October 5th, 2009
Comments on Regulations for organizing activities for interpreters and translators coached by the Superior Council of Magistracy, the Ministry of Justice, the prosecution, the criminal prosecution authority, the courts, the notaries public, the lawyers and the judicial enforcement officers.
During the years 2007 – 2008 the Association of Professional Translators of Moldova (ATP Moldova), a non-governmental and non-profit organization that was founded in 1998 and is composed of 50 members, made several comments regarding the draft law on the authorization and payment of interpreters and translators coached by the Superior Council of Magistracy, the Ministry of Justice, the prosecution, the criminal prosecution authority, the courts, the notaries public, the lawyers and the judicial enforcement officers. The Association has elaborated an alternative draft law and participated in training conducted by the Minister of Justice together with the representatives of concerned institutions. Regrettably, none of comments made by the Association were taken into consideration in the final version of the law (Law 264-XVI of 11 December 2008).
At present the Association assists with the approval process of subordinate normative act and the above mentioned regulation that was drafted without any consultation with ATP Moldova.
In May of the current year, ATP Moldova received one call from a staff member of the Ministry of Justice, namely Mrs. Angela Botnarciuc, and one call from another staff member of the Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Lidia Rusu. I recommended them several persons that can assist with drafting of the normative act and subsequently becoming members of the Attestation Commission. However, the Ministry of Justice ignored my recommendations since the persons have never been contacted.
Thus, there are two documents with many gaps regarding interpreting and translating activity. Due to lack of space, we will not emphasize some bizarre stipulations of the law, but will call public attention to some strange provisions of the regulation.
The Composition of the Attestation Commission is as follows: two representatives of the Ministry of Justice, two university lecturers and one representative of the Academy of Sciences. Regrettably, none of representatives are from ATP Moldova. It differs from the European countries where the Attestation Commission is composed mainly of representatives of the association of professionals.
The Commission members are delegated by competent authorities. The verb “to delegate” assumes that a person is entrusted with a short-term task execution, monitoring and planning. If we look at the list of activities that the Commission shall conduct, it is very big and impossible to conduct in the short term. Please, have a look at the following: the Commission a) examines requests, conducts exams, investigates violations and submits proposals to the Minister regarding authorization issuance, service suspension and termination... In addition to these requirements, it appears from the following text that the Commission members shall take decisions after appeals examination and approve sample exams that should be read….to take decisions regarding withdrawal of authorization. The Commission members shall work on a voluntary basis, i.e. gratis, and shall continue to receive a salary payment from their permanent workplace. In our opinion it is a soviet style approach: the Commission members are not motivated to do a huge amount of work professionally (we ignore the members’ linguistic skills) without being paid. Let us suppose that the secretariat will provide the Commission members with all necessary documents to make a decision regarding the authorization issuance. This kind of work also requires time for reading, discussions, etc. The question is whether the members’ employers agree with such “delegation of authority”.
There are many questions regarding the attestation exam. In the regulation we find the term “Moldovan language” and call attention to the tests for applicants (28). The tests should be more specific than just word counting (1000 words and 500 words) that in no way enable us to accurately assess a person’s competency. Both consecutive and simultaneous interpretation have many more important peculiarities than just mere utterance of words. Establishing a requirement with regard to respect the length of time of original utterance during consecutive interpretation is completely wrong if taking into consideration peculiarities of languages: some languages are concise (English), other languages are rich in vocabulary and phrases (Russian); also different people have speech specifications: some people speak too fast, other people speak more slowly, etc. The issue of interpretation duration becomes more obvious in subparagraphs (e) and (f), because it is compared to consecutive interpretation without text. Time is not specified here (...the time that will not exceed the original utterance time) and things will become purely subjective.
We respectfully request the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, as the competent authority in the field and the author of the respective draft law on normative acts, to answer all these questions. We are open for mutual discussions that would lead to the improvement of discussed normative acts.
The President of Association of Professional Translators of Moldova