• Sweden edition
 
Interpreter loses license for poor Swedish skills
Photo: Jessica Reilly/AP/Scanpix (file)

Interpreter loses license for poor Swedish skills

Published: 22 Jul 2010 14:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Jul 2010 14:54 GMT+02:00

The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (Kammarkollegiet) has stripped an interpreter of his license after learning he had misinterpreted during a murder trial due to his poor Swedish skills.

The agency is the oldest public authority in Sweden, established in 1539 by Gustav Vasa. It is the public body that authorises interpreters and translators, among its other current functions.

In addition to making mistakes in Southern Kurdish and Swedish, the man, who lives in Kista northwest of Stockholm, also omitted information and made his own additions.

"The notifier believes that [the man] has a 'catastrophic lack of knowledge in Swedish and also in the interpreted language,'" the agency wrote. "During the first five days of proceedings, the notifier cited detailed examples of the inaccuracies he or she felt [the man] made in his interpretations."

Southern Kurdish is spoken by about 3 million people along the Iran-Iraq border. The man has a long track record of translation and interpretation assignments and has taught legal interpreters.

The man received his authorisation to interpret in Southern Kurdish and Swedish in May 2004 from the agency. In June 2006, he also received a certificate of special competence as a legal interpreter.

The agency received an anonymous notice at the end of September questioning his language skills in Swedish and Southern Kurdish, as well as his abilities as a certified interpreter.

The man had interpreted during the trial at Norrköping district court earlier in the month. Digital voice recordings of the proceedings pertaining to the man, who interpreted the majority of the material for the accused woman, amounted to about five hours.

The types of errors raised in the notification included several examples of significantly altered misinterpretations, major gaps in idioms, syntax, morphology and semantics in both languages and lack of terminology.

Other observations were that the interpreter answered on the defendant's behalf and consistently mixed in Swedish words. There were also omissions, incomprehensible Swedish phrases, reflecting his own values, misunderstandings and significant slips.

An authorized Swedish-Southern Kurdish translator, the assessor of the agency's translator test, assessed his skills based on five recorded interrogations with the accused.

"Since the accused understands Swedish, [the man] interpreted mostly from Southern Kurdish into Swedish," the agency wrote.

The assessor judged he is not very idiomatic in Swedish, has a "fairly limited" vocabulary and lacks nuance with language. In general, there were also numerous wrong sentence structures and tenses. He also failed on numerous occasions to reflect core information, with 30 citations.

The man did not interpret on October 1st, the last day of the hearing, claiming he had to attend a funeral. The investigation later learned that he had interpreted at Svea Court of Appeal that day instead from 9:30am to 5pm.

The man was the first to computerize the Kurdish alphabet and established a Kurdish publishing house in Stockholm in 1986. He has also written four Kurdish children's books, translated two Astrid Lindgren books into Kurdish and published a Kurdish children's newspaper.

In addition, he has published a Kurdish-Swedish dictionary for legal and social terms and worked as a language tutor at the ABF, where he taught legal interpreters.

He also claimed Stockholm University's interpretation and translation institute chose him to lead a project for translating terms for an interpreter glossary and the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration asked him to assess their Norwegian-Kurdish translation test.

The man has admitted interpretation discrepancies in Norrköping, blaming them on his father's death in the summer and serious family problems. He had cancelled work appointments from August 10th to 30th to return to his homeland and attend the funeral.

The man added the Kurdish language is not as developed as Swedish and lacks direct translations for certains terms. Moreover, Southern Kurdish interpreter, one is forced to use Arabic, Persian and Swedish words depending education levels and social class, he said.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

18:07 July 23, 2010 by The Baldchemist
I'm not at all surprised. Interpretation work is difficult at the best of times. While we are on that theme, I'm really amazed at some of the English translations from organisations claiming business expertise and running companies selling English language teaching .

I can't name them here but one well established "institute" used "and" 6 times in one sentence that would have easily broken down into three paragraphs.

Not that I'm perfect but then again I'm not selling my services as an expert teacher.

Bloody good job Sweden doesn't have the death sentence! This poor bugger would have fried!
22:04 July 23, 2010 by Anon 1:50
What?

Requiring skills in a language that you are paid to translate?

Whatever next? Requiring doctors to know what bits to cut out?

Madness! [/sarc]
Today's headlines
Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden
Michael Boatwright (R) and Medieval knight re-enactors.

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden

The "motel mystery" American who baffled US authorities by only speaking Swedish when he woke up from a coma last year has passed away, Swedish media reported on Wednesday. READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

UPDATED: Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. READ () »

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop
TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind. File photo: TT

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop

Stockholm-listed telecom operator TeliaSonera on Wednesday said profits had fallen in the first quarter, but hoped offering customers more data solutions in the future would turn things around. READ () »

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'
Fredrik Reinfeldt. File photo: TT

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday urged young voters to head to the European parliamentary polls on May 25th "to cure the European disease of nationalism". READ () »

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg at the first quarter press conference. Photo: TT

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson on Wednesday announced a drop in sales but posted a sharp rise in first-quarter profit, which nonetheless fell shy of analyst predictions. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping brawl
Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals

Swedish police fear that several people involved in a brawl in eastern Sweden on Monday night may be seeking revenge after two brothers were shot dead. READ () »

Sponsored Article
Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden
The town of Västervik.

Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden

Ask a Swede, and they are likely to say that their favourite holiday spot is in the southeast of Sweden. Eastern Småland and Öland offer a smörgåsbord of all the things dearest to the Swedes - from the beloved children's book author Astrid Lindgren to deep forests, long sandy beaches, perfect spots for that all-important 'fika', and a surprising amount of space, peace and quiet. READ () »

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth
Swedes enjoy hot dogs and cherry blossoms in Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth

The sun is set to stick around and temperatures could climb into the twenties over the weekend, Swedish meteorologists said on Wednesday READ () »

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

A 21-year-old man confessed on Wednesday to sex crimes against eight children at a day care where he was working as an intern. READ () »

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles
An unrelated bodybuilder. File photo: Ann Törnkvist

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles

Police in Sweden's south who hauled a muscular man in for steroid testing have had their knuckles rapped, after it was ruled that big biceps cannot be grounds for narcotics suspicions. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Advertisement:
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

718
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com