EULITA, the European Legal Interpreters and Translators Association, was founded in Antwerp, Belgium, on 26 November 2009. It is a non-profit association, established under the Criminal Justice Programme of the EU Commission’s Directorate-General of Freedom, Security and Justice (project number JLS/2007/JPEN/249). Its mission is to promote, in the interest of justice, the fundamental principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms; to advance the quality of legal translation and legal interpreting in both spoken and signed languages; to stimulate appropriate training and enable mutual recognition of qualifications and practice among the EU Member States; to promote professionalism and the recognition of the professional status of qualified legal interpreters and translators, which includes the creation of national and eventually EU-wide registers; as well as to promote strict adherence to a professional code of ethics.
In spring 2023 a new Executive Committee started its mandate, this time with representatives from the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. We are honoured to be representing more than 90 members from about 40 countries all over the world.
Approaching the 15th anniversary of EULITA in 2024, the new Executive Committee will make every effort to contribute to the above points of the EULITA mission in the new mandate. The main focus will continue to be on the EU, although many activities will be broader, notably the EULITA efforts within the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO), where we will contribute to the drafting and revision of standards in the fields of legal translation and legal interpreting in the ISO Technical Committee 37, Sub-committee 5.
In the EU the focus will remain on Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings. The directive, which was formally transposed in all EU Member States with the exception of Denmark, has not been fully applied in many countries. A very important provision of the directive is its Article 5, which stipulates that Member States shall take concrete measures to ensure that the interpretation and translation provided meets a certain level of quality. Particular attention should be paid to recruitment, national registers, competences and skills. The impression is that while more than a decade after the transposition of the directive in some countries steps in the direction of providing good quality of interpretation and translation have been taken or are being taken, in others there is still considerable room for improvement.
Well maintained national registers of qualified legal translators and interpreters may well prove to be even more important in these times of machine-generated products and AI, when the question of liability of the companies putting such products on the market, or those commissioning them, has not yet been addressed properly. Every effort should be made that in legal settings only translation and interpretation of high quality should be provided and that such services are never anonymous and without knowing who is liable for them.
All members of the newly elected Executive Committee hope that through fruitful dialogue we will be able to engage with different stakeholders, including the users of our services and institutional counterparts at the international and national level, about the key issues legal translators and interpreters are facing nowadays.
Ljubljana, August 2023
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