ITIA Bulletin

Yet another year ends with this edition hopefully encompassing all the usual translation and interpreting ups and downs reflected in our range of articles. The sign language interpreting debacle at Nelson Mandela’s funeral simply reinforces the urgency for national official registers of accredited interpreters and bona fide agencies and reiterates our constant call for same.

As our pleas for contributions from Bulletin readers appear to have fallen on deaf ears 2014 will herald our call to fellow translator and interpreter associations from around the globe to tell us about the specific issues pertinent to their country, their problems and suggested solutions and maybe, just maybe, collectively, we can raise the profiles and standards of our profession and maybe, just maybe, improve our lot and that of the communities we serve!

We really do look forward to hearing from you, especially our colleagues at SATI (The South African Translators’ Institute – bridging language barriers) who, as I see on their website, work with no less than 11 official languages!

Please, also note at the end of the Bulletin a number of changes of personnel at the ITIA after our AGM in November.

Season’s multi-lingual greetings to all our readers!

Anne Larchet
Adam Brozynski

Commission warns on new legal translation law

Law Society urges quick establishment of Court of Appeal

EU citizens who are arrested or accused of a crime have the right to interpretation in their own language in all courts in the union after a new directive came into force last week.

The deadline for EU member states to implement the law – the union’s first on rights of suspects in criminal procedures – passed last week. The new right applies throughout criminal proceedings, including when receiving legal advice.

The law was proposed by the European Commission in 2010 and adopted by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers in a record time of just nine months.

“This can be an historic moment for justice in Europe: the first ever law on fair-trial rights for citizens will become a concrete reality if member states live up to their legal obligations,” said Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner.

She added that the Commission would “not shy away from naming and shaming” states that did not implement the new directive, which she said went to the heart of citizens’ rights.

The directive guarantees the right of EU citizens to be interviewed, to take part in hearings and to receive legal advice in their own language during any part of a criminal proceeding, in all courts in the union. It was introduced in order to ensure full compliance with the standards provided by the European Convention on Human Rights and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, as well as with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Translation and interpretation costs will have to be met by the member state, not by the suspect.

In a statement announcing the passing of the implementation deadline, the Commission said that without minimum standards to ensure fair proceedings, judicial authorities would be reluctant to send someone to face trial in another country. As a result, EU measures to fight crime, such as the European arrest warrant, would not be fully applied.

… the right to translation and interpretation [is] the first in a series of fair trial measures to set common EU standards in criminal cases.

It said the right to translation and interpretation was the first in a series of fair trial measures to set common EU standards in criminal cases. The law was followed by a second directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings, adopted in 2012, and the right to access to a lawyer, adopted earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the Law Society has urged the Government to move quickly to establish the new Court of Appeal without “stinting on resources”. The new court will sit between the High Court and the Supreme Court, and is aimed at reducing delays at the latter court.

The path was cleared for the new institution to be set up when the proposal was comfortably passed with a majority of 65 per cent in a referendum last month.

Referring to the referendum outcome, Law Society Director General, Ken Murphy, said: “There is nothing for which the Government has a stronger, clearer, more direct mandate from the people of Ireland than this. It must proceed immediately to put in place a Court of Appeal as a new and necessary piece of infrastructure in our justice system.” Mr Murphy said this should happen without delay “and without stinting on the resources necessary to make it effective”.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, who led the campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum, has said he hopes the new court will begin hearing appeals next autumn.

It is expected that 10 new judges will be appointed to the court, which will hear both civil and criminal appeals and leave the Supreme Court free to focus on cases of major significance. It will cost an estimated €2.5-€3 million per year, according to the Department of Justice.

The salary and other conditions for judges in the new court have not yet been announced, but pay is expected to be set between that of a High Court judge (€172,710) and a member of the Supreme Court (€182,895).

Original source:

Mandela sign language interpreter ‘faced murder charge’

South Africa’s government has been confronted with a new and chilling allegation about the bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial. He was reportedly accused of murder 10 years ago.

