Trial collapses after interpreter translates 'beaten' as 'bitten'
A burglary trial has collapsed after an interpreter mistakenly translated ‘beaten’ as ‘bitten’, in the latest embarrassment for the court service’s privatised translation system.
At a hearing in Snaresbrook Crown Court, London, a Romanian defendant said he had been beaten by one of the alleged victims, but the interpreter said “bitten”. The judge ordered a retrial, which could cost £25.000.
The mistake was made by an interpreter from Applied Language Solutions, which was awarded a contract last year as the service was privatised.
Dhaneshwar Sharma, a defence solicitor, said the interpreter told the court she realised she had made a mistake but had kept quiet about it.
The Professional Interpreters’ Alliance estimated 60 per cent of its members boycotted court work because of poor working conditions. The Daily Telegraph had reported that solicitors had sharply criticised the translation service.
Under the contract interpreter receive hourly fees and reduced expenses as part of plans to cut the annual £60 million translation bill by a third.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “We have asked the contractor to take urgent steps to improve performance.”
Applied Language Solutions said it would investigate any complaints.
The Daily Telegraph, 16th April 2012