AVTE was approached by Jorge Díaz-Cintas, and Wayne Garb, representing Ooona, a commercial media localization platform, regarding their AVTPro Certification initiative. The aim of this project is to provide audiovisual translation and localization companies with a standardized certificate that guarantees professionalism and quality, and help to minimize unqualified practices. For the companies involved, it would mean saving time, effort and money in designing and implementing their own translation tests, while for freelancers it would be an investment to prove their value and avoid having to take several tests every time they approach a different client.
While AVTE sees the value of a certificate and wishes for it to succeed, its board members and a specific task force – composed of representatives from the countries Díaz-Cintas asked to participate – have decided to cease their involvement at the moment, as the certification plans currently do not align with the standards previously agreed upon and those advocated by AVTE.
One of our main reservations is that some of the main sponsors of the AVTPro certification are companies that consistently seek to exploit audiovisual translators by offering low rates and misusing machine translation, amongst other malpractices. Since the goal of AVTE and all of its member organizations is to defend fair working conditions for audiovisual translators across Europe, we could not in good faith back a project that could potentially be tailored to benefit disreputable middlemen companies, whilst not guaranteeing any improvement of audiovisual translators’ working conditions.
Over the last few months, AVTE has taken part in a series of discussions and meetings on this project with Jorge Díaz-Cintas and Wayne Garb. During these discussions, AVTE representatives repeatedly presented their views to them, and did everything they could to contribute constructively to this project.
We remain open to further participation in the future, but for AVTE to be involved in an audiovisual translation certification, the end goal of such certification would need to be much more in alignment with the objectives of AVTE:
- AVTPro, with the help of AVTE, should strive to guarantee that translators who have passed the certification(s) will be offered better working conditions by the companies requiring such certification;
- AVTPro should not associate itself with practices such as ultra-low fees, unacceptable deadlines and trampling authors’ rights;
- AVTPro and Ooona must allow meetings with the final sponsor companies to open a path for direct communication and negotiation;
- AVTPro and Ooona must provide total transparency about how the independent board that Ooona has set up to run the certification process operates.
At the moment, this does not seem to be the case, and that is why we cannot become part of the project as it is.