Technical Translation, Language Translation & Interpreting Services, or “What’s That?…Do You Copy?”

Earlier we’ve blogged about technical translation services in the context of registering an imported aircraft.  Aviation is clearly one of the areas where being lost in translation can become hazardous – if not deadly, and where professional language translation and interpreter services play an important role. As each country has its own air control center – with each adopting its own system for flight mandates made in their native language – a non-native speaker preparing to land in a foreign airspace can quickly become confused. When this happens, accidents follow.

To remedy this situation, many air transportation governing bodies (such as the FAA in the U.S. and EUROCONTROL in the European Union) are adopting universal mandates, sometimes referred to as Flight Message Transfer Protocol. The purpose behind such mandates is to ensure that a message, regardless of language, can be efficiently transferred between ATC (Air Traffic Control) and the pilot.   

For example, in 2007 the Commission of the European Union adopted Regulation 633/2007. According to the regulation, an E.U.-wide transfer protocol will be adopted for the purpose of notification, coordination and transfer of flights between national ATC units. What this means for the practitioner is, when setting a client up with either a private business jet or a charter operation, it is essential that the mechanics needed to satisfy this regulation are in place. Often this means utilizing a professional foreign language translation company to provide foreign language translations of the ATC mandate and other documents, and even provide language interpreting services for the pilot.  

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Corporate Counsel and Litigation Departments