Year 2018 Retreat - The Association of Professional Translators of Moldova (ATP)

O abordare profesionistă a comunicării interumane

Year 2018 Retreat

This year retreat took place in July. It is questionable whether the period chosen for this event was or not the best one. The important thing, however, was the fact that the weather was beautiful, the chosen location - admirable and the host - welcoming. Being in a nice countryside and being together with colleagues made us feel comfortable and in high spirits. It is not very frequent for members of the Association to leave aside other tasks of the day and to choose to spend a day with their colleagues-translators. And yet, 15 people out of 40 members of ATP Moldova have done so, and none of them regretted their choice.

This year, the Board of Administration of the Association has chosen the theme for discussion at the the retreat "The Legal Framework regulating the Translation activity". The reason to choose this theme was a short article in the “Jurnal de Chişinău” newspaper, saying that a group of the US democrat congressmen requested that Marina Gross, the translator of Donald Trump, who worked in Helsinki during the negotiations between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, respectively, the US and the Russian Presidents, be invited for an interrogation. The Congress has the right to make summons of this type, but no such precedents were registered before. It was natural to ask ourselves: What about Moldovan translators, are they protected by the Law?

The answer to this question, but also elucidation of many other relevant aspects of the translator's activity, was provided by the distinguished lawyer EDUARD DIGORE. Over the next three hours he drew our attention, via an interactive communication, to the most important aspects in this context, namely:

  • The work of a translator is not paid an appropriate importance, especially in the court proceedings;
  • The "Code of the administrative procedure" gives a vague description of the responsibility for the incorrect translation;
  • The law on “the Status, authorization and organization of the the juridical area", can be invoked by all other translators as well. However, it contains no clear provisions on the rights of the translator. For example: Can the translator make himself familiar with the case in advance in order to prepare for that particular interpretation? Can the translator interrupt the court trial to consult a specialist? Can the translator say, "I am not familiar with this aspect and I shall not translate that phrase ..."?
  • The law does not regulate the conflict of interests ...
  • The number of applicable legal rules is rather small.

Mr. Digore explained to us all these aspects, and a number of other issues relevant to the translator's work from the legal point of view. One conclusion we came to is that neither the authorized translators nor the general profile translators are fully protected from the legal point of view.

The information we learned at this retreat was extremely valuable to us, especially for the reason that it contained a number of recommendations, among them the ones listed below:

  • There is an urgent need to develop a Statute of the Professional Translators or a Law that would cover all translators
  • There is an urgent need for a Regulation that would contain a number of standard clauses referring to:

- the "stand-by" time
- the lost profit, i.e. cancellation of an assignment at short notice
- unfair competition
- the guarantees regarding proper remuneration, working conditions, protection of the profession (against the activity of unqualified persons with no certification to work in this field, etc.)
- responsibility for the violation of conduct rules of a translator, etc.

Mr Digore was extremely generous and offered to help us to start activities facilitating the development of a more appropriate legal framework for translation and interpretation profession, with a focus on quality. There should be something (a document (?)) proving that the person is a professional and can duly perform the proposed service. Together we sketched out several first steps along this path, which imply:

- development of a synthesis of the translator activity,
- more active promotion of the translator’s job,
- development of the rules of the translator’s activity, that could be helpful in this work,
- identification of a group of lawmakers (MPs), with the right to propose new drafts of laws, able to promote the
- appropriate amendments to the present legislation, or
- development of  a new, more comprehensive, law, etc.

Our colleague Veaceslav Musteață, inspired by the things mentioned at this retreat reunion developed, in his turn, a small Action Plan as guidance in this context (see attached).

A Retreat involves some fun, as well. In the preparation of the event, the Council took into consideration this issue and prepared a number of case studies, according to which the translators were supposed to play the role of employers or employees, based on their own experiences. Our colleague, Elena Bivol, was very inspired in the development of these case studies, the latter being actual and close to the real situations faced by translators in everyday life. Perhaps this helped our colleagues-“actors” to be very convincing and humorous in their theatrical performance during the role play that took place in the second half of the day. In any case, the exceptional good moods predominated during this “acting exercise” and continued up to our return to Chșinău. Also the bus driver benefited of this atmosphere, because colleagues kept singing and sharing different humorous statements on the bus as well. A Retreat means, first and foremost, a satisfaction caused by the opportunity of spending some time together. We believe that this goal has been fully achieved.

Eleonora Rusnac
President, Association of Professional Translators of Moldova

Category: Activities