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Act on Authorised Translators
Translation from Finnish
Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland
Act on Authorised Translators
(1231/2007; amendments up to 961/2015 included)
By decision of Parliament, the following is enacted:
Scope of application
Scope of the Act
This Act lays down provisions on the right to practise as an authorised translator and on the examination system of authorised translators.
Authorisation of translators and the legal validity of translations
Eligibility as an authorised translator
The title of authorised translator may be conferred to a person of age and of known reliability,
1) who has not been declared to lack legal capacity;
2) whose municipality of residence under the Municipality of Residence Act (201/1994) is in Finland, or who is domiciled in a Member State of the European Union or in another country in the European Economic Area; and
3) who has successfully passed the Authorised Translator’s Examination referred to in this Act.
Passing the examination mentioned in subsection 1, paragraph 3 above is not required if the individual has obtained a Master of Arts degree or other second-cycle degree including at least 60 credits (ECTS) in translation studies, and applies for the right to carry out translations in the capacity of an authorised translator in a language pair contained in the degree in question, exclusively into his or her native language or into the language he or she masters best (working language A). More detailed provisions on the translation studies referred to above are issued by government decree.
Authorisation of translators
A person who fulfils the criteria set out in section 2 shall be entitled to practise as an authorised translator for a term of five years. Prior to authorisation, the person must give an authorised translator’s written affirmation.
The authorisation may be extended upon application for a maximum of five years at a time, provided that the applicant has been practising as an authorised translator during the validity of the authorisation and continues to fulfil the criteria set out in section 2.
Further provisions on how an authorisation shall be applied for and granted and on the authorised translator’s affirmation are issued by government decree.
Certificate of authorisation
A certificate shall be issued upon the authorisation of a translator, stating from and into which language the translator is entitled to carry out authorised translations. Further provisions on the issuance of such a certificate, its contents and the required signatures are issued by government decree.
Withdrawal of authorisation
Authorisation may be withdrawn if a translator no longer fulfils the criteria set out in this Act or has, through his or her actions, otherwise proved manifestly unsuited to practise as an authorised translator. Before the withdrawal takes place, the translator shall be provided an opportunity to be heard. A withdrawal of authorisation shall be announced in the Official Gazette without delay.
Legal validity of translations
A translation produced by an authorised translator is legally valid, unless proven to be erroneous.
Authorised Translator’s Examination
In the Authorised Translator’s Examination, the examinees must demonstrate their language and translation skills in the examination languages, as well as the other competences required in the professional practice of an authorised translator. Further provisions on the structure of the examination and the contents of its different parts, on holding the examinations, and on the successful completion of an examination are issued by government decree.
The required language and translation skills and the ability to practise as an authorised translator, the ways of demonstrating these skills, and the generic assessment criteria are defined in the qualification requirements of the examination.
The qualification requirements, the examination languages, the relevant translation directions and the test assignments shall be determined by the Finnish National Agency for Education based upon an opinion from the Examination Board of Authorised Translators referred to in section 11 of this Act.
The designation ´Authorised Translator’s Examination’ only applies to the examination laid down in this section.
A certificate shall be issued for passing the Authorised Translator’s Examination. Further provisions on the issuance of such a certificate, its contents and the required signatures are issued by government decree.
Database on examinations
There is a database for the Authorised Translator’s Examination for the purpose of monitoring the effectiveness of the examination and storing data on the examinations passed. The Finnish National Agency for Education shall be the data controller. The data to be stored includes the name and personal identity code of each examinee; the language pair and translation direction in each examination; the outcome of the examination; the name of the assessor of the performance; the date of passing the examination; and the necessary contact details. The data shall be stored for 30 years.
Implementation of the examination system of authorised translators
Maintenance of the examination system of authorised translators
The Finnish National Agency for Education shall be in charge of maintaining and further developing the examination system of authorised translators and monitoring the implementation of the examination.
Examination Board of Authorised Translators
The Examination Board of Authorised Translators works under the auspices of the Finnish National Agency for Education, which appoints the Board for a maximum of five years at a time. The Board consists of a chair, a vice-chair and seven other members. A personal deputy shall be designated for each. The Board is entitled to consult external experts.
The members of the Board must represent translator training establishments, practising authorised translators and users of their services. The chair and vice-chair must be language and translation experts who are closely familiar with the work of authorised translators. One Board member and his or her personal deputy must have a master’s degree in Law.
Further provisions on the composition of the Board, its appointment and its deliberations are issued by government decree.
The fees of Board members and external experts shall be set by the Finnish National Agency for Education, who also sees to the Board’s payment transactions, accounting and archives.
Duties of the Board
It is the duty of the Examination Board of Authorised Translators to issue and withdraw authorisations; to monitor the practice of authorised translators; to assess examinations and issue pass certificates; to make arrangements for holding the Authorised Translator’s Examination; and to function as a data controller as laid down in section 15 of this Act. The Board may also present initiatives for further developing the examination system. Further provisions on the duties of the Board are issued by government decree.
Board members who perform the duties listed in subsection 1 above shall be subject to the provisions on criminal liability for acts in office.
An appropriate number of assessors shall be appointed, upon application, by the Finnish National Agency for Education to formulate and assess the assignments of the Authorised Translator’s Examination.
Provisions on the eligibility of assessors are issued by government decree.
