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Absurd Chilean ruling affecting translators
Thread poster: traductorchile

traductorchile  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 10, 2016

A couple of months ago I published in "Pulse" and my website a letter I sent to the Minister of Works in Chile protesting against a ruling that provides unsupported privileges to a group of translators. In fact, the rules created oppose recommendations given by experts and current practices in the translation world, for example:
- The translator can be a non-native living in the non-native country (source of the text)
- The translator can be an interpreter accredited as such before the courts in Chile
- The translator can be an official non-native translator accredited in the non-native country
- The translator can belong to XXX translators' association (one association in particular)
- If the translator belongs to none of the above, the client must attest before a Notary Public that the client certifies that the translator is competent, and the client takes all responsibility for any mistake.

On July 4th, 2016, Mr. Juan Sanchez Medioli, Director General of Public Works, signs the response given by the MoW to the detailed interpellation of the rules in force for delivering documents in other languages, in the context of international tenders. The response received is clearly insufficient, and would fail any summons to provide evidence supporting a given position.
Here is what I believe should be the next steps…

http://www.sinclavos.cl/DOP-E.php

This is the first chapter:
http://www.sinclavos.cl/Minister.php

Would you accept this ruling in your country if things were the other way around?


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traductorchile  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Nope Jul 17, 2016

I wouldn't

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traductorchile  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
And Jul 23, 2016

I won't

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liviu roth
United States
Local time: 08:54
Romanian to English
+ ...
well, Jul 23, 2016

in the US it is common practice and seems that it works.

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Kelly Neudorfer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:54
German to English
Since you've bumped this twice now... Jul 23, 2016

I read your post originally and honestly don't understand what you're trying to say. Chile has ruled on who can and cannot be considered a translator? Or just give certified translations?

Is the list the one in the Chilean ruling or is it a list of what you consider to be practices in the translation world? It sounds like the former.

It also sounds like these are rules for who can deliver official / certified translations. If that is the case, then those rules are actually much less restrictive than the ones in Germany. In Germany you can only provide certified translations if you are court certified, which you become by passing certain exams. That's it. No other way to get it. If you need a certified translation for a government agency, you must go to a certified translator.

So I guess I'm not appalled by the restrictions in Chile, if I understand your post correctly.


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traductorchile  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
liviu Jul 23, 2016

liviu roth wrote:

in the US it is common practice and seems that it works.


Is it common practice that if you don't belong to a particular, specific and only translators' association (i.e. ATA) another option to be considered a "competent translator" is being non-native in US English living in another country for translating into US English?


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traductorchile  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Kelly Jul 23, 2016

Kelly Neudorfer wrote:

Bumped twice


Yes, I bumped it precisely because I have the impression this not understood, as there are no astonished comments. I suggest you read the whole story in the links, I'm sure you'll understand.

In Chile there is no certifying or accrediting organisation for certifying translators.
This ruling was created by a particular Ministry in the Chilean government to inform those foreign companies wishing to supply proposals for international tenders with this Ministry, that this Ministry won't accept translations performed by translators who don't fulfil those requirements.
This is not a country ruling, it's the particular ruling of a Ministry. The danger is that other Chilean bodies may copy this ruling believing it is recommended practice.

The list I put above is the meaning of those rules (not the same words), it is what critical reading should interpret from that wording.

1) Is being non-native in German and living in a country where German is not spoken makes a translator competent to translate into German?
2) Is an interpreter accredited before the courts, that is, he/she has been tested for interpreting not translating (and you should know those are very different activities) the apropriate professional for translating this kind of demanding documents. Court interpreters should be knowledgeable on legal procedures, not engineering, financial or other specialties, specially if we consider that in tenders knowledge in these fields is demanding.
3) How many countries do you know where "official translators" translate private documents for private uses?
4) How many translators' associations are there in Germany? If your government said ONLY ONE of them has competent translators, wouldn't the other ones have a right to protest? Is it right that a Chilean Ministry considers that the only competent translators belonging to an association are those who belong to association XXX? What about those in ATA, IAPTI, and any other association in the world that is the home of competent translators?
5) Do you really believe that a client that asks you to translate an important document for an international tender will accept to sign a certificate before a Notary Public where HE appears certifying you are a competent translator and HE accepts any responsibility for YOUR mistakes, when clients usually are not experts in translation and expect us to be the experts?

