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Why oppose regulation of translation and interpreting professions?
Thread poster: yolanda Speece
yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:09
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 2, 2005

DOes anyone know why some translators or interpreters would be opposed to state legislation regulating the professions?

During the HB 1341 Situation in TEXAS, there was a translator/interpreter who was opposed to this regulation.

When I asked why, he was very confrontational and never provided a straight answer other than saying that government regulation of these professions would be "coercive". I don't see how. What do you all think?

[Edited at 2005-08-02 18:41]


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:09
Member (2004)
Italian to English
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It depends on what the legislation would require Aug 2, 2005

There is much debate about this, including in Italy, where I live, where there are many translators who oppose the institution of a register for translators and many who support it.
For instance - many "young" translators here are demanding that only those with specific translating degrees be allowed to join the register and thereby work.
So what happens to the rest of us, who came into translating by many different doors?
That is just one, specific example, Yolanda.
I won't say any more, but I am certain there will be some heated (and hopefully healthy) discussion on the issue.
Angela


yolanda Speece wrote:

DOes anyone know why some translators or interpreters would be opposed to state legislation regulating the professions?

?

[Edited at 2005-08-02 18:41]


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:09
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
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I understand why some oppose regulation Aug 2, 2005

yolanda Speece wrote:

legslation that would regulate the translating and interpreting profession?

If I am in the wrong section please move me?!

[Edited at 2005-08-02 18:13]


Yes, Yolanda, I understand why someone would be opposed to that. A couple of years ago, my professional organization was considering the possibility of legal regulation. They came up with a (draft) set of requirements for continuing education and professional development that were impossible to meet for anyone other than full-time translators with a university degree in translation of a high-demand language (there are only one or two Canadian universities that have a degree program in translation and then only in French or Spanish). During a 2-year pilot test of these requirements they apparently received enough opposition from the membership that I have not heard another word about it since (and I hope I never will).

Certainly, it would be nice to have the title of certified translator or interpretor legally protected but on the other hand it is very difficult to come up with requirements that do not favour a small 'elite' and exclude a large number of translators who are otherwise perfectly qualified. For me, membership in my professional organization and certification in my language combination provides all the legitimacy I really need or want.



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-08-02 20:32]


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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:09
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TOPIC STARTER
I am pasting a copy of the legislation and tell me what you all think! Aug 2, 2005

H.B. No. 1341
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT relating to the creation of an advisory committee to establish qualifications for certain health care translators and interpreters.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Chapter 531, Government Code, is amended by adding Subchapter M to read as follows:

SUBCHAPTER M. ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON QUALIFICATIONS FOR HEALTH CARE
TRANSLATORS AND INTERPRETERS

Sec. 531. 451. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
(1) "Advisory committee" means the Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Health Care Translators and Interpreters.
(2) "Health care" means medical care, surgical care, hospital care, or any remedial care provided to diagnose, prevent, alleviate, or cure a patient's injury or illness, including mental health care.
(3) "Health care interpreter" means a person who is trained to orally communicate with a person with limited English proficiency by accurately conveying oral health care related statements into English and the language of the person with limited English proficiency.
(4) "Health care practitioner" means an individual who furnishes patient health care services under a license, certification, or registration issued by this state.
(5) "Health care translator" means a person who is trained to communicate in writing with a person with limited English proficiency by accurately translating written health care related statements into English and the language of the person with limited English proficiency.



(6) "Person with limited English proficiency" means a person who:
a. because of the person's place of birth or culture, speaks a language other than English; and
b. does not speak English adequately enough to communicate effectively with a health care practitioner.

Sec. 531.452. APPLICABILITY OF OTHER LAW. Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter or a rule adopted by the executive commissioner, the advisory committee is subject to
Chapter 2110.

Sec. 531.453. APPLICATION OF SUNSET ACT. The Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Health Care Translators and Interpreters is subject to Chapter 325, Government Code (Texas
Sunset Act). Unless continued in existence as provided by this chapter, the committee is abolished September 1, 2017.

Sec. 531.454. ESTABLISHMENT. The executive commissioner shall establish the Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Health Care Translators and Interpreters.

Sec. 531.455. MEMBERS.
(a) The Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Health Care Translators and Interpreters is composed of not less than 10 members appointed by the executive commissioner as provided by this section.
(b) The advisory committee must include:
i. one member who is a representative of a professional Translators and Interpreters Association;
ii. one member who is a health care interpreter;
iii. one member who is a representative of a mental health services provider;
iv. one member who is a risk manager for a hospital;
v. one member who represents the insurance industry;
vi. one member who represents a business entity that provides translators and interpreters to health care practitioners;
vii. one member who represents an organization that provides services to immigrants and refugees; and
viii. one member who is a representative of an institute of higher education.

