Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry moves to tighten rules on translation agencies

The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry intends bringing in new rules in July 2013 requiring translation agencies contracted to it to meet appropriate standards.

There are about 2000 translation agency companies contracted by the ministry to translate documents that it has legalised.

But concerns have arisen within the Foreign Ministry’s consular services about the standards of the translations done by some of the firms.

Some companies are small-scale, apparently without a core team of professional translators.

For that reason, the ministry wants agencies to meet Bulgarian Standardisation Agency certification standards, a process costing about 2000 to 4000 leva.

According to a June 8 2012 report by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (BNT), this would mean that about 1600 agencies for translation and legalisation in the country would be threatened by bankruptcy.

The report said that small agencies said that the move was “the first step towards monopolising the market in favour of certain firms”.

Translation firms had gathered about 600 signatures against the change, the BNT report said.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vessela Tcherneva said that over the coming year, an assessment would be made of the impact of the stricter requirements.

A final decision would be made around the middle of next year and the new rules would come into effect on July 1 2013.

Current rules for companies to apply to the ministry for a contract to translate documents required little more than proof of company registration.

This was a factor in the proliferation of companies with contracts. However, many of the small companies had clients other than the ministry for which they did translations.

The number of companies was very high and it was difficult to control quality. Consular services had complained about the inconsistent standards of translations.

“It is not about killing these companies but about ensuring levels of quality,” Tcherneva said.

(Photo: Thiago Felipe Festa/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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