ABU DHABI // The FNC yesterday pushed through changes to the law to make it easier for Emiratis to become professional translators.
Under the draft law put to the council, all translators would have needed five years of experience to apply for a licence from the Ministry of Justice to work in the field.
That was amended yesterday to remove the requirement for Emiratis. But they will be required to have a degree with a major in translation.
A legal adviser for the FNC said the five-year minimum for expatriates would rule out many qualified translators, and make it impossible for expatriates to gain the experience here to enter the profession.
Unlicensed translators will face between six and 12 months in prison, and a fine of up to Dh100,000. Those who translate inaccurately also face prosecution and a fine.
"Here it says at least five years' experience but article 30 says they may face six months in prison without the licence. How will they get the experience, then, if they cannot work?" the adviser asked.
But members did not believe that to be a problem, saying expatriates could be expected to have trained elsewhere before working in the UAE.
The law was also amended to include sign language, despite objections by the Minister of Justice, Dr Hadef Al Dhaheri, that it had always been intended that sign language was to be implicitly included.
Members including Dr Abdul Rahim Al Shahin and Marwan bin Ghalita said if that were so, there was no harm in making it explicit, and the amendment was passed.
As with other recent laws, the council also added a clause setting a six-month deadline for the ministry to write the regulations needed to enact it.
After being passed by the FNC, draft laws require a signature from the President, Sheikh Khalifa, to come into effect.