Officials said they were investigating the revelation by the national eNCA TV news station. But they were unable, or unwilling, to explain why a man who says he is schizophrenic with violent tendencies was allowed to get within arm’s length of US President Barack Obama and other world leaders.

Investigators probing Thamsanqa Jantjie “will compile a comprehensive report”, said top government spokeswoman Phumla Williams. But she did not say how long the investigation would take and insisted details would not be released until it was completed.

“We are not going to sweep it under the carpet,” Ms Williams said. “We want to own up if there is a mistake, but we don’t want to be dishonest” to Mr Jantjie.

The fiasco … has turned into an international embarrassment for South Africa

An Associated Press reporter found Mr Jantjie at a makeshift bar owned by his cousin on the outskirts of Soweto yesterday, near his concrete house close to shacks and an illegal dump where goats pick at grass between the trash. Asked about the murder allegation, Mr Jantjie turned and walked away without saying anything.

A day earlier, he told the AP that he had been violent “a lot” in the past, has schizophrenia and hallucinated during the Mandela memorial that angels were descending into the stadium. He also apologised for his performance, but defended his interpreting as “the best in the world”.

His assertion was ridiculed by deaf advocates who said he did not know how to sign “Mandela” or “thank you”.

The outcome of the reported murder case that eNCA said dated from 2003 was unclear, and the television report did not disclose any details.

There were no records of a murder case involving Mr Jantjie at South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority,

but spokesman Nathi Mncube said that does not necessarily mean Mr Jantjie was never a suspect.

“I cannot confirm that the guy was charged, but I cannot deny it, either,” he said. “There are no records right now.”

Mr Jantjie also faced other lesser criminal charges in the past, eNCA reported. In the interview with the AP, he blamed his past violent episodes on his schizophrenia, but declined to provide details.

The fiasco surrounding the use of Mr Jantjie to provide sign language translation before a worldwide television audience has turned into an international embarrassment for South Africa, whose ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), and president, Jacob Zuma, have already lost popularity because of corruption scandals and other public grievances.

But the ANC is far more powerful than the opposition and Mr Zuma, who was booed at the Mandela memorial, is likely to be its candidate in elections next year.

The US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said that “we’re all very upset” about Mr Jantjie, who was just 3ft from Mr Obama at the memorial service for Mandela, who died on December 5 at 95.

Ms Thomas-Greenfield told reporters in Kenya that US officials are concerned about security and how Mr Jantjie could have gotten so close to world leaders. She said officials were also dismayed because people watching around the world who needed sign language were not able to understand what was said at the ceremony. She called the incident “extraordinarily sad”.

South Africa’s arts and culture minister Paul Mashatile apologised for the use of Mr Jantjie yesterday, marking the second apology from the government in two days, and said reforms must be implemented to ensure such an incident does not happen again.

“Without passing judgment, nobody should be allowed to undermine our languages. We sincerely apologise to the deaf community and to all South Africans for any offence that may have been suffered,” Mr Mashatile said in a statement. He did not comment on who was responsible for hiring the sign interpreter.

Four government departments involved in organising the historic memorial service distanced themselves from the hiring of Mr Jantjie, telling the AP they had no contact with him. A fifth government agency, the Department of Public Works, declined to comment.

Ms Williams said the investigation would include trying to determine who hired Mr Jantjie or the company he said he worked for. She did not say how long the probe might take, and police spokesman Lieutenant General Solomon Mogale said there would be no additional information released until after Mandela’s funeral tomorrow in his hometown of Qunu.

The government is also trying to determine how Jantjie received security clearance and what vetting of his background – if any – took place. Officials at the State Security Agency, in charge of security for the event, have not commented publicly.

The government says the owners of the interpreting company have disappeared, and the AP was unable to track down the school where Mr Jantjie said he studied signing for a year. An online search for the school, which Mr Jantjie said was called Komani and located in Eastern Cape Province, turned up nothing.

