Following complaint by Gisha, Status of closure authorizations document is properly translated into Arabic
Following a complaint lodged by Gisha, COGAT removes faulty translation of “Status of closure authorizations” document and translates it again from Hebrew to Arabic
The Status of closure authorizations document, or in its full name, Unclassified Status of Palestinians’ Authorizations of Entry into Israel, their Passage between Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip and their Travel Abroad (last updated November 11, 2016, available in Hebrew) is the only document that contains the stringent criteria for travel out of Gaza to Israel, the West Bank and abroad (the criteria mostly pertain to exceptional humanitarian needs, such as travel to attend a funeral or wedding, visit a sick relative, and the like).
The Status of closure authorizations document is the most important and most relevant source of information about Israel’s civilian policy vis-à-vis Gaza residents. It must be available to Gaza residents in their own language.
On August 24, 2016, Gisha lodged a serious complaint with the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) due to a faulty, and embarrassing, translation of the Status of closure authorizations document into Arabic.
The poor translation of the document, which brought to mind a Google Translate translation, resulted in serious and ridiculous mistakes. For instance, the word “instructing” in the phrase “the order instructing” was translated into Arabic as “teacher”, and the word “approved” was translated as “happy”, and these are just two examples out of many.
The poor translation is particularly aggravating given the amount of time COGAT was granted to translate the document into Arabic, and given its pledges to Gisha and to the court that the translation was being done by a “professional external company”, and reviewed by professionals at COGAT (for instance, in AP 68189-12-14 Gisha v. Civil Administration in the West Bank).
On October 6, 2016, COGAT responded to the complaint, informing Gisha that a review they had held revealed deficiencies in the translation of the document and that the employee responsible had been terminated. COGAT also informed Gisha that following the complaint, the document was translated into Arabic once again and posted on the COGAT temporary website (Arabic).
A quick review indicated the new translation is accurate.