HOW would you feel telling a complete stranger they were dying?
For Australia’s 3500 interpreters and translators, it can be a regular part of the job that – managed properly – is bearable. But, according to a report to be launched tonight by former deputy prime minister Brian Howe, the translation and interpreting sector is a long way off being properly managed.
It’s one of a range of difficult situations interpreters and translators are thrown into in Australia’s hospitals, aged care centres and courts – in return for little job certainty as most are casuals, on low wages, with little respect from many of the professionals they work with.
Since the 1980s, successive state and federal governments have outsourced translating and interpreting jobs once done by permanent public servants.
The Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia is trying to better organise interpreters and translators to lobby for better conditions. The association argues, in its new paper Lost in Translation, that this outsourcing has eroded standards. More.