Ingrid Parkin, principal of the St Vincent School for the Deaf in Johannesburg, said she and other advocates for the deaf had never heard of the school. She added that there are no known sign language institutes in the province.

The Star newspaper of Johannesburg reported that Mr Jantjie said he studied sign language interpretation in Britain at the University of Tecturers [sic].

“We’re not aware of that university,” said Emma Mortimer, communications director of Signature, a charity that awards qualifications in deaf and deaf-blind communication techniques.

Even if he had studied in the United Kingdom, Ms Mortimer said that would not necessarily qualify him to work in South Africa because the country’s two sign languages are different.

“It would be like you going to France and speaking English,” she said.

Original source:

Results of independent survey of public service interpreters & further news on the MoJ contract

Figures for the thousands of court case delays caused by Capita failing to supply interpreters show that over £17 million of taxpayers’ money has been lost since the contract began.

Some 642 trials failed in 2012 as a result of the contract and complaints figures for 2013, published in October by the Ministry of Justice, reveal an increase in cases where interpreters are failing to appear when requested by courts. There have been 9,800 official complaints since the contract began on 30 January 2012, with higher numbers of complaints in the second part of 2013 compared to 2012.

Professional Interpreters for Justice, an umbrella group for professional interpreter organisations including the Chartered Institute of Linguists, estimates that court time costing £10.8 million was lost in 2012 and £6.7 million in 2013 up to November.

The group, which aims to work in partnership with the Ministry of Justice to safeguard quality in justice sector interpreting, has in addition collected its own examples of nearly 1,000 instances where interpreters were not available, or arrived late or caused other delays, amounting to 366 days of wasted court and tribunal time. These represent a snapshot of the overall picture.

Professional Interpreters for Justice attended a workshop with the Ministry of Justice where the group was invited to provide its input to the scope of the independent assessment of quality in the language service contract. The Ministry of Justice has now issued an Invitation to Tender for the independent review.

Paul Wilson, Chief Executive, Institute of Translation and Interpreting, says: “The Ministry of Justice has finally begun its work on commissioning the independent review, which we hope will be independent, authoritative and substantive. We will then be looking to the new Justice Minister to act on the recommendations.”

In a new independent survey of over 1,000 interpreters commissioned by Professional Interpreters for Justice and carried out by consultants Involvis, only 26% said they are working for Capita TI and 77% of these said their experience of the private contractor is negative. A high proportion (68%) said they are not being treated fairly or respectfully and only 17% said they had been offered training.

Typical comments about Capita were “poor experience led me to avoid them at all cost” or “low rate, unprofessional staff and no understanding of the nature of interpreters’ work and role”, or “staff are rude, no structure at distributing jobs etc.”

Keith Moffitt, Chairman, Chartered Institute of Linguists, said: “The majority of professionally qualified and experienced justice sector interpreters will not work for Capita on principle and it appears that those that are working for them are feeling mistreated. Meanwhile the number of complaints is rising and our country’s reputation for delivering justice and the right to a fair trial is in jeopardy.”

1,172 interpreters took part in the online survey in October 2013. This was the fifth in a series of similar surveys commissioned by Professional Interpreters for Justice over the past two years.

Original source:

Anything can happen

There are some dates which we remember. Others fade from memory. The connecting dots between 8 B.C., 2001 and 2013 when put into words are the death of Horace, the deaths at the World Trade Centre and the death of Seamus Heaney.

Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known to many a schoolboy as Horace was the Roman lyrical poet of his age, known for eight collections of works but principally for his Odes and Epodes.

The destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City on 11 September 2001, the landmark feature of the World Trade Centre, and the other devastating attacks on that same ill-fated day, saw the unheralded deaths of 2,753 souls.

Seamus Heaney, the colossus of poetry in Ireland for most of the 20th century and the recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature, died in 2013.

