28 Mar 2012
Lost in translation: Court interpreter travels 564 miles for EIGHT minutes’ work
The Vietnamese linguistics expert left Newcastle at 3am and spent four-and-a-half hours travelling to Ipswich magistrates court
Solicitors hit out at the Ministry of Justice yesterday after a court interpreter travelled 564 miles for eight minutes’ work.
The Vietnamese linguistics expert left Newcastle at 3am on a train and spent four-and-a-half hours travelling to Ipswich magistrates court.
The defendant’s previous translator did not turn up four times before.
Neil Saunders, the defence lawyer in the case, said: “People are not being represented. They do not know what is going on in an alien environment.
"In my experience, the system is unreliable as interpreters don’t turn up.”
His claims were backed by a survey of 400 lawyers by legal training firm CrimeLine, which found 56% of translators fail to turn up at court.
It is claimed many mistakes came after Applied Language Solutions took on the MoJ’s court interpreter contract in January, saving £18million a year.
The MoJ said: “Most appointments are met. We are monitoring this.”