Francisco Vigier, AVANTI research group, University of Granada, Spain
Thanks to the dramatic improvement in transport, the phenomenon of mass tourism and the contemporary migration trends, the world is currently undergoing an unprecedented increase in human mobility. This is especially evident in supranational entities such as the European Union, where specific legislation is deliberately passed in order to remove obstacles which may hinder freedom of movement for persons and services between Member States. Accordingly, there is also an ever increasing number of relationships of all kinds (be they commercial, legal, academic or even personal) between citizens of different nationalities, and subsequently from different cultures and with different languages. This enormous volume of international links leads to a correlative, wide variety of situations demanding language mediation (i.e. translating and interpreting). Since many of these situations must be either sanctioned or witnessed by the authorities (frequently, by courts or other legal institutions), it is quite common to require official translations of documents written in a language different than that used by these authorities. This paper describes how official translation is organised in three different Member States of the European Union with three very different professional frameworks: the United Kingdom (where there is so far no regulated profession regarding official translation), Spain (where there is a profession with a long tradition in this field, but not clearly regulated) and Greece (where a new system of sworn translators has just been established, which has caused considerable debate in this country). Through this comparison, this paper presents the most prominent aspects of these systems as well as the most frequent practices in these countries as far as official translation is concerned, in order to highlight once more the need for harmonisation of standards in (official) translation and interpreting across Europe.