However, those connecting dots wove a spell of their own, since Seamus, was deeply affected by the 9/11 disaster. The wrote a poem, a new, fresh and invigorating translation of Horace’s Ode 1,34, Parcus deorum … It was published in The Irish Times on 17 November 2001 as Horace and the Thunder.

Art for Amnesty, of the Irish branch of Amnesty International, approached Seamus to write an essay. This he did and, in it, he included Horace’s original Latin, a beautiful Victorian translation, and then, his own version done in the style of the true poet availing of poetic licence for great dramatic effect frightening the reader with “the dreamy deadly images of the Twin Towers. and the ominousness of the terrorist attack”. The poem, as happens to poems, is now known by its first line “Anything can happen”.

In early 2002, ITIA’s Marco Sonzogni, friend of Seamus and admirer of his work, had the idea of finding and influencing a wider international audience, and with Bill Shipsey, chairman of Art for Amnesty, contacted myself as the then chairman of the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association suggesting further translations. We did them in pairs and dubbed them collectively the “languages of conflict”. That itself was a small poetic metaphor. The nations which the languages reflected had indeed, in times past, been in conflict. The languages never! But why then correct a memorable metaphor?

The Latin original and the languages of 24 once- conflicted nations provided a linguistic and cultural challenge to the ITIA’s and InfoMarex’s translators who provided texts in 15 national scripts, in the same 4×4- line poetic format of the original Ode. Urdu needed a line less, Irish a line more, and Japanese two for good measure.

Seamus Heaney had done Horace’s original Latin proud, and in his quiet, chuckling way, one could see that he was happy with, and proud of, the ITIA’s multi- linguistic translation effort.

Noli timere, a Sheamuis, a chara. Ar dheis De go raibh d’anam fi’oruasal di’lis.

Michael J. McCann, MITIA

Book Review

Game Localization: Translation for the Global Digital Entertainment Industry.

Minako O’Hagan and Carmen Mangiron. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2013. 374 pp. ISBN 9789027224569 €99.00/$149.00 (hbk); ISBN 9789027224576 €36.00/$54.00 (pbk); ISBN 9789027271860 €99.00 / $149.00.

This publication by O’Hagan (Dublin City University) and Mangiron (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona) provides a description of game localization and all of the processes involved. It introduces the subject to mainstream translation studies and functions as a textbook for the future curricula of dedicated academic courses. The key examples used in the book come largely from the Japanese- and English-speaking markets since these have the longest histories of game localization and are to this day the most influential when it comes to the development of electronic entertainment.

The authors start by introducing industry-specific jargon and metalanguage, then provide an overview of current research trajectories. Subsequent chapters focus on the history of video games and their localization, starting at the dawn of the industry in the 1970s and the earliest, often unprofessional localization attempts, going through the process of maturing, to the current state where the industry is worth billions of dollars, with video games being considered key elements of popular culture. The authors discuss the differences between game localization, software localization, and regular translation, examining practical, creative, cultural, and academic issues.

The research behind the book is of outstanding quality and the authors’ knowledge and understanding of the video games industry and development process is brilliant and extremely well organised, making the publication a perfect introduction to the subject. O’Hagan and Mangiron explain why game localization is a distinct branch of translation studies requiring a special approach, preparation and skills. They show how video games and the way end users interact with them are deeply rooted in culture, and thus games translation frequently involves adaptation rather than a straightforward shift from language A to language B.

The structure of the publishing and development business is presented and the authors take great care in outlining the technical details that are so important to game localization. The process comprises a heterogeneous range of tasks, from ensuring that specific language characters display properly on the TV or computer screen, to checking the proper ordering of recorded audio strings in the studio. Technical considerations may also influence the translation itself, which is often done in so called ‘blind sessions’, meaning that the translator frequently has only a vague idea about seemingly simple matters such as whether the pronoun ‘you’ in a conversation refers to singular or plural interlocutors. The authors also pay attention to the correction of game localization assets using patches, even after the launch of the game. Most importantly, they describe various models of game development itself, showing how localization fits in to the overall procedure, and they provide an account of the technical tools which may or may not be available during the localization job. The book puts great emphasis on identifying the different levels of localization (e.g., text-only or full localization, including voice overs) and describes various approaches to different kinds of texts, such as on-screen narrative, dialogues, manuals, tutorials, and platform- specific texts, amongst others. All of this is followed by a case study of how localization was handled by the Japanese publisher and developer Square Enix, starting with the early days of their mishandled localization of Final Fantasy VII and ending with the humungous, ambitious, and very well executed localization of Final Fantasy XIII. Examples come mainly from the experience that one of the authors, Carmen Mangiron, gained with Square Enix while she worked on the localization of the Final Fantasy series into Spanish.