Reading the original ruling, don't you see that?



[Edited at 2016-07-24 04:12 GMT]


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liviu roth
United States
Local time: 08:54
Romanian to English
+ ...
misunderstanding Jul 24, 2016

ATA membership is optional and does not mean that somebody is "Certified". There is only a handful of language pairs that provide a certification exam.

Being a proven good translator is more valuable than any administrative certification.


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Kelly Neudorfer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:54
German to English
happens all the time Jul 24, 2016

traductorchile wrote:

liviu roth wrote:

in the US it is common practice and seems that it works.


Is it common practice that if you don't belong to a particular, specific and only translators' association (i.e. ATA) another option to be considered a "competent translator" is being non-native in US English living in another country for translating into US English?


In Germany certified translators are actually required to translate both directions (at least for the exam) - into and out of their native language and the foreign language. So it's not only an option to be considered a competent translator, it's a must for being a certified translator to translate from German into English/Japanese/Urdu as a German living in Germany.


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traductorchile  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
And Liviu, Jul 24, 2016

liviu roth wrote:

ATA membership is optional and does not mean that somebody is "Certified". There is only a handful of language pairs that provide a certification exam.

Being a proven good translator is more valuable than any administrative certification.




How do you prove it? Because, as far as I know, someone's word only is not enough.


I'm sure, that if you can provide sound evidence that you master your second language at level C2 of the CEFR (or an equivalent) you should be considered similar to an educated native of that language. However the vast majority of translators don't certify their competence in languages, or in anything, so the easy way around for agencies and other clients is to separate them as native or non-native.

In any case, by your response I understand you believe that it is right that Romanian translators living in Romania should be allowed through US regulations to translate into US English in particular for demanding translations in the engineering/ public infrastructure with preference over US English educated natives living in the US (and the former don't even have to provide evidence of their level of mastering of US English).
I could repeat the same line of thought for someone living in China, India or Venezuela, just to mention a few of the many existing probabilities, but as you are from Romania maybe that makes it easier for you to see the issue.


[Edited at 2016-07-24 15:01 GMT]


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liviu roth
United States
Local time: 08:54
Romanian to English
+ ...
to answer to your questions Jul 24, 2016

traductorchile wrote:

Kelly Neudorfer wrote:

Bumped twice


Yes, I bumped it precisely because I have the impression this not understood, as there are no astonished comments. I suggest you read the whole story in the links, I'm sure you'll understand.

In Chile there is no certifying or accrediting organisation for certifying translators.
This ruling was created by a particular Ministry in the Chilean government to inform those foreign companies wishing to supply proposals for international tenders with this Ministry, that this Ministry won't accept translations performed by translators who don't fulfil those requirements.
This is not a country ruling, it's the particular ruling of a Ministry. The danger is that other Chilean bodies may copy this ruling believing it is recommended practice.

The list I put above is the meaning of those rules (not the same words), it is what critical reading should interpret from that wording.

1) Is being non-native in German and living in a country where German is not spoken makes a translator competent to translate into German?
2) Is an interpreter accredited before the courts, that is, he/she has been tested for interpreting not translating (and you should know those are very different activities) the apropriate professional for translating this kind of demanding documents. Court interpreters should be knowledgeable on legal procedures, not engineering, financial or other specialties, specially if we consider that in tenders knowledge in these fields is demanding.
3) How many countries do you know where "official translators" translate private documents for private uses?
4) How many translators' associations are there in Germany? If your government said ONLY ONE of them has competent translators, wouldn't the other ones have a right to protest? Is it right that a Chilean Ministry considers that the only competent translators belonging to an association are those who belong to association XXX? What about those in ATA, IAPTI, and any other association in the world that is the home of competent translators?
5) Do you really believe that a client that asks you to translate an important document for an international tender will accept to sign a certificate before a Notary Public where HE appears certifying you are a competent translator and HE accepts any responsibility for YOUR mistakes, when clients usually are not experts in translation and expect us to be the experts?

