News / 23.01.2013

Audiovisual translators appeal to broadcasters to use fair subcontractors


The petition signed by 301 audio-visual translators and sent to domestic television broadcasters, calls on them to take into consideration when commissioning their work, a translation firm which operates ethically, treats its workers fairly and is committed to abide by minimum working conditions agreement in the sector, as well as providing translators with possibilities to do their work professionally.

The signatories of the petition include MTV Media’s audio-visual translators who were outsourced to Broadcast Text International (BTI) and subsequently voluntarily resigned in October. Also among the signatories are freelance translators of BTI and SDI Media as well as audio-visual translators of Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE). Overall, the signatories practically involve the whole of Finland’s audio-visual translation sector.

The united front of the audio-visual translators has been achieved by the fact that translation agencies have been facing difficulties attracting sufficient professional translators to do work for their clients. For instance, a large portion of the BTI translators, about 50 professional translators have refused to accept work from the company until the situation significantly improves.

The Union of Journalists in Finland (UJF) and Translation Industry Professionals (KAJ) representing the audio-visual translators, tried to bring BTI to the negotiation table in the autumn in order to resolve the working conditions of freelance and permanent translators. But the gulf between them was so wide that negotiations could not be held.

As a result, the union placed overtime embargo on BTI on November 20, forbidding workers to do overtime work for the company.

BTI International is also under recruitment embargo; translators have been urged to turn down job offers from the company. Since then unions have begun a collective bargaining agreement negotiations with the second biggest translation firm, SDI International. Also efforts are being made to still bring BTI into the fold.

The unprecedented broad united front of the translators is now seeking to secure a comprehensive collective bargaining agreement for the whole audio-visual translation sector. At the moment only freelance translators of YLE are under a form of collective agreement while the only company adhering to the condition of service agreement of the translation sector is Pre-Text OY. The rest of the companies in the sector are operating in the Wild West dictating their conditions to translators who have been compelled to become entrepreneurs.

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