17 April 2012
Court trial lost in translation
A BURGLARY trial has collapsed after a mistake by an interpreter supplied by Delph firm Applied Language Solutions (ALS).
The jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court in London was dismissed on Friday when a Romanian defendant said the claimant had “beaten” them, but the translator said “bitten”.
The judge has ordered a retrial, which could cost £25,000.
Defence solicitor Dhaneshwar Sharma said the mistake was only discovered when the prosecution questioned the defendant.
“The interpreter knew she had made the mistake on Tuesday but kept quiet about it,” he said.
“Had she held her hand up and said ‘can I seek a point of clarification?’ I am sure it would have been accepted.”
It is the latest controversy surrounding the company, based at Riverside Court, Huddersfield Road, since it began a multi-million contract in February to provide translators to all courts in England and Wales.
Experienced translators have refused to work for ALS because of poor standards A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “There have been an unacceptable number of problems in the first weeks of the contract and we have asked the contractor to take urgent steps to improve performance.”