At the trilogue meeting on 17/18 May 2010, the Presidency reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament and with the Commission on the text of the draft Directive on the rights to interpretation and to translation in criminal proceedings.
The adoption of the Directive by the European Parliament on 22 June 2010 will be a hallmark in the history of legal interpreting and legal translation. Nearly 11 years have passed since the European Council in Tampere set itself the objective of developing an area of freedom, security and justice (15/16 October 1999). After a Council Framework decision on this subject adopted last December could not enter into force, as the Lisbon Treaty had become effective, the initiative by 13 EU Member States and of the EU Council re-launched the process to enshrine the rights to interpretation and to translation in criminal proceedings in a Directive.
According to insider reports, tough negotiations were needed for the text of article 5 which is the most relevant stipulation for legal interpreters and translators. With the text:
‘In order to promote the adequacy of interpretation and translation and efficient access to it, Member States shall endeavour to establish a register or registers of independent translators and interpreters who are appropriately qualified. Once established, such register or registers should be made available to legal counsel and relevant authorities.’
a compromise solution for EULITA’s demands was found to include in the operative text of the Directive the principal requirements, namely:
- to adequately train legal interpreters and translators,
- to admit legal interpreters and translators to an official register through certification/accreditation,
- to require judges, lawyers and judicial staff to use such registers when recruiting legal interpreters and translators.
Article 5a will also require judges, prosecutors and judicial staff to be trained for the particularities of communicating with the assistance of an interpreter, so as to ensure efficient and effective communication.
One further demand which EULITA communicated to the responsible EU authorities will hopefully be included in a planned accompanying EU “best practice” recommendation, which is to follow soon, namely that associations of legal interpreters and translators should be involved in the implementation of the Directive and its functioning on an ongoing basis.
The text of the draft Directive is available in pdf here.
Liese Katschinka, President
on behalf of the Executive Committee of EULITA
Antwerp, 10 June 2010