Reading the original ruling, don't you see that?



[Edited at 2016-07-24 04:12 GMT]


I am answering to your questions from the perspective of an interpreter/translator living in the US.


1) Yes. I am Romanian, live in the USA and sometimes translate German to English.
2) Interpreters accredited by the courts had to take tests including sight translation and, yes , they are better qualified, not only in legal matters (sometimes we have to interpret in civil cases pertaining to highly technical matters)
3) define „official translator”; In the US, there is not such a thing. On many occasions I translated official documents (College transcripts, diplomas) for private users and had them notarized.
4)In the US, it is mainly the ATA, but read my previous post.
5) If the client trusts the translator and is aware of the legal requirements, why not?


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traductorchile  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Liviu Jul 24, 2016

liviu roth wrote:
1) Yes. I am Romanian, live in the USA and sometimes translate German to English.

Well, probably you have been living in the US for some time now and you've achieved the required level of English. That is no issue. The question is: a Romanian, living in Romania translating from Romanian to English (I know there are some few exceptions, but those are exceptions to the rule). Right?

liviu roth wrote:
2) Interpreters accredited by the courts had to take tests including sight translation and, yes , they are better qualified, not only in legal matters (sometimes we have to interpret in civil cases pertaining to highly technical matters)

Good for you. However, you are still interpreting and the flow and allowances for precision in interpreting is very different to those allowed in written translation. Someone very fluent at interpreting, something that is defined by personalities and habits, by principle has a harder time trying to be a writing translator unless he can unfold into another personality and habits with ease, and vice-versa. Translating highly technical texts is a very different task to interpreting, where spending more than 5 minutes researching the precise word (or consulting an ultra specialised expert) is not something rare, even for highly specialised translators (who obviously are not dictionaries and so, can't be experts on everything that might come up). Would a judge wait 5, 10, 30 minutes or more for you to find the precise word, every now and then. No, technical evidence is delivered as texts to be translated by a translator, and always it will be preferable that the translator is highly experienced in written translation, due to the procedures, habits and practices it requires. Mixing translation with interpreting will never be a good idea, unless it's cheaper, like having an expert in building bridges to build an aircraft. I'm sure many interpreters won't agree with this, mainly because the need to survive makes them do both, despite interpreting is better paid.

liviu roth wrote:
5) If the client trusts the translator and is aware of the legal requirements, why not?

Of course, if you've been working for many years with the same client, and you've been doing a good job, with proven results, obviously he'll prefer you, a known devil.
But then, you'll never be able to get a new client, because the burden for him is too risky.


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liviu roth
United States
Local time: 08:54
Romanian to English
+ ...
one comment regarding #2 and #1 Jul 24, 2016

traductorchile wrote:

liviu roth wrote:
1) Yes. I am Romanian, live in the USA and sometimes translate German to English.

Well, probably you have been living in the US for some time now and you've achieved the required level of English. That is no issue. The question is: a Romanian, living in Romania translating from Romanian to English (I know there are some few exceptions, but those are exceptions to the rule). Right?

liviu roth wrote:
2) Interpreters accredited by the courts had to take tests including sight translation and, yes , they are better qualified, not only in legal matters (sometimes we have to interpret in civil cases pertaining to highly technical matters)

