Joint KWF, UST nat’l confab sounds the alarm on translators’ welfare

Around 200 local and international translators and educators gathered for Mga Dalumat at Realidad ng Pagsasalin: Pambansang Kumperensiya ng mga Tagasalin sa Pilipinas held last September 27-29 at the St. John Paul II Building, University of Santo Tomas (UST) Hospital.

The three-day hybrid conference, organized by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) in cooperation with UST College of Education’s Departamento ng Filipino and UST Sentro sa Salin at Aralin Salin (UST SSAS), brought to light concerns on translators’ welfare and professionalization of translation practice.

UST Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Dr. Cheryl Peralta and KWF Chairman Dr. Arthur P. Casanova led the opening ceremony with a reminder that translation fortifies diplomacy and cultural exchanges.

Dr. Tereso Tullao looked back on the role of translation in writing the very first Economics textbook and glossary. Meanwhile, Dr. Josephine Barrios-Le Blanc and Dr. Raquel Sison-Buban revealed unreasonable compensation to most translators in the United States and the Philippines, as well as concerns in accreditation and translation ethics.

Subject-matter experts shared insights on their years of experience. The panelists include court interpreter Ms. Ma. Cristina Carmela Japzon, from Branch 15 of the Regional Trial Court Manila and President of the Philippine Association of Court Employees-Manila; Lexcode Inc. director Ms. Christine Ignacio, who lectured from Canada; Propesyunal na Asosasyon ng mga Tagapagtaguyod ng Salin (PATAS) National Committee member Dr. Emmanuel Gonzales; and KWF commissioner on the Languages of Northern Cultural Communities Dr. Jimmy Fong.

KWF commissioner on Cebuano Language Dr. Hope S. Yu mentioned the possibilities of translating one word into a myriad of equivalences.

To continue the panel discussions, heads of government agencies presented their programs that focused on translation. The panelists include KWF Sangay ng Salin chief and conference director Mr. John Enrico Torralba, Department of Education (DepEd) Bureau of Learning Delivery-Teaching and Learning Division program specialist Gaudencio Serrano, and National Commission for Culture and the Arts-National Committee on Language and Translation (NCCA-NCLT) head Dr. David Michael San Juan.

Serrano expounded on E-Salin: Pagsasalin sa Filipino, under DepEd’s E-Taguyod, a national program on Filipino for Basic Education, while Torralba and San Juan enumerated the seminars, fora, and grants of KWF and NCCA-NCLT, respectively.

The third panel saw lectures on programs by various university centers on language and translation. UST SSAS chief Dr. Wennielyn Fajilan, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila (PUP) Sentro ng Pagsasalin head Dr. Jenalyn Lai, and UP Diliman (UPD) Sentro ng Wikang Filipino director Dr. Jayson Petras presented the conception of their center, their publications, and collaborations.

Leaders of language and translation organizations recounted their programs on training and organizing translators in the country. The panelists include Filipinas Institute of Translation director Dr. Romulo P. Baquiran Jr., Filipino Sign Language (FSL) National Network founder Dr. Liza Martinez, and Kasalin Network-Visayas head Dr. Lita Bacalla.

Baquiran enumerated the national and international seminars and contests that his group has been organizing for years. Martinez pointed out that FSL, like any other languages, have variants depending on the region. Lastly, Bacalla related in Waray that happiness and fulfillment are few key elements in overcoming the burdens of translating and organizing translators.

The second day ended with focus group discussions gathering insights from participants on the skills training and accreditation of translators, protection of the rights and welfare of translators, development of registry and network of translators, and promoting a bill for the professionalization of translation.

Outputs presented on the last day revealed experiences on the ground and the need for organizing and legislation.

Sessions can be viewed on the Facebook pages of KWF and UST SSAS.

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