Translating Justice: UNMIK Partners with UNDP to bridge linguistic barriers in Kosovo courts

2 Jun 2021

Translating Justice: UNMIK Partners with UNDP to bridge linguistic barriers in Kosovo courts

Over the past six years, UNMIK has worked in partnership with local judicial authorities to improve the quality of translation and multilingual services within the Kosovo court system to facilitate equal access to justice for all communities. 

On 29 May 2021, as part of a newly-established UNMIK programmatic activity implemented through the United Nations Development Programme, the first session of the specialized training programme for court translators took place.

This was the first of five scheduled training sessions that will cover specialized areas of translation, including business, agriculture, property, taxation, medicine, and domestic violence. 

Such training will increase ease of communication and judicial decision-making for any party bringing a dispute to the court system, regardless of linguistic barriers.

The trainings will also include the development of a Glossary for the court and prosecution translators and interpreters. The Glossary will harmonize and standardize the legal terminology used in Kosovo courts and prosecution offices.

Ms. Gorani, one of the 30 training participants noted at the 29 May training session, “The specialized terminology which is being elaborated in this training is very beneficial for us as this is an area where we need improvement.” 

Mr. Ciljević, another programme participant, praised the practicality and instruction of the training sessions, saying; “the dynamic, the topics, and the interactions during the training exceeded my expectations.”

Present at the launch of the new programme was Ms. Valentina Sopjani, Head of the Support and Translation Unit at the Kosovo Judicial Council Secretariat and representatives from UNMIK and UNDP.

The development of the new translation Glossary and specialized trainings come weeks after the unveiling of a new translation room at the Basic Court of Pristina. As another UNMIK/UNDP joint project to improve access to justice, the new facilities are equipped with fully trained translators and interpreters.

Representatives of UNMIK at the first training session on 29 May included Mr. Andrea Lako, Senior Judicial Affairs Officer, who noted, “Jointly with UNDP and institutions we continue to support Kosovo justice institutions advance their capacities thereby contributing in improving people's access to justice.” 

“Improving the quality of translation in court and ensuring the implementation of the language rights of Kosovo inhabitants in institutions is essential to ensure access to justice for all and to protect the rights of the community.”