(c) The remaining members of the advisory committee must include at least one health care practitioner and additional members, as determined by the executive commissioner, who represent the interests of consumers.

Sec. 531.456. DUTIES. (a) The advisory committee shall establish and recommend qualifications for health care interpreters and health care translators that include:
(1) for a person to be qualified as a health care interpreter or a health care translator, requiring the person to:
a. fluently interpret another language and convey that language into English and English into the other language:
b. have successfully completed at least 60 hours of training that includes training in anatomy, physiology, and medical interpretation, interpreter ethics; and
c. have practical experience as an interpreter or translator; and
(2) for a person to be certified as a health care interpreter, requiring the person, in addition to meeting the requirements under Subsection (1), to pass a written and oral exam on medical terminology in English and at least one other language.
(b) The advisory committee shall advise the commission on:
(1) the language proficiency required for certification as a health care interpreter or health care translator;
(2) training requirements for health care interpreters and health care translators;
(3) standards of practice for health care interpreters and health care translators;
(4) the requirements, content, and administration of certification examinations for health care interpreters and health care translators;
(5) the procedures for testing, qualifying, and certifying health care interpreters and health care translators; and
(6) reciprocity agreements with other states.

(c) The advisory committee shall:
(1) develop strategies for implementing the regulation of health care interpreters and health care translators;
(2) make recommendations to the commission for any legislation necessary to establish and enforce qualifications for health care interpreters and health care translators or for the adoption of rules by state agencies regulating health care practitioners, hospitals, physician offices, and health care facilities that hire health care interpreters or health care translators; and
(3) perform other activities assigned by the commission related to health care interpreters or health care translators.

Sec. 531.457. COMPENSATION; REIMBURSEMENT. A member of the advisory committee may not receive compensation, but is entitled to reimbursement of the travel expenses incurred by the member while conducting the business of the advisory committee, as provided by the General Appropriations Act.

SECTION 2. Not later than January 1, 2006, the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission shall establish the Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Health Care
Translators and Interpreters as required by Subchapter M, Chapter 531, Government Code, as added by this Act.

SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 2005.


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Tsu Dho Nimh
Local time: 02:09
English
Not proof of excellence Aug 2, 2005

yolanda Speece wrote:

DOes anyone know why some translators or interpreters would be opposed to state legislation regulating the professions?

During the HB 1341 Situation in TEXAS, there was a translator/interpreter who was opposed to this regulation.

When I asked why, he was very confrontational and never provided a straight answer other than saying that government regulation of these professions would be "coercive". I don't see how. What do you all think?

[Edited at 2005-08-02 18:41]


It adds a layer of bureaucracy, adds costs, and unless VERY carefully done, doesn't help the profession. It's more often used as a barrier to competition than to improve the profession. It's also used as a lucrative business by those who provide the training necessary to get licensed.

How would you prove competency? What test would you administer? What training would you require, and who would be qualified to give it.

Remember: Test answers and degrees can be purchased.


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:09
What does the proposed legislation intend? Aug 2, 2005

Hi Yolanda,
I was not aware of this initiative. I read your posting and, before being able to express any opinion, I think it would be really important to know what the proposed legislation intends to achieve. Is it just to ensure that interpreters/translators in the health field comply with certain minimum requirements? Guarantee the quality of their work? Protect their jobs?

To me, knowing the intention is basic before being able to comment. However, I cannot help but compare the situation with that of other health care regulated professions, such as physicians: even with all the regulations they have to comply with, bad physicians and malpractice cases have not disappeared... so I really wonder what kind of problem is this legislation trying to solve, or if there even is a problem.

[Edited at 2005-08-02 21:26]


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:09
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
do they know what they are talking about Aug 2, 2005

(1) for a person to be qualified as a health care interpreter or a health care translator, requiring the person to:
a. fluently interpret another language....


Do they know the difference between interpreters and translators?

What can you learn in 60 hours. It took me several years to manage the medical part of this profession.


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 01:09
English to French
+ ...
fluently interpret? Aug 2, 2005

Hi Yolanda

My main concern would be, who is going to write the legislation and/or decide that someone is qualified?

In my experience, very few outsiders even know what an interpreter does and what kind of training s/he has. For instance, the "health-care interpreters" you're referring to are really liaison interpreters, and you don't need a specific training to do that. Actually, any bilingual nurse should be able to handle this type of communication.

I agree with Rosa Maria that legislators should start by defining the intent of such a regulation mechanism.

Until they do, I will remain very skeptical as to the usefulness of this system.


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:09
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...
All monopolies are more or less bad Aug 2, 2005

yolanda Speece wrote:
Does anyone know why some translators or interpreters would be opposed to state legislation regulating the professions?


