The Linguist

The Linguist 55,4

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 30 of 35 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016 The Linguist 31 OPINION & COMMENT More on qualifications In relation to Jaquelina Guardamagna's article (TL55,3, 'The Right Qualifications'), my own case might be of some interest. I hold a Licence de Lettres modernes from the Université de Lille III, via the French Institute in London. Since 2009, a licence has been equivalent to a Bachelor's degree with honours. Mine, however, dates back to 1987 and I later learned it was only equivalent to a BA General. So I have played safe by putting 'BA in Humanities' after the French title where necessary. Various French sources, incidentally, render lettres modernes as 'Modern Literature' (see This will not do in my case, as the course covered not only literature but language studies and history as well. Paul Guest ACIL I enjoyed reading Jaquelina Guardamagna's article and I also remember hearing her speak passionately about her work at the Language Show Live in Glasgow. All Jaquelina's advice is sound and recognises the degree of creativity required to draw parallels and recognise differences between qualifications in different countries. Having gained a European Masters in Translation Studies myself, I know how tricky it can be to put across accurately what was studied and the marks gained. My preferred method is to come up with what I believe to be the best translation and then open it up for discussion with the client, so that they can approve the final draft before certification. Jenny Bryce MCIL Star letter This week's star letter writer wins a BBC Active Talk Complete self-taught course. For a chance to win your choice of course (French, Italian, German or Spanish), share your views via The various laws of contract fee in sterling, and another from an agency in Spain, asking me to quote a rate in dollars. Would the law applying in these cases be that of the UK (or England), Italy/Spain or the USA? Sue surmises that lengthy non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) sent to interpreters are often not read by the recipients. When the consent relates to the provision of professional services such an approach is both unethical and foolhardy. If, as Sue says in a different context, "an NDA with the subcontractor would seem to be best practice here", surely the knowledge that the agreement is likely not to be read makes this a pointless exercise? It seems to me that there must be a simple solution to the problem Sue cites of translators and interpreters having to agree to "destroy confidential information once the job has been completed". If the providers of these language services can draw up NDAs for anyone to whom they subcontract work, there cannot be much of a problem for them to draw up a short statement for their clients to sign stating that the obligation to destroy information irrevocably would come into effect only after full and undisputed payment for the work had been made, with the translator or interpreter 'held harmless'. Sue's (almost) final point is that NDAs have to satisfy 'reasonableness' criteria, so even a discussion of what is, and what is not, 'reasonable' in such a context would be a step towards giving us language-service professionals the legal knowledge that we really need to assimilate. David Tash MCIL As a qualified (albeit non-practising) solicitor, Sue Leschen (TL55,3, 'The Minefield of Confidentiality') must be thoroughly familiar with the meaning of 'privilege' and I have no reason to question her judgement that the term is commonly used in the context of solicitor-client consultations but is thought not to apply to interpreters. More important, from my perspective as a British translator, is the fact that words in languages other than English, and which have legal implications, are used by many clients – apparently to bind translators and interpreters – even when those language-service providers have a mother-tongue level of English only. Is it possible for CIOL to provide guidance on the legal implications of terms in the more common languages used by our clients? In my quarter of a century working as a translator, there have been three jobs for which I have not received payment. The largest was for an agency in France that instructed me, well before the agreed deadline, to stop work immediately because their client had decided to do the work in-house, and to send them the translation I had produced so far. I was subsequently told that the partial translation was not up to the standard required so I would not be paid, even for that. Was I wrong in assuming that something equivalent to (UK) 'law of contract' existed in France? Which country's laws are relevant to these international business relationships? In recent months, I have received one email inquiry from a translation agency in Italy offering a certain

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