18 February 2015
Making sense of translation
Looking at the raw figures for money spent on translation services in Sheffield over three years, the cost looks significant.
However, before we cry foul it is worth breaking down the numbers.
The figures show more than £555,000 was spent by the authority on face-to-face and telephone interpretation. Documents were also translated into 44 different languages between 2011 and 2014, at a cost of more than £131,785.
Face-to-face and telephone calls, which make up the vast majority of the total expenditure, all require paying for someone’s time. Experts by their very nature are expensive but should be used so the job gets done right first time.
There will be many that say the money could be spent on other things. True, it could.
But Sheffield is a large multicultural city and these sort of services are necessary.
Of course, newcomers to Sheffield, and the country in general, should be encouraged to learn the language as quickly as possible. Not only does it speed up a sense of belonging but it also helps with day-to-day matters.
The question of translation services can be used as a political football.
Costs must always be kept to a minimum but the job still needs to be done.