Dear Yolanda,

1. See above.
2. The diversity of subject areas and subject styles has made it
more or less impossible to offer appropriate tests, let
alone instituting courses for it.
3. Unlike many profession, translating is a very dynamic and
fluid activity, where competence and ability can change
rapidly due to external influence. We all have had this
happening to us. To bar those without a certificate from
having a chance to develop into new areas would be
counterproductive if we want to improve translation quality
in the world.
4. Languages develop rapidly. The best judges of these
developments are qualified customers, NOT bureaucrats in
certifying bodies, state or private.
The decision to select competent translators rests entirely
with the translation buyers and the intelligent ones test a
translator before passing that judgement. Therefore a good
piece of advice to translation buyers is:
Always test a translator! Do not rely on certficates,
accreditations or other similar documents!


In this imperfect world, ProZ.com is a gift from God,
facilitating the MUTUAL selection process leading up to satisfied translation buyers and sellers.
By offering various selection mechanisms like profile pages, KudoZ contributions, prominent positioning tools like Platinum fees, KudoZ points, forum contributions translation buyers can get a clearer picture of potential translators.
Likewise the profile page, the ProZ job section, the Blueboard service and other ways to stand out makes it easier and safer for translators to select their customers.

It' all based on maximum openness, freedom, tolerance, richness of information and colleaguial friendliness.

All certification solutions tend IMHO to produce the opposite.

Mats J C Wiman
Übersetzer/Translator/Traducteur/Traductor > swe
http://www.MatsWiman.com
http://www.Deutsch-Schwedisch.com
http://www.proz.com/pro/1749
(Proz.com moderator, deu>swe, Swedish)
Träsk 201
SE-872 97 Skog
Schweden/Sweden/Suède/Suecia
Tel:+46-612-54112 Fax:+46-612-54181 Mobile:+46-70-5769797
MatsWiman@tele2.se

[Edited at 2005-08-03 07:32]


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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:09
English to Spanish
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TOPIC STARTER
How would you all correct this? Aug 2, 2005

I am so glad it sparked interest in all of you!

This is great!


What would you change and how would you change it?


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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:09
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The purpose of this initiative is to set a standard for health care translators and interpreters Aug 2, 2005

More than anything, it was designed to inform people about the

qualifications these types of translators should have. More

often than not, people really do not know what they are hiring.

It all goes back to translator myths-we joke about them but

some people really believe them.

This bill was designed to clear the air about translators and

interpreters in this particular field. It defines both as

separate entities and defines their qualifications.


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xxxJane Lamb-Ru
French to English
+ ...
Some Regulation Aug 2, 2005

I think it is good to have a regulations for interpreters/translators,for those interested in being "sworn".
- Architects..license
- Lawyers....license
- Doctors...license
- Surveyors...license
- Plumbers.....=license
- Accountants...certification
- Journalists...Degrees
- Engineers.....License & Certification
- Others I can't think of..

all have 1) Educational Institutions/Standards 2) Professional Associations/Guilds 3) Regulatory standards they have to meet
4) and Lobbyists ie the US, that means having a representative in Washington, DC...

Why shouldn't translators/interpreters?

And what competition? To keep the price Up or Down? The more qualified you are, the better you get paid.

Whoever is not interested, need not apply, as they say.

I am interested and think we need this in the US, A Federal Sworn Translator Certification program. It only exists now for Navajo and Spanish....It should exist for many languages.

Testing? That has to be done by qualified persons who have MAs and Phds in Translation Studies....

Don't like it? Don't do it...I would like to see some real, four-year programs for translating/interpreting in the US besides what there is at Monterrey, Amherst-US Mass, and Phoenix or whatever.




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Rui de Carvalho  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:09
English to Portuguese
+ ...
why? Aug 2, 2005

Would you be a translator, you should be able to read, then you wouldn't need to ask why.

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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:09
English to Spanish
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TOPIC STARTER
You said "qualified customers". The people that come to PROZ, know what they are looking for Aug 2, 2005

some of the time!

Out in the world, some don't know what they are looking for and there really isn't anywhere to look for it. So some customers accept anything you give them because they don't know any better.

It's like the first time you ever bought a car. There is a lot of information out there regarding cars but if you don't know where to go to find this information, it's like not having any information and if you pick the wrong one, you could end up with a "lemon". If you don't know any better then this is what you accept.

The purpose of this bill was to inform the consumer as to what to look for when selecting a translator or interpreter for this type of field.

On another thread, I was talking about transation myths. We all got a good laugh but believe it or not, people believe these myths wholeheartedly and ignorantly because nobody has told them otherwise.

I think this bill has potential but I would like to see how you all would modify the flaws. What would you improve on this bill?


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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:09
English to Spanish
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Why don't you explain and tell me how you would change it? Aug 2, 2005

Rui de Carvalho wrote:

Would you be a translator, you should be able to read, then you wouldn't need to ask why.


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