Outsourcing forces untrained translators on courts, campaigners say

"The Ministry of Justice might say these are teething problems, but we say they are terminal", says Interpreters for Justice.
"The Ministry of Justice might say these are teething problems, but we say they are terminal", says Interpreters for Justice.

By Oliver Hotham

The Ministry of Justice's decision to outsource public service interpreting is leading to unqualified people being used as interpreters in court, campaigners said today.

Interpreters for Justice claimed the court system was being thrown into chaos by the decision to outsource translation services to Applied Language Solutions (ALS).

It has highlighted research suggesting 90% of legal interpreters are not signed up to the Ministry of Jutice's outsourced program.


"ALS is saying they have 3,000 interpreters on their register, but when nine in ten of professional interpreters who replied to our survey say they are refusing to sign up, this does not stack up," said spokesman Geoffrey Buckingham.

"The result is that people without training, qualifications or legal experience are being used to interpret in court which is creating chaos and higher costs.

"The Ministry of Justice might say these are teething problems, but we say they are terminal."

Members of the legal profession are being urged to provide evidence of the problems the policy is creating by completing an online survey.

Interpreters for Justice says it has already compiled evidence of over 150 court cases being adjourned or cancelled due to a ALS interpreter.
 

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