TRANSLATORS SAY THEIR WORK SHOULD STAY CONFIDENTIAL

Jul 19, 2018

By Michael Kramer

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Canadian translators and their international counterparts say their work should be treated as strictly confidential – and they shouldn’t be compelled to testify about the private conversations they hear.

This comes as U.S. Republicans on the House intelligence committee blocked a Democrat request – for Donald Trump’s translator to testify about his lengthy conversation with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

No government officials from either country accompanied Trump or Putin – behind closed doors.

Since that meeting, Trump has vacillated on whether he believes Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election – a conclusion that U.S. intelligence agencies say is not in doubt.

The Geneva-based International Association of Conference Interpreters says compelling Trump’s interpreter to testify would violate a cardinal rule – that has been applied to their craft for decades.

Lola Bendana of Toronto-based Multi-Languages Corporation – a translation firm – says it’s not unprecedented for high-level summits to take place without other officials in the room – but that doesn’t mean translators should be compelled to reveal the contents of those meetings.

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