Good for you. However, you are still interpreting and the flow and allowances for precision in interpreting is very different to those allowed in written translation. Someone very fluent at interpreting, something that is defined by personalities and habits, by principle has a harder time trying to be a writing translator unless he can unfold into another personality and habits with ease, and vice-versa. Translating highly technical texts is a very different task to interpreting, where spending more than 5 minutes researching the precise word (or consulting an ultra specialised expert) is not something rare, even for highly specialised translators (who obviously are not dictionaries and so, can't be experts on everything that might come up). Would a judge wait 5, 10, 30 minutes or more for you to find the precise word, every now and then. No, technical evidence is delivered as texts to be translated by a translator, and always it will be preferable that the translator is highly experienced in written translation, due to the procedures, habits and practices it requires. Mixing translation with interpreting will never be a good idea, unless it's cheaper, like having an expert in building bridges to build an aircraft. I'm sure many interpreters won't agree with this, mainly because the need to survive makes them do both, despite interpreting is better paid.

liviu roth wrote:
5) If the client trusts the translator and is aware of the legal requirements, why not?

Of course, if you've been working for many years with the same client, and you've been doing a good job, with proven results, obviously he'll prefer you, a known devil.
But then, you'll never be able to get a new client, because the burden for him is too risky.





From my experience of more than 20 years, doing both translation and interpretation, I can tell that there is a very close interaction between them. Translations broaden your vocabulary while interpretation teaches you how to think fast. A couple years ago we did a test. We gathered an interpreter, a translator and an interpreter/translator. They were given the same 1 page to translate and then, to sight read. The translator did a very good job in about 20 minutes, the interpreter did a good job in 15 minutes and the translator/interpreter did a very good job in 12 minutes.

#1. In Romania there are a lot of translators who translate from let's say Russian to Spanish, or French to German, and they are NOT the exception.

I agree with you on #5.


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liviu roth
United States
Local time: 08:54
Romanian to English
+ ...
Yes, I know such translators. Jul 24, 2016

traductorchile wrote:

liviu roth wrote:

ATA membership is optional and does not mean that somebody is "Certified". There is only a handful of language pairs that provide a certification exam.

Being a proven good translator is more valuable than any administrative certification.




How do you prove it? Because, as far as I know, someone's word only is not enough.


I'm sure, that if you can provide sound evidence that you master your second language at level C2 of the CEFR (or an equivalent) you should be considered similar to an educated native of that language. However the vast majority of translators don't certify their competence in languages, or in anything, so the easy way around for agencies and other clients is to separate them as native or non-native.

In any case, by your response I understand you believe that it is right that Romanian translators living in Romania should be allowed through US regulations to translate into US English in particular for demanding translations in the engineering/ public infrastructure with preference over US English educated natives living in the US (and the former don't even have to provide evidence of their level of mastering of US English).
I could repeat the same line of thought for someone living in China, India or Venezuela, just to mention a few of the many existing probabilities, but as you are from Romania maybe that makes it easier for you to see the issue.


[Edited at 2016-07-24 15:01 GMT]



Yes, I know Romanian translators, living in Romania or elsewhere, who translate highly technical material for the US market. Nothing wrong with that! There are certain fields where US citizenship is the main requirement, but otherwise, I don't see any impediment for them to translate. We live in a globalized market. Let the best prevail.


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traductorchile  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting Jul 24, 2016

liviu roth wrote:
A couple years ago we did a test. We gathered an interpreter, a translator and an interpreter/translator. They were given the same 1 page to translate and then, to sight read. The translator did a very good job in about 20 minutes, the interpreter did a good job in 15 minutes and the translator/interpreter did a very good job in 12 minutes.


This test you say you performed:
- How many individuals were there in each category (sample size).
- Which were the study methods applied.
- Is this study published anywhere.


liviu roth wrote:
#1. In Romania there are a lot of translators who translate from let's say Russian to Spanish, or French to German, and they are NOT the exception.

Google translate can do that also, the question is which is the quality. I'm sure Romania is a great country with great translators, but can you prove what you are saying.

Many authors, people who really do research in translation (quoted in the links I delivered) have come to those conclusions I have been stating here and you simply dismiss. But I'd like to know on what basis you dismiss them apart from your personal interpretations. Verifiable facts. Not speculations.


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