x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

UAE lawyers welcome new rules for legal translators

The regulations mean that non-Emirati legal translators have to have five years experience before they can work in the profession.

ABU DHABI // Legal experts have welcomed a new bylaw that requires non-Emirati legal translators to have five years of experience before they can practise.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday approved the Cabinet decision regulating the translation profession.

The bylaw, which has been published in the latest release of the Official Gazette, bars legal translators that are not registered and licensed from the relevant authority in each emirate from working in the country.

The regulations also cover sign-language interpreters, saying they must be “highly qualified in manual communication and body language, deeply understand deaf people’s culture, have direct contacts with deaf people communities and enjoy various skills to tackle different situations”.

Emirati lawyer Mohammed Al Sawan, who is the son of one of the first official legal translators in the UAE, said he is optimistic about the effects of the bylaw.

“Hopefully, we are going to see a better quality. It will limit translators to those with better quality and higher standards,” he said.

He also welcomed the fact that Emiratis were exempt from the five-year experience clause, saying it may encourage more to take up the profession.

At present, he said there are only a handful of UAE nationals working as legal translators.

“They are scattered all around the emirates, there are about three in Abu Dhabi and a few in Sharjah,” he said.

But he also suggested that very talented non-Emirati translators could be fast-tracked through the system, if they pass necessary tests.

The bylaw also requires legal translators to have a minimum insurance of Dh500,000 per year. This would cover the costs of compensation claims resulting of damages caused by any mistranslating.

hdajani@thenational.ae