28 January 2004

Search all issues

powered by FreeFind

Send Your Feedback!

No Maltese interpreters qualify for EU posts, 98 translators still needed by Brussels

By David Lindsay
Despite the renowned Maltese flair for languages, Malta is still coming up empty handed when it comes to finding interpreters to work within European Union institutions come 1 May.
As matters currently stand and with just over three months to go until Malta accedes to the EU, only 37 Maltese translators are to sit for their second pre-selection test and the few Maltese who actually applied for posts as interpreters have all failed their second tests.
Contacted on Friday, an EU spokesperson confirmed with The Malta Financial and Business Times that the EU has had little success in attracting Maltese nationals to work as translators and interpreters. In fact, Maltese turnout for pre-selection tests has been surprisingly poor, given the comparatively high salaries on offer from Brussels.
The spokesperson told this newspaper that only 90 Maltese had applied for the 135 posts for translators that need to be filled by each of the new EU member states. The poor turnout was then amplified by the fact that out of these 90, only 40 showed up for the pre-selection tests.
Now the 37 prospective translators who made it through the first round of testing are awaiting the results of their second round of testing. Even if each of these 37 do, indeed, eventually qualify as fully-fledged EU translators, Malta will still fall 98 translators short of the complement required for the estimated 1.3 million pages of text to be translated each year. By 2006, this number is expected to grow to 2.4 million.
Even less success, in fact none at all, had been registered in securing the higher-skilled interpreters. The EU spokesperson told this newspaper that out of the mere 16 Maltese candidates, only four had made it through to the second round of testing. All four hopeful interpreters then failed this second round of testing, effectively meaning that Maltese officials heading for Brussels will have little choice other than simply resorting to speaking English, or another interpretable European language, at EU gatherings.
These revelations follow Alternattiva Demokratika’s condemnation of the lack of inertia on the part of the Maltese government, which, it said, had led to a severe lack of qualified Maltese interpreters for EU structures. AD also warned of a serious risk that the Maltese language would be completely absent from the European Parliament as from May. And with no interpreters qualifying as interpreters, the forecast has now become reality.
Prof. Cassola called on the government to request financial assistance from the EU for the implementation of a ‘crash course’ in interpreting in order to correct the state of affairs.
To date, this call has not been heeded.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
Tel: (356) 21382741-3, 21382745-6 | Fax: (356) 21385075 | E-mail