5 September 2016 by Malcolm Fowler
No respect for interpretation
Monidipa Fouzder’s report on interpreting is, as usual, telling in this still neglected field.
My only cavil is to read of Capita’s delivery of interpreting services ever being described as a success. As previously identified, the Ministry of Justice merely parrots Capita’s self-interested and specious claims of improvements.
Speak to those who continue to log serial non-delivery and mediocrity in our courts and they will laugh at you.
Why are those of us who have campaigned so long and hard over this less than surprised that Capita is bowing out?
As identified at a recent Foreign Affairs Committee session by chair John Baron, the importance of an interpreter’s role goes far beyond domestic considerations. A recognition of such an underpinning need as proper interpreting provision at the time of the Iraqi misadventure might at least have mitigated the disaster which then ensued.
Come to that, where brave and principled interpreters have jeopardised their own welfare and even lives in theatres of war such as Iraq, scant regard to their futures has been shown by our government after the event. Without them, military and welfare operations would have been thwarted.
Until interpreters are recognised as fellow professionals, whether here or abroad, through dignified working conditions and adequate remuneration, claims about respecting and catering for the human rights of all will remain hollow. As professional wordsmiths we should be leading on this.
Malcolm Fowler, solicitor and higher advocate, Dennings, Tipton