Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Non-native translation at Commission

In an earlier post I mentioned a Sunday Times article on a supposed shortage of into-English translators at the European Commission. While the article itself is somewhat confused, it now appears to have been based on facts, after all, however garbled in the transmission. This, in particular:
... the European commission has had to recruit linguists from Spain and Greece to translate documents into English
It turns out that Greek and Spanish translators are in fact being required to translate out of Greek and Spanish, into English and French, respectively:
As from 1 November, the Directorate-General for Translation decided that Greek translators would no longer only translate documents into Greek but they should also translate from Greek into English. Spanish translators will not only be obliged to translate texts into Spanish, but should also translate from Spanish into French
Now there is no reason why Greek or Spanish translators should not translate into English or French - provided they meet the same criteria as those who translate only into the language concerned.

But the Greek and Spanish translators concerned here are not qualified to translate into English or French and have not passed the relevant translation tests:
Does the new competence comply with the requirements of the job description? NO!
No Commission translator passed a competition in which this competence was necessary
Nor do they believe themselves to be properly equipped for the job:
TAO-AFI supports Greek and Spanish translators who have jointly REFUSED to carry out these new tasks
Although the following suggests some division in their ranks:
Will translation costs be reduced? NO! Greek and Spanish translators rightly request that their texts be revised by the English and French departments. Those departments have already declared that they need three times longer to revise a text written by non Anglophone/French-speaking persons then to directly translate it

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