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Repeal the Association of Translators and Interpreters Act, 1989

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Translation is the act or process of translating a written text into a different language. We all know that translation is a challenging task that requires strong knowledge of languages and excellent writing skills, but the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) had made the task of getting translators “Certified” impossible in some language pairs. It has practically erected barriers to entry and created a monopoly for the benefit of few privileged “Certified translators”, and to the detriment of other translators and the general public.

In 1989, the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario enacted a private act, Association of Translators and Interpreters Act, 1989.

According to the Private Act, the objectives of the Association are:

(a) To provide a collective voice for its members;

(b) To promote the professional development of its members;

(C) To ensure that members exercise high standards of ethical conduct;

(d) To publicize the role performed by its members in society;

(e) To establish standards of competency and certification examinations and to monitor the quality of the professional services rendered by its members;

(f) To examine any complaints received that pertain to the competence or professional conduct of a member;

(g) To support and protect the collective status, dignity and integrity of professional translators and interpreters;

(h) To provide its members with services designed to meet their professional needs; and

(i) To maintain amicable and professional relations with similar organizations inside and outside Canada.

Yet, ATIO failed to fulfil many of its objectives by creating a monopoly whereby few certified members reap all the benefits while other members (candidates for certification) are left with no rights or benefits. In fact, candidates are purely used by the Association to bankroll its activities through the payment of membership fees: Candidates are left as candidates indefinitely.

Over the years, many candidates voiced their dissatisfaction with the ATIO/CTTIC certification procedures. Many noted that no matter how good or experienced a translator is, he/she is bound to fail the process.

To dodge any criticism and absolve itself from any responsibility or accusation of creating a monopoly, ATIO has assigned the task of administering the “Certification” exam to CTTIC. With this carefully-crafted certification scheme, ATIO can claim that it has nothing to do with the Certification exam because it is done by another “independent” entity. Yet, the conflict of interest clearly persists as the few privileged ATIO “Certified Translators” are oftentimes the same ones who are marking the “Certification” exams on behalf of this supposedly “independent” entity.

As a result, this practice renders passing this certification process next to impossible in some language pairs. As the public records available on ATIO’s website show, the success rate in the Arabic – English “certification exam” has been zero for more than 10 years. It is worth mentioning that ATIO has certified only two Arabic translators in 14 years through a procedure called “on dossier certification” whereby you need the approval of three ATIO insiders (certified translators) to get accepted. With a 0% success rate in the certification exam, the issues of conflict of interest and the creation of barriers to entry are crystal-clear. This monopoly has to be broken. Again, we have a case where our own association is catering for the few privileged certified members and leaving the candidates with no rights at all. In fact, candidates for certification do not even have the right to vote!

So we hereby request the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario to:

1-      Suspend or revoke the special act called “Association of Translators and Interpreters Act, 1989” pending parliamentary inquiry into this matter

2-      Create a special committee to investigate the serious issues related to conflict of interest, barriers to entry, and the creation of a monopoly

3-      Investigate the disenfranchisement of “Candidates for certification” translators by ATIO over the last 10 years.

It is about time we embark on overhauling ATIO to make it more inclusive. We must break down this system whereby we have a 2-tier membership, with the certified members enjoying all the rights and benefits and with candidates for certification having almost no rights at all. We are determined to make this organization more transparent, accountable, and representative. Please help us make our just voices heard and say enough to a policy of closed doors.

Please sign our petition to call upon the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario to repeal or suspend this private act pending further investigation.

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