Last week, I did an interview for Channel 4 News on something I have raised in the last two parliaments, the outsourcing of Translation and Interpretation Services. The interview will appear on the program sometime this week. Last October, I got an adjournment debate to discuss the outsourcing of Translation work. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2011-10-10a.154.0 I have also blogged about the issue a couple of times, here. http://johnleechmp.wordpress.com/tag/interpreters/
The last Labour government decided that it would be wise to outsource the interpreting services for the police in the North West. This led to unqualified interpreters being used and a steep drop off in standards. I opposed this move in parliament.
Sadly, the current government is making the same mistake.
It has outsourced all Ministry of Justice interpreting work, which includes work in court cases. A company called Applied Language Solutions (ALS) will be responsible for finding and paying the interpreters but the vast majority of fully qualified and experienced interpreters on the National Register of Public Sector Interpreters have refused to work for ALS due to the pay and conditions they are being offered.
So we are now faced with a shortage of available interpreters, and many of the ones available are not capable of handling the complex and demanding work.
I care about this issue because everyone deserves justice. Imagine how you would feel if you were on trial in a foreign country and you couldn’t make your defence because no one could be found who could interpret English correctly for you.