Chances are you are unfamiliar with the acronym PSTEVIN. It stands for ‘Platform sector tolken en vertalen in Nederland’, and it is a platform where stakeholders involved in translation and interpreting in the Netherlands can meet and discuss the shared challenges they face. Since the Society counts many translators and interpreters among its ranks, a SENSE representative usually attends the platform’s biannual meetings. Jasper Pauwels joined the 19 May 2022 meeting as well as the special interim Zoom meeting in June, and wrote this short recap of the discussions.
The education institutions reported they learnt valuable lessons during the coronavirus pandemic and are ready and prepared to go fully online again if necessary. That said, some of them have always offered many online training possibilities. It was nevertheless agreed that some skills are best conveyed in an in-person setting. Students can expect more support to catch up on any education they may have missed during the pandemic.
In the coming years, two of the educational institutions will be working together to offer the first dedicated master’s degree in interpreting in the Netherlands. Practising interpreters can expect courses on particular specialization such as healthcare and asylum procedures to become available as well.
The good news is that both the public and private sectors are in great need of competent interpreters. Those who master the Russian and/or Ukrainian languages will especially have plenty of work – for most regrettable reasons.
One of the biggest challenges for interpreters in the past years was the sudden increase of videoconferencing: many struggled with the technical sides of interpreting online or with the lack of verbal communication during such conversations. As we have all experienced, Zoom meetings are not quite the same as meetings in person, which makes interpreting harder. Moreover, establishing a safe and secure internet connection for all parties in the meeting proved to be a tough problem, too. These problems can be solved, however, and virtual interpreting is expected to stay.
One of the large efforts from PSTEVIN in recent years was drafting the Convenant Vertaalsector Nederland. Written by translators and translation agencies alike, this document contains best practices for an ideal collaboration between translators and agencies.
The Directorate-General for Translation, responsible for a large part of European translation services, will outsource an increasing amount of work in the future. Translators can group together if they would like to work for the EU directly – given the large volumes to translate, it is not possible for sole traders to apply. However, this does not mean freelance translators cannot work for the EU.The list of current DGT contractors are available here
An idea was proposed during the meeting to set up a media campaign to boost the reputation of the translation and interpreting profession. Media coverage too often focuses on poor rates and difficult working conditions, whereas the advantages of a language career are overlooked. In fact, the need for translators and interpreters will only increase in the years ahead. The media campaign should highlight, among other things, the social importance of translation and interpreting, as well as why they are such rewarding and intellectually challenging careers. This initiative was well received across the board, but organising and financing such an endeavour is easier said than done. The SENSE Executive Committee is currently looking into the most appropriate way SENSE can contribute to the initiative.
If you are interested in the topics covered by PSTEVIN or would like to offer an interpreter’s perspective on behalf of SENSE during future meetings, please contact Jasper Pauwels and Samuel Murray (contact details available in the membership directory on the SENSE website).