Internationals unable to understand council meetings
Three of the four student parties in the university council brought the issue to light. More than 20 percent of the current council members are internationals, but important documents are still only available in Dutch, says Eoin Raftery with Lijst Calimero.
None of the documents for this week’s Thursday meeting, when important financial topics like the institutional budget will be discussed, are available in English. The internationals themselves are tasked with running the documents through free translation engines, says Raftery, which often results in incorrect translations.
This means the international council members spend more time preparing for meetings than their Dutch counterparts. More than once, the internationals ask questions about what certain things in the documents mean. A proper translation would prevent time being wasted on this.
‘All of us are making concerted efforts to learn Dutch, however, the technical nature of the documents in question means that a translation is completely necessary’, says Raftery.
The issue concerning the translation of council documents has been ongoing for years. In 2017, the board of directors promised that by 2021 at the latest, all university council documents would be published only in English.
Lijst Calimero, together with De Vrije Student and DAG, appreciates the board’s intentions but emphasises that the time to act is now.
‘We respect our Dutch colleagues’ right to speak their native language, and we always want this to be protected. However, we are part of this academic community too and we have a right to participate. It is clear this can only happen when we have a language policy that is balanced, fair and consistently applied.’