Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton's assault trial abandoned as evidence 'lost in translation'

 https://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2021-06-08/bristol-rovers-boss-joey-bartons-assault-trial-abandoned-as-evidence-lost-in-translation

8 June 2021

Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton's assault trial abandoned as evidence 'lost in translation'

The trial of Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton has been adjourned and the jury discharged because of communication difficulties. […]

Mr Stendel was giving evidence in German, which is his first language, and an interpreter was being used in the court in Sheffield.

But after a discussion with both the prosecution and defence Judge Jeremy Richardson QC halted proceedings, saying it was becoming difficult to ensure everything was being properly translated and understood.

“When something comes down to translation, it’s just not right to just struggle on, I became increasingly concerned things were getting lost in translation.” -  #Judge Jeremy Richardson QC

Before dismissing the jury he said: "There have been with Mr Stendel's evidence a multitude of difficulties."

He said Mr Stendel speaks with a "provincial or regional dialect" and was sat in a large court room causing an echo.

"A combination of those factors - the echo, the regional dialect - and the fact he was giving quite long answers, means some of his answers may have been mistranslated," Judge Richardson QC added.

"Both the translator here and the judge in the German court agreed there have been a few examples of mistranslation. That’s not fair to him [Mr Stendel], to Mr Barton and to you [the jury], because if we just went on we would be speculating." […]

PQ: 8th June 2021

 https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2021-05-24.HL476.h

Ministry of Justice: Interpreters

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 8th June 2021.

Baroness Coussins Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the (1) qualifications, and (2) experience, required for interpreters to be listed on the Ministry of Justice register to the same levels as interpreters joining the National Register of Public Service Interpreters.

Baroness Coussins Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many interpreters registered with the Ministry of Justice have been (1) removed from the register, or (2) otherwise sanctioned, as a result of the spot checks and in-person assessments carried out from 1 January 2019 by the quality assurance provider The Language Shop.

Baroness Coussins Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 18 May (HL Deb, col 558) that interpreters "will be removed from the register if they fail to reach the required standard", what are the detailed components of "the required standard".

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high- quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The contracts have a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. These are set out in our contracts, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

Our qualification and experience requirements and associated quality assurance arrangements provided by The Language Shop (TLS), have been carefully considered and have been designed so as to maintain the quality of interpretation provided under the contract, meet the demands and requirements of the Ministry and other contract users and encourage new entrants to the profession.

The Ministry of Justice will shortly be undertaking work to develop the next generation of Language Services contracts.

For the period 01/01/2019 – 21/05/2021, 169 language professionals have been removed and 40 language professionals have been sanctioned as a result of a Spot Check or In-Person Assessment.

The required standard comprises a number of different elements

All interpreters are required to meet the qualification requirements set out in the contract between the MoJ and the language service supplier. The requirements vary depending on the complexity of the bookings and the language in question. The specific requirement in each case is set out here: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

TLS review the qualifications at the point of carrying out an assessment of an interpreter and will remove the interpreter if the supplier fails to demonstrate that they hold the correct qualifications.

All interpreters are required to comply with the MoJ code of conduct at all times. Any serious breach of the code of conduct, observed through an assessment by TLS or identified and confirmed through a complaint investigation, will result in removal from the register.

Interpreters also have to demonstrate competence in language proficiency, interpreting/professional skills, and subject matter knowledge. Interpreters are regularly assessed to ensure their interpreting meets the requirements of the assignment, being observed across each of the three competencies.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

PQ: 3rd June 2021

 https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2021-05-25.7265.h

Public Sector: Interpreters

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 3rd June 2021.

Alex Sobel Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that only remunerated, registered and regulated interpreters are used by the (a) courts and (b) other public services.

Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high- quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The Ministry commissions the services of suitably qualified language professionals through its contracted service providers, thebigword and Clarion Interpreting.

Language professionals provided by our contracted language service providers are sourced from the Ministry’s register. Only language professionals who meet the Ministry’s contractual requirements are included on the register, which is managed and audited by an independent language service provider, The Language Shop.

The contract has a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements language professionals must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system.

The full details of the standards required for our Language Professionals is set out in our contracts, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137

The Language Shop make regular and independent assessments of language professionals carrying out assignments via the Ministry’s language services contracts, to ensure they meet the requirements of the contract between the Ministry and the supplier.

The Ministry is only responsible for services used under the Ministry of Justice contract.

Friday, 21 May 2021

PQ: 21st May 2021

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2021-05-12.899.h

 

Ministry of Justice: Interpreters

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 21st May 2021.

 

Apsana Begum Labour, Poplar and Limehouse

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, who provides the specific training course for interpreters to join his Department's register; whether that course is endorsed by a professional body; and whether the course content is standardised regardless of previous qualifications.

 

Apsana Begum Labour, Poplar and Limehouse

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many hours of experience is demanded as a minimum by his Department's Register for those who are (a) Level 1 public service interpreting (PSI) qualified, (b) Level 2 PSI qualified, (c) Level 3 PSI qualified, (d) Level 4 PSI qualified, (e) those without any form of public service qualification but who have degree level qualifications in other disciplines such as philology and linguistics and (f) Level 6 PSI qualified.

 

Apsana Begum Labour, Poplar and Limehouse

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 176073, of the 59 who failed spot checks conducted since 1st January 2019 by The Language Shop; what level of qualification did those 59 people have which enabled them to appear on the MoJ register prior to those spot checks.

 

Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high- quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those who require interpreters.

