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Working group on Management of the Translation Process



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In order to support institutional capacities for translation activities related to the European integration process, the Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA) is organising a meeting of the Working group on translation. The meeting will be dedicated to the theme of Management of the Translation Process and will take place at ReSPA Seat in Danilovgrad, Montenegro, on 23 and 24 July 2015.


The purpose of this paper is to provide background for discussion among the participants of the Working Group Meeting.
The main objectives of the event are:
• To exchange experience on different national practices related to the management of the translation process, specifically:
o organisational structures, co-ordination and co-operation with the national administration and other stakeholders, staffing issues, resource management,
o quality assurance, both in the process of translating the acquis and translating in membership negotiations;
• To become familiar with the good practices of the most recent EU Member State with regard to management of the translation process;
• To review and discuss challenges in terminology management and the ways the various Translation Co-ordination Units (TCU) are dealing with these challenges;
• To support networking among responsible institutions of ReSPA Members in order to ensure future cooperation and exchange of experience.


Each country aspiring to become a member of the EU must complete 3 crucial tasks: it must transpose the acquis communautaire into its national legislation; it must translate the acquis into its national language for publication in the Official Journal whereby the acquis becomes the law in the country in question and it must prove to the EU that it satisfies the membership criteria and can indeed become a functioning member of the EU.
A vital component in all these tasks is translation work - and it is translation work unlike any other undertaken in these countries prior to setting off on the road to membership. The most recent EU member state, Croatia, has translated more than 200 000 pages of the acquis into Croatian and almost as many pages of various documents into English to serve the work of the national administration in the negotiation process.
The sheer volume of this task is daunting in itself but becomes even more so in light of the fact that the translations have to be of the highest quality. Upon publication translations of the acquis will become the law in the country in question and negotiation documents are important elements in often quite exacting and sensitive talks influencing a country’s future. In order to be able to rise up to the challenge of this task, candidate and potential candidate countries must set up and maintain effective structures that can perform the task at hand and do so as part of the larger structure of the national administration as a whole.
The Working group meeting will be dedicated to three main aspects of this process: managing and organization of the translation process, quality assurance and terminology issues.  

Target group

Target audience for the Working group meeting are senior and mid level management civil servants working for TCUs of ReSPA Members (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) and Kosovo*. The working group meeting can be attended by civil servants in charge of coordination of the translation process working in other institutions.

Workshop trainers

Ms. Višnja Barbir received her degrees from the English Department of the University of Zagreb and the University of Edinburgh. She has worked at the Croatian Translation Co-ordination Unit since 2003. She was part of the team that set up the Croatian TCU and devised its organisational structure and operational procedures. As Head of the Department for translation of Croatian legislation and for the needs of the Ministry of European Integration, she managed the project of translating the replies to the EC Questionnaire and later the translation process during membership negotiations. Having worked as both a freelance translator earlier in her career and in translation management positions at the TCU she has extensive insight into the translation process. In recent years she has been increasingly engaged in transferring Croatian know-how and experience to candidate and potential candidate countries.


The first block would focus on the best practices with regard to the organisation and management of the translation process, specifically addressing issues such as staffing (numbers, recruitment, profile, motivation and retention issues), co-operation structures and models, setting up and managing the workflow and document management. The participants will also be invited to share their experience and present the challenges that have arisen in their countries, as well as to identify the obstacles, if any, to successfully addressing those challenges. The second block would address several aspects of quality management, including human resources, linguistic resources and quality control mechanisms with an emphasis on setting up and adhering to clear procedures. The objective of the third block is to address the specific problem of a translation endeavour where the range of subject matter is so vast that effective terminology management becomes imperative. Participants will be invited to present their experience, challenges and possible solutions in dealing with terminological issues, such as organizing terminology verification, managing horizontal corrections, co-operation with expert revisers and the IT tools used in this process.
The presentation and discussion should cover both translation of the acquis and translation for membership negotiations, addressing both the common traits and the differences between these translating projects.
The fact that the ReSPA Members are at different stages of the integration (and translation) process provides a valuable foundation for exchange of experience. Thus participants can make use of the experience not only of the country that has completed the process, but also those countries that are in more advanced stages of the process and have already overcome some of the inevitable obstacles along the way.
The Working group meeting format will rely on active involvement of participants in discussion and their contribution would be valuable to reach concrete conclusions. In order to demonstrate the experience of their public administrations in the translation process under relevant agenda topics, the participants may make structured presentations using power point.  

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