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Monday, April 2, 2012


Court Chaos as interpreter service goes private

Channel 4 News reveals evidence of failings inside Britain's privatised court interpretation services. As Darshna Soni reports there are claims unqualified translators are covering criminal cases.

For video click here

Every single day, in courts across the country, professional interpreters help to translate proceedings for defendants, witnesses and victims. They take pride in their work - or at least, they used to.
At the beginning of February, the Ministry of Justice privatised the system of booking interpreters across the criminal justice system. It awarded a lucrative contract, worth £300m, to a relatively small company from Oldham called Applied Language Solutions (ALS). The contract was supposed to save £18m a year - but critics say it is already costing that much.
Professional interpreters say Britain's reputation as having the fairest legal system in the world is being undermined by privatisation. ALS have cut the rates of pay offered to professional interpreters, and as a result many are boycotting the company. It's claimed that as a result, the company is struggling to recruit enough translators.
Desperate measures
We've travelled to courts across the country and heard of cases having to be adjourned and even dismissed every single day, when ALS interpreters fail to turn up. Many court clerks have told us they aren't even given notice.
In some cases, the clerks have to resort to desperate measures. "The clerk had to go online and use Google translate to explain the bail conditions because the ALS interpreter didn't turn up. That's just not right."
For complete article, click here

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