Slovakia to Punish Official Translators and Interpreters for ‘Professional Mistakes’

Slovakia’s parliament passed an amendment on February 6, 2018 to govern how courts, prosecution bodies or other public bodies (public authorities) manage the use of authorised experts, translators and interpreters.

This new law, proposed by the Justice Ministry, imposes on the public authorities a new ‘information duty’. This includes reporting the faults of experts, translators and interpreters whom they have used to the Justice Ministry. The Ministry would then decide on the punishment. No further details on the kind of punishment were available.

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Such faults include “refusal to execute a job, causing delays or making a professional mistake”. If punished, the details of the incident would be published on the Justice Ministry’s website.

However, the amendment allows for experts, translators and interpreters the chance to “suspend their activities based on their own request, but only three times at the most, with the maximum timespan being two years”.

The Upside

On the flip side, the new law also sought to benefit these group of professionals. For instance, public authorities are now required to settle linguists’ bills in a timely manner.

Peter Zoricak, CEO of Tetras Translations, told Slator that this could be because “authorities did not pay on time and it caused a lot of translators and/or experts to refuse to work for them”.

Also experts, interpreters and translators will be allowed to use the knowledge gained through their work for public authorities for their scientific, research or teaching activities.

“I think these provisions will increase the transparency of the process and define clearly the responsibilities of both translators and public authorities” — Jakub Absolon, owner and CEO, ASAP-translation.com

Slator also reached out to Jakub Absolon, owner and CEO of ASAP-translation.com, who welcomed the new law.

“I think these provisions will increase the transparency of the process and define clearly the responsibilities of both translators and public authorities. It helps to better protect honest, professional sworn translators and also the recipient of such services (citizens).”

Zoricak also agreed that the new law “seems positive for the professionals”. The amendment will be effective as of July 1, 2018.

Lance Ng

Slator Contributor. Has been, at various times in his career, writer, translator, educator, banker, financial advisor and entrepreneur.