Thursday, 8 September 2011

Unite campaign backs public service interpreting
Thursday 08 September 2011 by Catherine Baksi

Unite campaign backs public service interpreting
Trade union Unite is to launch a campaign to support public service interpreting and ensure that properly trained translators are used by criminal justice agencies.
The campaign, Speak Up, Speak Out, follows the decision by the Ministry of Justice in July to contract with a single commercial agency, Applied Language Solutions, to provide translation and interpretation services to criminal justice agencies, dispensing with the requirement for registration with the Register of Public Service Interpreters and its sign language equivalent.
To date, public bodies such as the courts and police have contacted interpreters directly using the national register, which only lists qualified and security-vetted professionals.
Interpreting unions including NUPIT, the translators and interpreters branch of Unite, fear the government’s new arrangements will reduce the quality of services and harm the interests of those engaging with the criminal justice system.
Their campaign will seek to persuade the government to retain the national register and ensure a properly regulated public interpreting service.
An MoJ spokesman said: ‘We currently spend in the region of £60m a year on interpretation and translation services. This new framework will substantially cut that bill, by reducing inefficiencies, while still ensuring high quality interpreters and translators are available to those in need.’
Applied Language Solutions has previously pointed out that all work is done by appropriately qualified interpreters.

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