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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

Is the new register of public service translators a separate legal entity?

A:

No, it is part of NRPSI Ltd, which is a not-for-profit organisation registered as a company Limited by Guarantee at Companies House (No 7585982). We manage and own the existing NRPSI Register of interpreters and are setting up the new register of public service translators to run alongside this. We bring the same strong values of public interest and protection to the new register of public service translators, along with the expertise of running the well-regarded NRPSI Register of interpreters.

Q:

What form will the new register of public service translators take? And what will its relationship be to the existing register of public service interpreters?

A:

The new register of public service translators will be run along similar lines to the NRPSI Register of interpreters. It will be an open-access online register of accredited translators who have met the standards set by NRPST for professional practice and agreed to abide by the Code of Professional Conduct. The register of public service translators will be separate from the NRPSI Register of interpreters. However, there will be links between the two registers to make it easy to identify those language professionals who are registered in both disciplines.

Q:

What form will the new register of public service translators take? And what will its relationship be to the existing register of public service interpreters?

A:

The new register of public service translators will be run along similar lines to the NRPSI Register of interpreters. It will be an open-access online register of accredited translators who have met the standards set by NRPST for professional practice and agreed to abide by the Code of Professional Conduct. The register of public service translators will be separate from the NRPSI Register of interpreters. However, there will be links between the two registers to make it easy to identify those language professionals who are registered in both disciplines.

Q:

What will the new register of public service translators be called?

A:

The new register will be called the National Register of Public Service Translators (NRPST).

Q:

Why are you launching a register of public service translators?

A:

For 25 years, the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) has existed to maintain interpreting standards, protecting those in need of interpreting services as well as public service interpreting professionals. Unfortunately, the same degree of regulation, accountability and support has not been available in the translation sector. NRPSI neither accredits translation skills specifically nor upholds professional standards expressly relating to translation other than where translation skills are required as part of an interpreting assignment. Despite this fact, our research and consultation with a variety of stakeholders – including the 150 NRPSI Registrants with a translation qualification and the public services – shows that the NRPSI Register of interpreters is being used to source translators, indicating the desire of those seeking translators to work with registered language professionals. Furthermore, it is also evident from a separate NRPSI study of language service users that 25% of them have experienced poor professional conduct from translators in the last two years. While there are obvious synergies between interpreting and translation, they are distinctly different disciplines. Each has its own unique skill set, qualifications and National Occupational Standards.

We have therefore concluded that there is a need for a register of translators that is equivalent to the NRPSI Register of interpreters – one that is similarly underpinned by agreed standards of practice and regulated by an independent body free from commercial and other pressures – in order to regulate the public service translation profession, meet the demands of the public services and protect the public.

Consequently, we will launch the new register of translators in 2020. With both the new register of translators and existing NRPSI Register of interpreters, we aim to maintain and safeguard the reputation of both public service interpreting and translation professions, educate the users and potential users of both language skills about the differences between the disciplines, and cross-promote the need for professionalism and using professionals in both fields.

Q:

Will a different Code of Professional Conduct underpin the new register of public service translators?

A:

No. While NRPSI neither accredits translation skills specifically nor upholds professional standards expressly relating to translation, the Code of Professional Conduct that underpins the NRPSI Register of interpreters does make provision for translation skills that may be needed for an interpreting assignment (e.g. assisting the police in producing statements), as required by the National Occupational Standards in Interpreting. Consequently, the same Code of Professional Conduct can serve as the foundation for the register of public service translators as well, subject to minor wording changes.  From here, we will continue to update the Code of Professional Conduct as necessary to ensure it reflects developments not only in interpreting practice but translation practice as well. We will also make sure that it takes into account changes in the wider environment. We will follow the same disciplinary process for complaints against Registered Translators as we follow for Registered Interpreters. And, in due course, we will recruit Registered Translators in addition to Registered Interpreters to sit on our disciplinary panels.

Q:

What will the registration criteria for the new register of public service translators involve?

A:

Over the past year or so, we have been working with translation and interpreting practitioners specialising in working with the public services on the registration criteria for NRPST to ensure that those who qualify to wear the badge of Registered Translator meet the requirements of the public services. For those accustomed to the NRPSI Register of interpreters, the way the criteria will be structured will be familiar. The registration criteria for the register of translators is published in full on the new website: NRPST.org.uk.

Q:

How will the new register of public service translators be funded and staffed?

A:

All those with translation expertise who apply and meet the criteria to become a Registered Translator at the launch of NRPST will be able to register free of charge for the first year. (NB: Conditions apply, so please see online for the full registration details and criteria.) In future, NRPST, like NRPSI, will be funded by registration fees. This well-recognised funding model for regulators ensures that they can remain independent and free from pressure groups. As an independent entity, we can ensure that professional standards are central to everything we do. We will continue to use the experience and expertise of the staff, board and committee members who work to maintain the NRPSI Register.

Q:

Who is the new register of public service translators aimed at? What type of professional and user?

A:

The new register is aimed at those with the appropriate level of translation expertise who wish to work in a public service setting and are committed to the highest professional standards. Users of the new register will encompass the justice system (including solicitors), local government, social services, the health care sector and any other part of the public sector that requires translation services.

Q:

When will the new register of public service translators be launched?

