From the new agreements: New rules on interpretation

Published by Efling on

Half of the Efling membership is from abroad. They often work under the management of Icelanders who prefer to speak with staff in Icelandic.

“We have seen how very important information gets communicated to staff in a language they simply don’t understand,” says Viðar Þorsteinsson, managing director of Efling.

“This winter we attended a staff meeting where a high-level manager announced a mass layoff in Icelandic, which nearly everyone in the room didn’t understand. The information had to slowly seep out from the people who understood more or less what was going on. It was an astonishing thing to witness.”

Events like these underline the importance of professional interpretation in workplaces, especially when it comes to communicating important announcements. In the new collective agreements with SA, a new clause was added which amends this:

“When important information must be communicated to employees, such as on matters of safety, methods of work, changes in the workplace or affairs of individual employees, the employer shall seek to have interpretation available for those staff members who need it.”

Addition to chapter 7 of the collective agreement between SGS and SA

This is important, also to lessen the burden on bilingual staff. “We can’t have it happen that regular staff are made responsible for disseminating this kind of information,” says Viðar. “Not just because it’s unpaid extra work, but also because they are then put in the position of being responsible if there are problems with the interpretation.”