Asylum: Interpreters and Translation Services
Home Office written question – answered on 10th December 2021.
Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if all refugees who seek asylum in England have access to (a) interpreters and (b) translators.
Kevin Foster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
The Home Office aims to provide interpreter and translation services for refugees and asylum seekers at public expense whenever and wherever necessary. Interpreters/translators engaged are required to operate to a high standard on a range of protection-based and human rights topics including (though not limited to) religious conversion, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), sexuality and gender-based claims, all types and forms of persecution, medical (physical and mental health) and political activity.
The Home Office has a proud, consistent, and sustained history of supplying interpreters and translators on demand to meet customer needs. Operational delivery over the last five years has been consistently above weekly service level agreements.
The Home Office Interpreter Language Services Unit (ILSU) holds overall responsibility for the delivery of interpreting and translation services on behalf of the Home Office. ILSU recruits and maintains a database of, to date, 1,759 independent freelance interpreters as well as having oversight of commercially procured language services to supplement the overall services. ILSU arranges appointments, manages invoices and payments and has a quality assurance role to ensure reliability and the consistently high level of interpretation and translation.
ILSU also works with other commercial providers and public sector bodies which provide interpreters and linguists (as well as the National Register of Public Services Interpreters) to ensure the best sector-wide standards are applied.