The publication delves deep into video games as products of mass culture and the attendant guidelines and constraints that have been imposed in different regions. Examples of how seemingly innocent translations turned into minor scandals are provided, and information on what kind of content is not allowed in certain regions is presented, together with a description of specific rating boards’ sensitivities, such as those of USK in Germany, CERO in Japan, or OFLC in Australia. True, not every translator will necessarily need to know that, say, blood visualisation is forbidden in Germany or that the US does not permit the explicit presentation of sexual intercourse, though it is interesting to know this nonetheless; the fact that reference to Nazis and their symbols in Germany may result in a ban, or that mention of deities is taboo in Arabic countries is very important for games developers.

The final sections of the book focus on the contributions that game localization can make to translation studies scholarship. The authors propose a possible training course for game localizers, presenting it in the light of the competences sought by agencies and game developers recruiting employees. O’Hagan and Mangiron go as far as to suggest possible projects to be completed at the end of such a programme, potentially involving actual localization/game translation together with one of the independent game developers working on smaller scale projects. This is an idea worth supporting since the industry lacks properly trained entry-level localizers.

…a worthwhile and extremely well structured read that will hopefully become the standard text for all

One might wish that more space could have been devoted to examples based on localization challenges other than those of Japanese to English. While they indeed epitomise a lot of the issues a translator may encounter, there are also many problems when translating from English into other languages where gender plays important role (such as French or Polish), and such instances presented in the book would make it a more colourful read. A less informed reader might also get the false impression that non-Anglophone video games are mostly Japanese in origin and, while this is true to a certain extent, Japan is no longer the influential or innovative force it once was. One other minor quibble that this author noted was the erroneous claim that World of Warcraft has been localized into Polish (p. 16). However, in a large-scale work like this it is only natural that there will be some minor errors and they detract little from the work as a whole.

Overall, the text is a worthwhile and extremely well structured read that will hopefully become the standard text for all who wish to find out more about the subject, be it out of academic interest or intention to embark on a career in the booming video game localization industry.

Michat Nowakowski

Antonia Lloyd-Jones – A Public Interview

Irish Polish Society, Dom Polski, 20 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2. Saturday February 1st, 2014, 7.00 pm.

The ITIA, in co-operation with the Irish Polish Society, invite you to a public interview with Antonia Lloyd- Jones, one of the leading translators of Polish literature into English.

Lloyd-Jones’s published translations include fiction by many of Poland’s leading writers, including novels by Olga Tokarczuk, Pawel Huelle, Jacek Dehnel, and Zygmunt Miloszewski, poetry by Tadeusz D^browski, reportage by Witold Szablowski, Jacek Hugo-Bader, Wojciech Tochman, Mariusz Sczygiel, and Wojciech Jagielski, and works by other authors including Andrzej Szczeklik, Janusz Ekiert and Janusz Korczak.

She was the recipient of Instytut Ksiqzki’s ‘Found in Translation’ award in 2008 for her translation of Pawel Huelle’s The Last Supper, and this year became the first translator to win the award twice, this time for the totality of her output in 2012 (seven books in total!) Her translations of Artur Domoslawski’s Ryszard Kapuscinski: A Life and of Jacek Hugo-Bader’s Kolyma Diaries both received English PEN awards. In recent months her translation of Witold Szablowski’s The Assassin from Apricot City was included among World Literature Today’s most notable translations of 2013, and her translation of Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski was shortlisted for Waterstones 2013 ‘Book of the Year’ Award. She is a mentor for the British Centre for Literary Translation’s mentorship programme, occasionally leads translation workshops and is currently on the committee of the Translators Association.

