Arja Mäntykangas, authorized legal interpreter and translator
Swedish authorities apply methods and ideals of public procurement as supervised by the Swedish Competition Authority and based on the law of European Union. The concept of Competition implies that free market forces will give results.
The fundamental principles with regard to public procurement are the principles of
- non-discrimination (no discrimination based on nationality).
- equal treatment (all suppliers must be treated equally).
- transparency (openness and predictability).
- proportionality (contract must have a natural relation to the matter that are procured).
- mutual recognition (acceptance in the other Member states).
These principles are strategic/visionary guidelines for the procurement practice. Bur how are they reflected on active legal interpreters’ work and guidelines? What kind of tactics do the suppliers create for legal interpreters on the operational level? Simply, how do/can legal interpreters create service quality when the conditions around them are changing? What can be meant by quality on the operational level of interpretation, anyhow?
In this paper I want to explore the dimension of quality from the point of interpretation.
Exploration gives a starting point when trying to understand the concept of quality. Exploration is made by reading actual Swedish articles (news papers, scientific articles, existing contracts, regulations for authorized interpreters made by The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency in Sweden.) and by listening to people with experience (lawyer, interpreter).
As the main theory trying to interpret the contents I will apply the theory of Finnish professor Grönroos. He describes the quality in service delivery in two ways: as functional quality and as technical quality. His model needs to be translated to the world of interpreters and the users.
By putting these pieces together I try to see concept of interpreting quality as a process, not only as a language product.
The world is changing. Public procurement in Sweden has high ideals, as in Europe in whole. The interpreter acts and co-acts on an operational level. Closer to them is the concept of quality. In this paper I have tried to make a draft for understanding a little of the complexity even at the operational level.