2nd October 2012
Report slams court translation contract
A translation contract that caused “courtroom chaos” has been condemned in a Government report.
The National Audit Office (NAO) said the privatisation of court interpreters, awarded to Applied Language Solutions (ALS), was “wholly inadequate”. It comes after a string of problems, including the halting of a murder trial at Winchester Crown Court in July.
As revealed by the Daily Echo, the judge , Mr Justice Barnett, temporarily stopped the trial when a man turned up to translate because his wife – the real interpreter – was busy elsewhere. He wrongly translated a number of key words and phrases. Investigations found he was not qualified or registered with ALS.
The NAO report said the Ministry of Justice had underestimated the risks involved with granting the monopoly, as well as objections from within the industry and failing to check whether the company had enough qualified staff on its books.
The Ministry of Justice accepted there had been problems at the start of the contract, but insisted there had since been an improvement.