Assessors who perform the duties listed in subsection 1 above shall be subject to the provisions on criminal liability for acts in office.
The fees of assessors are set by the Finnish National Agency for Education.
Database on Assessors
The purpose of the Database on Assessors is to ensure a consistent level of assessment of examination performances. The Finnish National Agency for Education shall be the data controller of the database.
Each assessor must provide the following data, which shall be stored in the database: name, personal identity code, necessary contact details, and the language(s) for which he or she is entitled to assess examinations.
An assessor shall be entered in the database for a term of five years. Entries are renewable upon application, provided that the assessor remains eligible under the criteria set out in section 13 of this Act and has effectively maintained the currency of his or her assessment skills. If substantial shortcomings or neglect are observed in the assessor’s practice, the entry may be removed before its expiry by the Finnish National Agency for Education.
Register of Authorised Translators
The Examination Board of Authorised Translators shall maintain a Register of Authorised Translators for the purpose of monitoring their practice and extending the validity of authorisations, and to allow users of translation services to verify the validity of authorisations. Data such as the names, personal identity codes and addresses of authorised translators and the language pairs in which they are authorised shall be stored in the Register. The records shall be removed without undue delay, at the latest within two months after the expiry or withdrawal of the authorisation.
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 16, subsection 3 of the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the records of the authorised translator’s name, municipality of residence and language pairs in which he or she is authorised may be disclosed from the Register over a public data network by the Board. Registered translators have the right to deny any disclosure of their personal data.
Notification of changes in information
An authorised translator must notify the Board without delay of any substantial changes in his or her ability to practise or in the circumstances for practising as an authorised translator.
Taking the Authorised Translator’s Examination and receiving authorisation are subject to a fee as performances under public law under the Act on Criteria for Charges Payable to the State (150/1992). More detailed provisions on the amount of the fee are issued by government decree.
Use of the title of authorised translator
Only persons authorised in accordance with this Act are entitled to use the title of ´authorised translator’.
Secrecy obligation of authorised translators
An authorised translator shall not, without permission, disclose to third parties or use for personal benefit any information he or she may have obtained when practising as an authorised translator.
Court’s duty to notify
Courts of justice shall notify the Examination Board of Authorised Translators of a court decision by which someone is convicted of an offence under section 23 of this Act or by which an authorised translator is convicted of an offence committed while practising as a translator.
Section 21 (961/2015)
Legal protection of examinees
Examinees of the Authorised Translator’s Examination shall be informed of how the assessment criteria were applied to their performance.
A person failing the examination is entitled to request, as laid down in the Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003), an administrative review of the examination result within 30 days of receiving the decision and of learning how the assessment criteria were applied to his or her performance.
For the consideration of a request for review, the Finnish National Agency for Education shall appoint to the Examination Board of Authorised Translators a temporary member who is an expert in the relevant languages.
Decisions given as a result of requests for review are not subject to appeal.
Section 22 (961/2015)
Decisions of the Examination Board of Authorised Translators on granting or withdrawing authorisation are subject to appeal as laid down in the Administrative Judicial Procedure Act (586/1996).
Decisions of the Finnish National Agency for Education on entry into or removal from the Database on Assessors are subject to an administrative review as laid down in the Administrative Procedure Act. Appeals against the decision given as a result of a request for review may be submitted to an administrative court as laid down in the Administrative Judicial Procedure Act. The decisions of an administrative court are not subject to appeal.
A person who uses the title of ´authorised translator’ in violation of section 18 of this Act, shall be sentenced to a fine for abuse of the title of ´authorised translator’, unless a more severe punishment for such an action is provided elsewhere by law.
A punishment for breach of the secrecy obligation laid down in section 19 of this Act shall be imposed in accordance with chapter 38, section 2, subsection 2 of the Criminal Code (39/1889), unless the action is punishable under chapter 40, section 5 of the Criminal Code or a more severe punishment is provided for it by law outside of chapter 38, section 1 of the Criminal Code.
Entry into force and transitional provisions
Entry into force
This Act enters into force on 1 January 2008.
This Act repeals the Act on Official Translators of 23 December 1988 (1148/1988), as amended.
Measures necessary for the implementation of this Act may be undertaken before its entry into force.
The right to practise as an official translator, granted before entry into force of this Act, shall remain in effect for five years after entry into force of this Act. Official translators shall be subject to this Act. They are not, however, entitled to use the title of ´authorised translator’ laid down in this Act.
A person who, upon entry into force of this Act, is entitled to practise as an official translator shall be granted the right to practise as an authorised translator pursuant to this Act, without having to take the examination and give the affirmation laid down herein, provided that he or she fulfils the criteria laid down in section 2, subsection 1, paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Act. The fixed term of validity of the right, laid down in section 3, shall not be applied to such person, and he or she shall not be charged a fee for the certificate specified in section 4.
The Examination Board of Translators specified in the Act on Official Translators shall continue its work and issue opinions referred to in section 7, subsection 3 of this Act until the establishment of the Examination Board of Authorised Translators set forth in section 11 of this Act is completed.
The list of official translators maintained by the Examination Board of Translators shall be integrated into the Register of Authorised Translators laid down in this Act.
Upon entry into force of this Act, all references elsewhere in legislation to the Act on Official Translators and to the title specified therein shall be understood to refer to this Act and the title specified herein.
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