Legislation on translation and interpreting (1 of 3): around the world

Due to the need of communication during colonisation, Latin American laws regulated some aspects of interpretation at the beginning of the 16th century. Ontario’s legislation recognised translators, interpreters and terminologists in 1989 and allowed them to use certified titles. In Venezuela, a university degree and membership in the National College of Translators are needed to practise.

Translation and interpreting training can be obtained in Germany; nonetheless, the lack of an established curriculum makes the quality of the studies variable and anyone with a title can practise. The French Society of Translators aims to limit the practice of court interpreting to qualified interpreters. The French Ministry of Culture also works to create a favourable legal situation. In other countries, recognition of the aforementioned professions isn’t even taken into account.

The image of these professions is noticeably different around the world. One of the main issues of translation and interpreting is that they’re often regarded as simple activities that require nothing but an average level of two languages. Given this reputation, it’s no wonder that author rights are not granted.

Author rights have been recognised by law in Finland and France since 1829 and 1957, respectively; as were they in Poland in the past, but not anymore. Danish literary translators and Norwegian translators receive a state payment for use of their work in libraries; while Italy hopes for an agreement about translator rights at European Union level.

However, international regulation is hard to achieve due to the fragmentation of the market and the client ends up paying low wages for a low quality product the translator has to provide in bad conditions. This situation is possible because, in countries with no restrictions, non-professional or non-trained translators accept those conditions and not only do they prevent the improvements of the sector, but they also contribute to its degeneration.

Views from Saint Paul's cathedral in London [Vicente Villamón]

Views from Saint Paul’s cathedral in London [Vicente Villamón]

Automatic Trans. «El mercado de la traducción». 2010. [consulted: October 2013]

BAKER, Mona. Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. Routledge: London, 1998.

Ley del Ejercicio de la Traducción y la Interpretación. Venezuela. [consulted: October 2013]

SUÁREZ, Guillermo R. «Mito o realidad: ¿Es posible aplicar tarifas internacionales de traducción en el Perú?». 2010. [consulted: October 2013]


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