27 October 2017
Council officials translating in 60 different languages in Leicester
Council officials in Leicester were asked to translate documents and interviews into 60 different languages last year, the authority has said.
A report by Leicester City Council has shown it was asked to carry out more than 10,000 translations in 2016/17 to help people understand their rights and responsibilities if their English isn't good enough.
The report said the most frequently requested translations were into Gujurati, Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Somali, Arabic, Farsi, Polish, Slovak, Chinese, Pushto, Kurdish, Romanian, British Sign Language, Tamil, Portuguese, Tigrinya, French, Hindi and Russian.
Care plans, emails, letters, legal documents, fostering reports and even text and WhatsApp messages have all been translated.
A city council spokeswoman said: “The number of languages continues to increase as the city’s population becomes more diverse.
“However, in line with central government policy, the council encourages the use of English as the city’s main language.
“The policy does also recognise that there will always be circumstances where translation or interpretation is needed particularly on a one-to-one basis where someone does not have sufficient English Language skills and needs to be able understand their legal rights, medical or care advice or their financial and other responsibilities.”
The council had 9,426 requests for translation in the 12 months up to April last year rising to 10,066 the following year.
The council said: “Typically those services are dealing with more complex and sensitive matters, where it is important individuals understand their situation, their rights and the nature of the service intervention, with Children’s and Adult Social Care generating the largest volumes (of translation requests).”
The council also offers its translation service to outside organisations and generated a £53,000 surplus last year.
However Leicester’s hospitals have recently had their translations requests sent to a firm covering a contract for the whole of the East Midlands for which the council was unable to bid.
Also the council’s community languages service provided face to face interpretation for Job Centre Plus when immigration from eastern European countries was at a peak.
The demand for these services has slowly declined and in recent translation has been delivered via video link.