21. June. 2019. | 03:39

Public debate on Translation during Kosovo Assembly Meetings

On Friday the 21st of June, Aktiv held a public debate on Translation during Kosovo assembly meetings. Panelists included Andjelka Ćup, journalist, Sami Kurteshi, member of the Kosovo Assembly, Bruno Neziraj, interpreter, Arta Pllana of the Office of the Language Commissioner and Rinor Beka of the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

Speakers covered a range of different topics related directly to problems related to the interpretation of parliamentary committee meetings and access to information regarding the work of the Kosovo Assembly. Ćup highlighted the difficulties that Serbian journalists often face in covering the Assembly, as they often struggle to access information in the Serbian language and are frequently unable to cover meetings due to the lack of translations.  Other panelists, such as Sami Kurteshi, pointed to gaps in the education system when it comes to language learning and foresaw an impending crisis due to an ever-shrinking pool of capable candidates who are fluent in both Albanian and Serbian. Speaking on behalf of the Office of the Language Commissioner, Pllana greatly stressed the importance of access to information as a fundamental right that all citizens of Kosovo have, and that the lack of information available in all official languages constitutes a significant issue in exercising these rights.


BejBa emphasised that there are significant issues on how Article 78 of the Rules and Regulations of the Kosovo Assembly (which stipulates that translation should be provided at committee meetings on an as needed basis) committee is interpreted, and that the general absence of Serb Assembly members has meant that members of Serbian-language media outlooks and civil-society organisations find themselves unable to follow the work of the Assembly. From the perspective of a professional translator, Neziraj elaborated on the fact that interpreters work under a great amount of pressure and for limited financial compensation, something that can have a negative effect on the overall quality of their outputs.  It was agreed by all panelists that a significant amount of work needs to be done to improve the situation, and that this is something that will demand a multi-faceted response from both civil society and governing institutions. The discussion was held as part of the project Creating a Bilingual Kosovo, financed by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway and implemented in partnership with the Office of the Language Commissioner.