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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Can we survive the dangers of the public sector language gap?

25 April 2017

Can we survive the dangers of the public sector language gap?
Public services provide for the welfare and wellbeing of the UK’s residents. Police and court services, medical care and the NHS, housing provision and local government administration are all vital resources, but some UK residents are being excluded from this support because of the language they speak.
While there is a national requirement for public sector workers in the UK to possess English (or Welsh) language fluency, there is no explicit stipend to cater to foreign language speakers. Provision is made for sign language interpreters, and to facilitate communication with the blind, but rarely caters to those with foreign language requirements.
Considering the broad range of languages spoken across the UK, further provision for both public sector interpreters, translators and transcriptionists are needed to enable non-english speakers to access public sector services. The Serious Case Review following the death of Daniel Pelka, aged 5, made this very important point:
“Without proactive or consistent action by any professional to engage with him via an interpreter, then his lack of language and low confidence would likely have made it almost impossible for him to reveal the abuse he was suffering at home.”

Thursday, 13 April 2017

A private NHS contractor has gone bankrupt. And in doing so it sums up the Tories’ health policies

April 13th, 2017

A private NHS contractor has gone bankrupt. And in doing so it sums up the Tories’ health policies
The bankruptcy of a private NHS contractor has left staff out of pocket and the health service scrabbling around to make up a shortfall in services. But the collapse of the provider also shows gaping holes in the government’s handling of the NHS.
“Maniacal” Tories
Pearl Linguistics provided sign and foreign language interpretation services to the NHS and the Ministry of Justice. But in March, the company filed for bankruptcy, reportedly leaving more than 50 interpreters and translators with wages owed.
The company had faced heavy criticism from trade unions for its working practices. Professional Interpreters for Justice (PI4J) is an umbrella campaign group of Unite the Union, for interpreting professionals. In 2015, it accused (pdf p2) Pearl of “continuing to whittle away… interpreters’ fees”. Following reports of the company’s bankruptcy, PI4J said:
“The government has an obsession, bordering on mania, with outsourcing to private companies what should be publicly-run services. These companies promise that they will make the contract run more smoothly while implementing so-called ‘efficiency savings’ – but the biggest cost element is staff wages and these are then slashed…”
Bad management
And as the website Slator reported:
Issues against Pearl are not new. As early as 2013 [it] landed on the so-called blacklist of one translation blog. In 2014, Leena Dewis cited the ‘Pearl Linguistics Ltd. Scam’ as ‘the biggest scam that is still getting money off the NHS’. More recently, on 20 February 2017, Nataliya Vesnina posted on TranslationDirectory.com that: ‘these people [Pearl] have recently upgraded from bad payers to non-payers’.
Speaking to The Canary, Nicky Evans from the National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI) said:
Pearl was a horrendous agency, yet they still won these contracts. In fact they regularly had to subcontract, as interpreters didn’t want to work for them. Sheffield interpreters had to begrudgingly take on work from Pearl as there is little in the area. A lot of interpreters are probably now owed money.
Unable to “compete”
The company has so far not published the reasons for its bankruptcy. And despite repeated attempts by the media, its founder and CEO Zeynep Demirbilek has not publicly commented on the company’s collapse.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

"no Farsi interpreter available"

11 APR 2017

[…] Later, Mr Watson returned to court with his client, who pleaded guilty to the offence.
He asked for the case to be adjourned as there was not a Farsi interpreter available.
But Judge Harrison asked how long he had been in the country - a year and four months - and decided he could understand enough English for the proceedings to go ahead. […]