MoJ ditches new court interpreting system in face of major backlash

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  • This is quite typical of my experience of the UK translation market. Having set up over here after starting our business in Australia, there is a huge gulf between the two countries with regard to the level of respect for the profession, the appreciation for the talent of those who are appropriately qualified to carry out difficult translation (or interpreting) work and the rates that these highly qualified people should command. A constant drive to reduce rates means that the old adage "buy cheap buy twice" adage keeps cropping up in our business. Prospective clients are constantly approaching us with requests to correct work which has been conducted by a cheaper provider but are then surprised when we refuse to work at the rates on offer. If you want a tertiary-educated linguist with either practical experience working as a lawyer or vast experience as a legal translator to undertake your translation or interpreting work, you need to pay for it. And, unfortunately for some of the pile-it-high-sell-it-cheap providers, no amount of sophisticated technology is going to replace the all-important element of human skill.

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  • The only way forward is to revert to the National Agreement for interpreters, as before, and in the mean time have full blown discussions with interpreters, as to how costs may be cut without damaging the public's right to proper interpretation in court. Most of us will NOT work for an agency who profits from us and the public purse.

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  • For me it seems that a very closed group, so called ‘registered interpreters’ are extremely unhappy about their pay cuts.
    On the one hand it is quiet understandable. I wouldn’t be happy if instead of a pay rise I would have to accept a pay-cut.
    However the way the registered interpreters handle this situation is appalling. They go to court, meet officially booked interpreters (Applied Language Solutions), intimidate them, make threats or unpleasant comment such as: ‘it is my court, back off’ ect.
    Are they really professional?
    From the tax payer’s view this change was inevitable. It is not a normal situation where interpreters are being paid more than solicitors. We live in hard times and the time to save money has come.
    One word of advice to registered interpreters-get over it. The time when you have been wasting tax payers money is over.
    WELL DONE GAVIN!! You have my full support!!!!

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  • One can only speculate whether 'marcin' is an employee of ALS' PR department. I think the 'go Gavin go go go' gives it away slightly. 
    As to the points raised, I very much doubt ALS interpreters are being 'intimidated'. If they are, then ALS should document and post these events on the internet, in the same way that professional interpreters are recording instances of ALS failure and inadequacy and publishing them. Perhaps, being of the private sector, ALS are somewhat unfamiliar with the concept of public courts, and so when professional interpreters, as they are entitled to do as members of the public, go to court to observe ALS interpters in action, and maybe ask them what qualifications they have to do the job, ALS and their stooges interpret this as 'intimidation'.
    As for comparing interpreters and solicitors pay in a simplistic way, let me explain. solicitors usually get paid a salary, interpreters are self employed. Solicitors make a per-hour loss at the bread and butter magistrates hearings and stay in business doing trials and more complex cases, where larger fees are earned by more senior associates which keeps the whole firm afloat. Interpreters earn more than a solicitor in the magistrates and (just about) in the police station, but an advocate at trial or a more legally complex earns a lot more for his firm than the interpreter at that hearing. Then factor in that interpreters don't have the infrastructure of a law firm and do all their taxes and admin themselves, don't have a salary guaranteed at the end of the month,  and that interpreters rates haven't changed for 10 years,  whereas in 10 years a solicitor may have progressed from associate to partner and got a raise, and you start to realise how nonsensical is the argument put by 'marcin'.
    As for tax payers money being wasted. Perhaps, 'marcin' can enlighten us, as a fan, if not even an insider, of ALS, who will meet the cost of adjournments, additional custody time and wasted costs orders against ALS by solicitors firms, if not the Taxpayer. I understand the damage caused by ALS already in the first month make the trumpeted "£18m savings" look like a fairytale.

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  • marcin you do realise you are just confirming that some eastern european people accepts extremely low pay

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