale permanente d’instituts universitaires de traducteurs et interpretes. In the 21st century, further chairs were established and Susanne Göpferich, Hanna Risku, Heike van Lawick and Esther Monzó Nebot joined the Department.
The academic development of the Department is also reflected in the design of the curricula. The first students studied only one foreign language. After five semesters they could obtain their translation diploma (Akademisch geprüfter Übersetzer) or they could continue to become interpreters and graduate as Diplomierte Dolmetscher. In 1972 a new curriculum was introduced; students were now required to study two languages and could specialise either in translation or interpreting. A major reform was implemented in 2002, which anticipated the introduction of the BA/MA structure in 2009.
Currently, the Department offers the BA in Transcultural Communication, the BA in German and Transcultural Communication (in cooperation with the German Department), the MA in Translation and the MA in Interpreting. The ITAT also organises diploma and other further education courses on a regular basis.
The Department’s most distinguished alumni include the authors Barbara Frischmuth and Wilhelm Muster, literary translators Elisabeth Markstein and Anton Maria Rothbauer and journalist Cornelia Vospernik.