Commenting on Lloyd-Jones’s output, Grzegorz Gauden has said “She has made an enormous impression with the quality of her translations on the one hand, and on the other with her versatility.”

Ms Lloyd-Jones will discuss her work as a translator with Dr. John Kearns of the ITIA.

Admission free – wine reception – all welcome! The ITIA are very grateful to the Irish Polish Society for their co­operation with this event. For more information, please contact John Kearns: [email protected]

NB Please note that this event will take place in the Irish-Polish Society,

20 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2 (not the Irish Writers’ Centre).

What’s Hot, What’s Not?

What’s HOT…

Be a busy freelance; not a busy fool.

On National Freelancers’ day, Rin Hamburgh looks at how to get your charging right. We really recommend you check out this link -mandatory for every rookie translator and interpreter.

The article can be found here:

…What’s NOT (hot)

Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter’s delay in transposing aforementioned EU directive into Irish law, overdue since 27 October 2013. He states he expects to be in a position to bring it into force ‘shortly’? Where does that leave non -English speaking defendants currently in the judicial process?

Joining the ITIA

The Irish Translators’ & Interpreters’ Association is pleased to welcome new members to the association. We currently have the following categories of membership:

  • Professional
  • Associate
  • Institutional
  • Student
  • Honorary

Professional Membership is awarded to translators or interpreters who meet the strict criteria of the ITIA based on qualification and level of experience.

Applicants must also achieve a PASS in the annual Professional Membership Examination (translator or interpreter) set by the ITIA.

Associate Membership is available to translators and interpreters who are starting out on their careers and to those who do not work full-time as a translator or interpreter. Many members avail of Associate Membership until such time as they have acquired the requisite experience and/or qualifications to apply for Professional Membership. Associate Membership is also availed of by people with a professional interest in the professions of translation and interpreting (e.g. terminologists, translation/interpreting tutors etc.) and by those who have a general interest in these professions.

Institutional Membership is available to bodies that do not function as commercial agencies, for example university centres for translation and interpreting studies or cultural institutes. Application documents for Institutional membership are currently being prepared.

Student Membership is available to persons undertaking undergraduate studies in any discipline or those undertaking postgraduate studies in translation or interpreting.

Honorary Membership is awarded by the ITIA AGM to persons in Ireland or abroad who have distinguished themselves in the field of translation or interpreting.

For further details and application forms, please see our website at

New Associate Members of the ITIA Nov./Dec. 2013

Pablo Cantero

SPANISH from French, English – business, websites, travel & tourism

Emma Dix

ENGLISH from French – general

Magdalena Duggan

Interpreter: legal and medical

Yvonne Gallagher

ENGLISH from French, Spanish – education, CVs, tourism, literature, contracts, business/finance, medical

Carmen Garcia Rives

SPANISH from English – sustainable development, horticulture, arts and crafts

Justin Hannigan

ENGLISH from Spanish, Italian – advertising, general

Iuliana Luceac

RUSSIAN from English; ENGLISH from Polish – legal, technical, commercial, tourism, medical, educational, culture, arts

Neil McDermott

ENGLISH from German – general

Reidi’n Murphy

ENGLISH from French, IRISH from English – legal, financial, literary

Dr. Christine O’Neill

GERMAN from English – literature, linguistics, arts, culture, academic, education, travel

Piotr Peczek

ENGLISH to and from POLISH – business, technical

Daniela Zambrini

ENGLISH to and from ITALIAN – legal, aerospace, maritime, energy & environment

For more information, visit official Irish Translators and Interpreters Association website.

You can subscribe for free to ITIA Bulletin and receive a monthly pdf copy: simply send a blank email to [email protected]

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