A:

The new NRPST website (NRPST.org.uk) containing full details of the new register, including its registration criteria, is live as of 31 December 2019. The register of translators will then open for applications in 2020. Those who visit the new NRPST website and register their interest will be among the first notified when the register opens for applications.

Q:

What will it cost to become a registered public service translator?

A:

All those with translation expertise who apply and meet the criteria to become a Registered Translator at the launch of NRPST will be able to register free of charge for the first year. (NB: Conditions apply, so please see online for the full registration details and criteria.)

In special recognition of the commitment to professionalism they already demonstrate, NRPSI Registrants will also benefit from a 50% reduction in their NRPST annual registration fee beyond the free-of-charge first year, as long as they also remain registered with NRPSI.

In future, NRPST will, like NRPSI, be funded by registration fees. As the registration process for the new register will be similar to that of the NRPSI Register of interpreters, we anticipate its annual registration fees will be similar. All fees will be published on the NRPST and NRPSI websites as appropriate.

Q:

As an existing NRPSI Registrant, how will I benefit from the introduction of the new register of public service translators?

A:

By establishing a register of translators, we are emphasising the unique professional requirements of another language skill, thereby stressing the professional status of linguists. We are also making it clear that, while there are obvious synergies between them, interpreting and translation are distinctly different disciplines and professions. Each has its own unique skill set, qualifications and National Occupational Standards. Implementing the new register of translators is an opportunity for us to further protect the language professions and their registered professionals, not to mention the public, from poor linguistic practice. It is a way to ensure government frameworks and the users of language services understand and consider the differences between interpreting and translation. It also provides us with a further means of raising the profile of language professionals and the services they offer among those in government and the public services. As stated above, the existing NRPSI Register of interpreters is already being used to source translators by those seeking to engage the services of registered language professionals. The establishment of a register of public service translators offers the opportunity not only to properly meet the needs of these employers and promote the value of using Registered Translators, but also the means to cross-promote both NRPST and NRPSI Registers. Furthermore, the introduction of a specific register of translators means that NRPSI Registrants with a translation qualification will for the first time have the opportunity to register their translation skills and have these recognised.

Q:

As a translator who works for the public services or wishes to do so, how will I benefit from becoming a Registered Public Service Translator?

A:

By becoming a Registered Public Service Translator, you have the opportunity to have your specific professional credentials assessed by the Independent Regulator of your profession. You will demonstrate to clients and prospects your commitment to the highest professional standards and that you fulfil the criteria of registration set by your profession’s regulatory body. As stated elsewhere in this FAQs document, we know that the public services are seeking to engage the services of registered language professionals for translation assignments. Becoming a Registered Translator is a way to set yourself apart in the minds of your professional peers and employers from those translators who are unregistered. As a Registered Translator, you will benefit from a listing in the NRPST Register, which prospective clients can use to source translators. You will have access to your listing, essentially your own webpage, which you can use to market your expertise to potential clients. Furthermore, you will be entitled to use the letters ‘RPST’ (Registered Public Service Translator) after your name. By registering, you also have the opportunity to be part of a well-established and highly regarded regulatory organisation that exists to safeguard the quality of both the interpreting and translation professions and promote their value to the users of language services.

Q:

What if I’m already registered with NRPSI, do I need to register with NRPST as well?

A:

If you are a Registered Interpreter, possess translation expertise and meet the requirements of the new register of translators, you will have the option of becoming a Registered Translator as well. Becoming registered in either or both disciplines currently remains optional. It is, however, worth noting that those with translation expertise who apply and meet the criteria to become a Registered Translator at the launch of NRPST will be able to register free of charge for the first year. (NB: Conditions apply, so please see online for the full registration details and criteria.)

Furthermore, in special recognition of the commitment to professionalism they already demonstrate, NRPSI Registrants will also benefit from a 50% reduction in their NRPST annual registration fee beyond the free-of-charge first year, as long as they also remain registered with NRPSI.

All fees will be published on the NRPST and NRPSI websites as appropriate.

Q:

Doesn’t the NRPSI Register already accredit my translation skills?

A:

Translation skills that might be necessary for an interpreting assignment (referred to as ‘Immediate translations’ in the National Occupational Standards for Interpreting), e.g. assisting the police in producing statements, are a required part of those qualifications that meet the NRPSI registration criteria. However, NRPSI neither accredits translation skills specifically nor upholds professional standards expressly relating to translation. While there are obvious synergies between interpreting and translation, they are distinctly different disciplines. Each has its own unique skill set, qualifications and National Occupational Standards. For this reason, we have identified a need for a separate register of public service translators.

Q:

As an existing user of the NRPSI Register of interpreters, how will I benefit from the introduction of the new register of public service translators?

A:

As a language service user, you are most likely responsible for engaging both interpreters and translators. With the new NRPST, you will benefit from working with translators who adhere to the same high standards of professional practice you have come to expect from NRPSI Registered Interpreters. The new register of public service translators will be open access and easy to use, just like the NRPSI Register of interpreters. There will also be a free independent complaints service for those occasions where it is alleged that a NRPST Registrant has not adhered to the Code of Professional Conduct.

Q:

Can I register my interest in receiving more information about NRPST?

A:

If you are a translation professional and interested in learning more about the new register of public service translators’ registration requirements, or you are a user of translation services and would like to be kept informed about the launch of the new register, please register you interest via the new NRPST.org.uk website.

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