The MOJ does not directly employ interpreters. The MOJ commissions the services of suitably qualified interpreters through its contracted service providers, thebigword and Clarion Interpreting.

All interpreters regardless of qualifications are required to complete an induction programme. This is not an accredited piece of learning. It was created by the MOJ and The International School of Linguists (ISL) and is hosted by ISL for thebigword to meet the requirements of the MOJ.

The hours of experience required varies according to the complexity and type of language. This information is set out and can be found in the contract via the following link

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

A table showing the hours of experience required by qualification can be found below:

Qualifications

Experience required

Complexity level

Enrolled on a Level 1, two-to-four week, course

100 hours of Interpretation Services in the relevant language

Standard

Level 1 public service interpreting (PSI) qualified

No minimum hours required

Standard

Level 2 PSI qualified

No minimum hours required

Standard

Level 3 PSI qualified

No minimum hours required

Standard

Level 4 PSI qualified

No minimum hours required

Standard

Those without any form of public service qualification but have degree level qualifications in other disciplines such as philology and linguistics

100 hours of Interpretation Services in the relevant language

Complex

Level 6 PSI qualified

No minimum hours required

Complex / Complex Written (DPSI Health & Lov Govt although Level 6, are only authorised for Complex; DPSI Law, DPI (Diploma in Police Interpreting) & DCI (Diploma in Community Interpreting ISL) are Complex Written)

 

Of the 59 language professionals who failed spot checks, three of the language professionals had two checks for different languages, so we have provided 62 results. Below is a table which breaks down the level of qualification the language professionals had to enable them to appear on the register prior to the spot checks.

 

Qualification Level

Number of language professionals

Level 3

2

Level 6

39

Level 7

5

Basic interpreting, rare language or Partial qualification

16

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Queen's Speech: 18th May 2021

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2021-05-18b.467.2#g499.2

Queen’s Speech - Debate (5th Day) – in the House of Lords at 2:17 pm on 18th May 2021.

Baroness Coussins Crossbench 4:22, 18th May 2021.

My Lords, in declaring my interest as vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, I highlight an opportunity to improve the criminal justice system for the benefit of victims and their families, witnesses, defendants, court officials and jurors that would enhance the quality of justice and save public money. I hope that impressive list of benefits has grabbed the attention of the noble Lord, Lord Wolfson.

The issue is the provision of interpreters in our courts and tribunals. The opportunity is to insert a simple amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. In a nutshell, the problem is that the chaotic system used by the MoJ and the Courts & Tribunals Service allows far too many cases of unqualified or underqualified, inexperienced pseudo-interpreters to do such a bad job that, quite apart from damaging the reputation of properly qualified linguists, it can cause mayhem in the courts, resulting in miscarriages of justice, adjourned hearings, defendants remaining in custody and an undermining of trust in an important public service.

The notorious case of Iqbal Begum led to the establishment of the National Register of Public Service Interpreters in the early 1990s. The Court of Appeal had quashed a conviction for murder against a woman when it was realised that the interpreter at her original trial had not known the difference between murder and manslaughter and, though fluent in English and Gujarati, could not speak Punjabi, the language of the accused. In another case the defendant was accused of perverting the course of justice, which the so-called interpreter managed to translate as, “You are accused of being a pervert”. In another, the interpreter’s English was so poor that he could not distinguish between a marital partner and a business partner, which led to the judge assuming the defendant was being evasive.

The national register is an independent, non-profit organisation whose purpose is to safeguard and regulate the quality and professionalism of interpreters. Registration depends on stringent criteria for training, qualifications and experience. There is a code of professional conduct and a disciplinary procedure uninfluenced by any political or commercial interest.

In 2011, however, the MoJ outsourced interpreting to reduce costs. Reduced pay and conditions for interpreters resulted in an exodus of the properly qualified ones and an influx of the unqualified. The MoJ list is not a patch on the national register. You can get on to this list just by having a GCSE pass or a low-level two-week foundation course, or just by being bilingual, even if you have never set foot in a court before. The list is outsourced to a private company and, despite the MoJ’s claim that compliance with targets has been high, the increase in aborted hearings and general dissatisfaction among lawyers and clients alike tell a different story.

The courts are out of sync with other parts of the justice system. The CPS continues to use the national register, and the new flagship Police Approved Interpreter and Translator scheme has blazed a trail for high standards. It respects all parties and, combined with the register, could be a really effective model for the courts too.

We could get all this right very easily. Part 12 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill provides for British Sign Language interpreters to assist jurors. I suggest just adding a new, simple clause to provide for spoken-word interpreters to be appointed only from the national register in order to raise standards, improve justice and save public money. It is ironic that one clause in the Bill creates a new offence for a BSL interpreter intentionally or otherwise to influence the jury. I contend that to continue to allow incompetent, unqualified spoken-word interpreters in our courts is itself, by default, a serious way of influencing the outcome of proceedings in the most negative way possible. I hope the noble Lord, Lord Wolfson, even though he will not reply to this debate, will indicate that he is willing to meet me to discuss my proposal.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2021-05-18b.467.2#g554.0

Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department 7:55 pm, 18th May 2021.

The noble Baroness, Lady Coussins, talked about the provision of interpreters and asked to meet my noble friend Lord Wolfson, which he is very happy to do. Court interpreters should be appointed only from the national register. We are absolutely committed to continually improving performance and ensuring the highest standard of language services for those who need them. All interpreters provided to the courts are registered and regularly assessed by the quality assurance provider, the Language Shop, and will be removed from the register if they fail to reach the required standard.