New Requirements for Translation Services in Bulgaria

Around 1600 translation companies are threatened with bankruptcy because of the introduction of the mandatory requirement for their certification by the European quality standard for translation services of Bulgarian translators and owners of the translation service agencies say.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) plans to introduce the new translation certification requirements from July 1, 2013. It will be also require companies to sign labor agreements even with the interpreters who are now working as freelancers. According to the new standards, translation companies will be also required to hire an editor. Each company will be obliged to buy translation software, whether it uses or not, and to have an equipped office, which will be evidenced by a lease contract.

Thus, translation agencies will incur additional costs, and most are likely to fail, which means the loss of thousands of jobs. Moreover, firms that survive will inevitably raise the price of translation services.

In support of the new requirements Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov said they are intended to improve the quality of services. He noted that in recent years there were many complaints and lawsuits filed against companies who provided poor translations that have severely harmed the legal and property interests of Bulgarian citizens”.

On the other hand, companies in the sector have made a request to the Vienna Institute for Standardization and other European institutions responded that certification of translation services in the European quality standard is voluntary.  In the opinion of companies in the sector, standardization in European countries is a voluntary, not mandatory, and is usually observed by companies involved in public procurement. They note that in European countries interpreters register with the national ministries of justice and receive a number and a seal similar to notaries. They stress that translation companies are not against improving the quality requirements of services provided by Bulgarian translation service agencies. However, the companies from the sector should have the freedom of choice.

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