Legislation on translation and interpreting (2 of 3): currently in Spain

The only regulated profession that requires a degree in Spain is the court interpreter. The other professions can be practised by anyone.

It’s obvious that the different specialities are not valued the same way. In Denmark, for instance, literary translator’s wages are less than a third of other specialised translators. And there are some prejudices even within the translators and interpreters’ community; therefore internal respect should be addressed before tackling the outer world.

On the other side, regulation one only speciality—as in Spain—or none—as in most countries—pushes professional intrusion into the background as a merely ethical concept. If that’s the case, quality is the only way to ensure good conditions in a tough market.

Quality depends on client satisfaction, organisation of the process, results and constant improvement. The objective quality of a translation depends on fidelity to the original content and message and the lack of mistakes, inconsistency or nonsense. To ensure this quality, translators must negotiate wages, deadlines and conditions with the clients. When an original is received, it has to be analysed thoroughly in order to provide a translation that’s correct in every aspect (language, content, style, format…), which should also be revised and corrected. Translators should keep a copy of their work and use all the contents and data derived from it for future projects.

Lay people surely ignore the complexity and even the existence of these factors and, of course, don’t have the knowledge to optimize them. However, clients might ignore them as much as non-professional translators and interpreters; fact that enhances the spiral of poorly delivered product and bad conditions that ravages the profession.

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

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

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

Asociación Aragonesa de Traductores e Intérpretes. Guía de calidad en la traducción. 2009. [consulted: October 2013]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s