31 August 2020
Translation work for foreign crime suspects costs UK £450,000 a week
Government officials have spent £450,000 a week on language experts to provide translation services to foreign-speaking criminals and people caught up in the UK’s legal system.
Ministry of Justice officials spent £23.4 million between April 2019 and March 2020 for a total of 143 different dialects, including £20,000 on Oromo and £1,000 on Bravanese. Most of the money is spent providing expert assistance to foreign-speaking crime suspects, who need legal papers translated and then require an interpreter for their trial proceedings.
This year’s bill for translating legal cases increased eight per cent on the figure of £21.6 million for the previous 12 months between April 2018 and March 2019.
Much of the spending was on Polish, Lithuanian and Romanian speakers. There were also big spends on Bengali, Punjabi and Urdu speakers.
The figures were released in response to a Freedom of Information request. It is not clear if the number of crime suspects requiring the translation service has increased, or the cost of the services has increased. […]
The services provided include face to face interpreting, telephone interpreting and written translation and transcription. […]