We need to find practical solutions for people we are helping so that they are able to break the language barrier, says Rafał Kania, attorney-at-law with Sendero Tax & Legal.
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have fled to Poland. Now they have to deal with plenty of official business, but have difficulties with Polish or no command of the language at all. Do their applications or other filings have to be written in Polish?
That’s the requirement. We have the Polish Language Act which prescribes that any official or court business must proceed in Polish. There’s no escaping that. So any important document written in Ukrainian will have to be translated into Polish for procedural purposes. This is bound to create problems. Already as we speak the wait time for a Ukrainian to Polish translation is at least a dozen or so days. And the cost is sometimes substantial, too.
Isn’t it sufficient for a Ukrainian to undersign what someone else has written in Polish for them?
I think this will have to be the way to go. Crucially, the drafter must be someone the Ukrainian can trust. They must be sure that what is written is what they intended. In a broader context, we will need to find practical solutions for people we are helping so that they are able to break the language barrier, at least initially. Local authorities, particularly at the lowest level, must be proactive about this because it seems it is them that will have to bear the main burden of helping. Advice centres staffed with Ukrainian emigrees seem to be the simplest solution. We have a whole lot of students with Ukrainian roots. We also have Ukrainians with excellent education who work in Poland below their qualifications but speak good Polish.
For the full interview with Rafał Kania, see Rzeczpospolita on-line.