Historically, Denmark police, courts, and other government entities have relied upon a pre-approved list of qualified translators for their Danish language translations. Whether they needed Danish to English translations or a live Russian to Danish interpreter, they could generally find someone to get the job done accurately. However, thanks to a new system set in place this year by the Danish National Police, Danish document translations and interpreter services could be in jeopardy. 

The New Danish Translation System

In April, the Danish National Police implemented a new system allowing contractors to make bids to be the court’s sole translation service provider. This decision was welcomed by some in the government as a cost-saving measure, but the court’s existing group of approved translators did not show the same enthusiasm. In fact, more than 680 expert linguists are preparing to establish an association to protect their rights and protest the court’s new translation system.

Despite the opposition, the Danish National Police moved forward with their initiative earlier this year. Ultimately, EasyTranslate, a København-based translation company, won the government contract. Though EasyTranslate has interpreters throughout the world and has worked with some top companies and organizations, there are a number of reasons that most of Denmark’s best translators are less than thrilled with the change. 

Low Commission Rates for Danish Translations

First and foremost, EasyTranslate’s commission rates are significantly lower than the standard translation rates in Denmark. One disgruntled interpreter claimed that the rates were between “15 and as much as 60” percent lower. Many of Denmark’s interpreters and expert translators are refusing EasyTranslate’s low commissions on principle. They hope that the Danish government will see the error of its ways and return to the old method: an approved list of expert linguists, without any intermediary company involvement.

While Danish to English and English to Danish translations are relatively common in Denmark’s court system, other translations to and from Danish are not as common. As a result, these court documents and proceedings require experienced linguists with expertise in highly-specific (and often rare) languages. As it turned out, EasyTranslate was not always up to the task.

EasyTranslate’s Gaffs and Mistranslations

In one court case involving three eastern European shoplifters, EasyTranslate provided a Danish to Russian translator and a Russian to Georgian translator, one of whom had to be flown in from Norway. EasyTranslate has had difficulty sourcing quality translation experts, due in part to their low pay rates. Following their conviction, the three Georgian defendants argued that their rights had been violated and that their convictions should be overturned. 

According to the European Convention on Human Rights, foreign nationals must be provided with accurate document translations and court interpreters in their native language. However, due to the opposition to EasyTranslate’s contract, they were unable to find experts in the Georgian language at the start of the trial. When a Georgian interpreter was flown in, the Georgian translations were riddled with errors. Additionally, the in-court interpreters were unable to provide the defendants with accurate Georgian translations during the proceedings.

Denmark’s high court denied the appeal to overturn the convictions, but the Danish National Police apologized for the poor translations. The lawyers of the defendants saw this as an empty gesture that did not make up for the “terrible” document translations and inept court interpreters. Additionally, the group of translators in opposition to EasyTranslate sees this as an opportunity to promote high-quality translation services over cost-cutting measures.

The Importance of High-Quality Translations

It remains to be seen if EasyTranslate will make changes to ensure high-quality translations in the future. Alternatively, the Danish National Police force may choose to end its contract and find another translation service provider, or even return to its previous system. In any case, the future of translation services in the country of Denmark remains uncertain.

This case highlights the importance of quality translations in any language. Justice depends on information being shared quickly and accurately. When this information needs to be translated from Danish to English, Portuguese to Russian, or any language in between, it must be accurate. Without precise document translations and experienced interpreters, defendants and victims of crimes could be negatively impacted for life.

Danish Translations with ITC

Here at the International Translating Company, we implement a tried-and-true approach to document and web content translation to ensure that you don’t experience injustice or PR nightmares. Rather than searching for translators at the last minute or worse, using a machine translation, we employ hundreds of dual-native linguists who are certified in their field and ready to take on projects whenever they are needed.

What exactly does this mean? It means that if you need Danish to English translations, English to Danish translations, or any number of language combinations, we have a certified linguist who is a native speaker of both languages to handle the job.

The process doesn’t stop there, though. Every translation project has a dedicated team to double-check the quality of the translation and comb-through every last word or phrase. At the International Translation Company, we leave no stone unturned.

You may be asking yourself: what about the cost? And how long will the translation process take? Thankfully, we offer competitive prices and speedy turnarounds. Additionally, our interpreters and translators are fluent in localized Danish dialects, so we can handle even the most specific of requirements.

While the rate and length of the translation process will vary by project, we always make sure that the client comes first. Providing high-quality translations for just about any budget and timeframe is our guarantee! Do you need a professional Danish translation by dual-native linguists? Contact us to get a quote today!