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Supreme Legislation Committee highlights the role of translators in legislative and legal fields on International Translation Day

October 03, 2022 – The Supreme Legislation Committee in the Emirate of Dubai (SLC) held an event marking the “International Translation Day” to highlight the importance of translation in the legislative and legal fields and acknowledge its contribution to enriching cultures and promoting global understanding. The event was attended by the SLC Secretary General His Excellency Ahmed bin Meshar, Assistant Secretary General Mohammed Jomaa AlSuwaidi, and a number of SLC legal professionals and administrative staff.

Nermine ElGebaly, Senior Legal Translator at the SLC, opened the event with a brief historical background on ‘International Translation Day’ noting that, in 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring the 30th of September as International Translation Day. Ms. ElGebaly went on to discuss the importance of the role played by translation in bridging the gap between the speakers of different languages over centuries, particularly in the UAE, which is home to speakers of around 200 languages. ElGebaly expressed her pride that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai recognises the critical role played by translators; and quoted H.H. Sheikh Mohammed’s saying: “Translation is the foundation of a cultural renaissance, and opens the doors to intellectual enlightenment,” as he launched the ‘Translation Challenge’ project in 2017 to translate 11 million words in various scientific subjects to make knowledge accessible to some 50 million Arab students from kindergarten to grade 12.

Meanwhile, speaking about the results of his research on machine translation and its effectiveness as a tool for legal research, Ali Ladhari, Senior Legal Translator said that this method was implemented on texts in four languages that are not widely used in the Arab region (Japanese, Korean, Icelandic, and Turkish). Mr. Ladhari encouraged the group of legal professionals present to put his method into practice and evaluate the effectiveness of machine translation in accessing legal provisions in other countries for benchmarking purposes.

Highlighting the translator’s obligations and responsibilities, Dr. Sherif Ghannam, Legal Advisor at the Secretary General’s Office, clarified the regulatory framework of the translation profession in the UAE, the different categories of translators, and the obligations and responsibilities of the translator. “This is based on the legislation regulating the translation profession in the UAE, as well as the Translator’s Charter issued by the International Federation of Translators,” he said.

Dr. Ghannam also spoke about the obligations of a translator, such as confidentiality, accuracy, executing the translation himself, objectivity, professionalism, document protection, professional development, as well as the types of liability of a translator which are civil liability, disciplinary liability, and penal liability for violations and gross errors.

In addition to emphasising the value of translation as a tool for intercultural communication, the event included discussions with the audience and highlighted the importance of using cutting-edge technology while acknowledging the crucial role that the human factor plays in the development of translation services. The most notable incidents involving translation errors were also mentioned. It was also stated that translators are committed to learning about all the advancements in their profession, including tools and methods that help increase efficiency, in order to enhance their performance and improve their productivity, while maintaining accuracy.

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