150 years ago on 25 March 1869, Notification No. 277 issued on the same day by the Hungarian Royal Ministry of the Interior to all the municipalities appeared in the Collection of Orders Issued in Hungary to announce the establishment of a central translation department at the Royal Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office and that “the translations are to be made for remuneration”. We can learn from the order written in beautiful handwriting and found in the Hungarian National Archives that József Ferencz, a highly respected professor of philology at the University of Pest, was appointed as the head of the Central Translation Department. The professor spoke several languages (Hungarian, Latin, Italian, Wallachian, French, English, German, Dutch, Old Bulgarian, New Bulgarian, Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Russian, Polish), and was not only an excellent expert, but also able to understand the complexities of the Austro- Hungarian Monarchy’s public administration.
During the first 80 years, the tasks carried out in the National Translation Department were funded by the national budget. Following the Second World War, a separate institution was formed when the Hungarian Office for Translation and Attestation (OFFI) was established under the supervision of the Minister of Justice. OFFI was transformed into a state-owned company in 1994 and since then the standards regulating its organisation, operation and fees have no longer been prescribed by law but by internal rules approved also by the authority exercising the ownership rights. Since 2006, state translation services have been provided by OFFI as a fully state-owned private company limited by shares.
As the CEO of OFFI Ltd. since 2015, I believe that tradition and modernity can be in perfect harmony. We can build on our 19 th century legacy of public and linguistic services; however, even a state organisation with 150 years of professional tradition has to react efficiently to the modern challenges of the 21 st century such as globalisation, digitalisation or technological development. The Hungarian Office for Translation and Attestation Ltd. is a state-founded company, which provides a wide range of national public services (e.g. certified translations, translating legislation, courtroom interpreting, linguistic consultation in the field of transliteration of names, etc.) and, as a result of its translation activities strictly regulated by law, issues authentic public documents with full force and effect. We carry out our duties keeping in mind all these responsibilities and in compliance with the professional standards of ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 17100:2015.
In 2019 – within the context of the jubilee year – we organise a number of events in order to honour the achievements of our predecessors, while we also continue to carry out our core tasks with utmost care and attention, within a highly professional national network of offices and customer service points, supported by trainings, as well as the introduction of digital and e-technologies. I invite you to get acquainted with the 150-year-old state translation services and to find out by browsing through our website which jubilee events, programmes and trainings are the most attractive to you.
Thank you for your kind interest in our series of events entitled “150 Years of State Translation Services in Hungary”.
Dr Gabriella Németh LL.M