Katharina Binz, Minister for Family, Women, Culture, and Integration (MFFKI) in Rhineland-Palatinate, announced that EUR 0.71m of funding would be provided for the expansion and development of translation and interpreting services in the German state over three years from 2022 to 2024.
At a press conference on January 19, 2023, Binz confirmed the goal of making language services available to everyone whose first language is not German, wherever they are in the region and from the day they arrive.
The Minister highlighted the many scenarios in which it is essential that information is shared and received quickly and accurately. According to Binz, “All parties benefit equally if, thanks to an interpreter, information can be conveyed clearly and processed accordingly.”
The decision to further develop translation and interpreting services in the state came after a 2021 study revealed that only half of the municipalities in Rhineland-Palatinate (19 out of 36) offered translation and interpreting services in the welfare arena.
The study found services to be lacking in situations where qualified professional interpreters are necessary to enable clear communication — i.e. in conversations with the authorities, educational institutions, and doctors.
“Quantitatively and Qualitatively”
During the January 2023 press conference, Binz stated that the aim of the funding is to “quantitatively and qualitatively expand translation and interpreting services.” She said the expansion relies on there being more qualified translators and interpreters, agencies being more efficient in connecting language professionals with clients, and comprehensive information being provided to outline the benefits of language services for potential clients.
External Advice and Support
To achieve these goals, the MFFKI is being advised and supported by the Haus der Sprachmittlung (Center for Translation and Interpreting Services) in Mainz, which was established and started work on July, 1 2022 under the guidance of Arbeit und Leben GmbH Rheinland-Pfalz/Saarland.
The non-profit organization, which specializes in consultancy and education for trade unions, companies, and public institutions, was awarded the framework agreement contract with the MFFKI after the deal for Haus der Sprachmittlung was advertised publicly in 2022.
Discussing the partnership in December 2022, Binz commented, “I’m pleased that with Arbeit und Leben Rheinland-Pfalz we have a well-connected and competent partner by our side to further develop translation and interpreting services in the welfare arena.”
Gabriele Schneidewind, Managing Director of Arbeit und Leben GmbH, said that the current focus is on public relations in Rhineland-Palatinate and they are also working on a plan to create a database to transparently and efficiently place interpreters and translators where and when they are needed.
In 2022, the Ministry gave financial support of EUR 0.14m to Haus der Sprachmittlung. The Center will receive a further EUR 0.28m and EUR 2.9m in 2023 and 2024, respectively. By the end of the three years, total investments will amount to EUR 0.71m.
Openness and Transparency
Haus der Sprachmittlung’s website outlines the importance of collaborating with all stakeholders, openness, and transparent communication to achieve their objectives — to provide information on translation and interpreting services, to embrace new translators, interpreters, and clients, and to organize professional events and networking opportunities.
To further ensure roles in translation and interpreting are recognized as professional occupations carried out by qualified individuals, the State and European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) have jointly funded a project called “Sprachmittlung im Alltag – eine Qualifizierung mit Zukunft” (Language Services in Everyday Life – a Qualification with a Future).
Graduates of the course will receive both the certificate of completion and the IHK translator / interpreter certificate from the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammer). This is a national standard and signifies the individual’s ability to translate and / or interpret professionally.
Hat tip to UEPO for their initial coverage.