The value and worth of professional translation organisations are proven by the unmitigated success of the Association of Hungarian Translation Companies.
The value of professional organisations cannot be overstated, I don’t think. In the legal translation world, as in any other professional world, there are those who think that professional organisations cause more trouble than they’re worth because they meddle and insist on standards or policies that you as an individual disagree with. That’s a silly attitude – certainly if you fundamentally disagree with the overall platform of an organisation, don’t be involved with it. But if you disagree with a few relatively small points, make your voice heard, accept the decision of the body as a whole, and continue to work to improve the organisation as you see fit.
Because these professional organisations have a tremendously positive impact on our industry, in terms of both improving the standards towards which we all work, and improving the overall standards of document translation work in a region or country. For the ideal example of how a professional organisation can make the translation services world a better place, I offer up the Association of Hungarian Translation Companies (in Hungarian, Magyarországi Fordítóirodák Egyesületének [MFE]).
The MFE and Translators
Formed in 1994, the MFE has become one of the most respected translation organisations in the world by dint of constant effort to improve the status and standards of the translators it represents. One huge way it has improved the business of translation is in establishing a codified list of professional guidelines for its membership, guidelines that include a Code of Conduct with a clear code of ethics to be followed, standard Terms and Conditions, standard pricing guidelines, and conflict resolution mechanisms, among many other brilliant inclusions.
Having these sorts of standard guidelines and policies is incredibly helpful, as it puts everyone on a level playing field and encourages translators to aspire to ever-higher standards of professional conduct. MFE has been incredibly successful in raising the reputation of all Hungarian translation professionals as a result, showing the true power of an organisation.
The MFE and the Market
The MFE has also had a positive impact on the market itself within Hungary. The MFE has vigorously and successfully petitioned the courts in Hungary to alter the way that translations are accredited, and worked tirelessly to improve relationships with foreign governments and markets in order to have Hungarian translation work more readily accepted around the globe – and sought after.
The combination of high professional standards and an active organisation that advocates in a realistic, sensible way for its members and its industry has been dramatic. The MFE single-handedly proves the value of a well-run and energetic organisation, leading me to wonder if the people who disdain organisations like it are doing so out of ignorance, because the local organisations they belong to are not nearly so well run or effective.
Image courtesy blog.wimdu.com