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How many people are on remand because they did not have an interpreter? The Ministry does not know!

My buddy blogger @Alanw47 asked the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) the following question on the 28th of October: “Could you please tell me how many prisoners are in custody, on remand, awaiting the services of a Court Interpreter? I am specifically interested in prisoners who might not necessarily be in custody on remand if they could have received the services of an interpreter but there was not one available.”

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Legal interpreting
Public Service Interpreting in the UK
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PI4J Press Release: Government in denial about quality report

PI4J Press Release: Government in denial about quality report | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
The Government has refused to accept the main recommendations of an independent quality report into how the Ministry of Justice and Capita deliver language services in courts.
Professional Interpreters for Justice, the umbrella group of interpreter organisations, says the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has failed to listen to experts in the field.
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NRPSI -Our History

Our History

In the early 1990s a project was set up, with the support of the (then) Institute of Linguists (IoL) and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, to develop a model for the provision of public services across language and culture. The emphasis was on providing reliable communication in response to the multi-lingual nature of modern UK and public services’ need to provide access to all, irrespective of language barriers. In 1994 the project laid its foundations for the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI). The IoL was selected to be the home and custodian of the register.

NRPSI became independent of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL) on 1st April 2011 and is an independent not-for-profit organisation.
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Video links make court into "another virtual experience" - a prisoner speaks - Transform Justice

Video links make court into "another virtual experience" - a prisoner speaks - Transform Justice | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
I’m really saddened by this testimony. This prisoner’s experience of the criminal justice system has been mediated by video, through no choice of his own. Who knows how typical his experience is. At no point since 2000 have defendants/prisoners been asked their views on video links.  To say prisoners prefer them because they are more convenient patronises prisoners (who wouldn’t “prefer” not to travel for hours in a disgusting van) and denies the importance of effective participation. Until we know through research how video links really effect participation, we should pause any programme to increase their use. Trust in our justice system is too fragile to risk damaging further.

 
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Interpreters: Legal Guidance: The Crown Prosecution Service

Interpreters: Legal Guidance: The Crown Prosecution Service | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
Interpreter as a Witness in Court
If a suspect has been interviewed through an interpreter and there is an issue about what was said, evidence will have to be given by the interpreter. Evidence from a police officer about what the accused has said in interview, as related to the police officer by the interpreter, is hearsay. The only valid witness as to what the defendant said is the interpreter. (Archbold 4-36). It is therefore important that the interpreter is a person who is suitably qualified and impartial.

If an interpreter is required to give evidence, he or she should be given an opportunity to confirm the accuracy of any record of an interview at which the interpreter was present. This may include being given the opportunity to listen to the taped interview, or in the case of a deaf person, view the video taped interview.

The CPS is responsible for the payment of expenses of an interpreter who attends court to give evidence about what took place at the defendant's interview.
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Translation Rates Are Dropping. Is It a Race to the Bottom? | RedLine

Translation Rates Are Dropping. Is It a Race to the Bottom? | RedLine | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
The Knock-On Effect of No Regulation

Second, translators themselves contribute to the commodification of translation. Yes, really.

Here’s how. The translation industry is unregulated (in the U.S., at least), so anyone can call herself a translator.

Want to be a doctor? You have to take the MCAT, go to medical school, and complete a residency program.

Want to be a lawyer? Better get your law degree and pass your bar exam.

But if you want to work as a translator, all you need to do is call yourself a translator. Yep, just create a website and start trying to swindle—er, I mean, win—clients.

It’s unfortunate, but many so-called translators have no business working as translators. These individuals may speak two languages (even fluently), but they are in no way qualified to deliver professional translations in the fields of law, finance, IT, medicine, engineering, and the like.

Because there are no barriers to entry for translation vendors, some clients develop an “anybody can do it” mentality.

This is a huge driver of low translation rates.
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How do I become an interpreter for the Police?

How do I become an interpreter for the Police? | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
Q) How do I become an interpreter for the Police?
The standard requirement for interpreters in Criminal proceedings is that those working in courts and police stations should be registered with one of the recommended registers i.e. the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) for non-English spoken languages, or with the National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD ) for communicating with deaf and deafblind people.
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Court interpreter expert testifies in Kate Steinle murder trial

Court interpreter expert testifies in Kate Steinle murder trial | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it

On Thursday, the defense in the People vs. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate trial called an investigator with the San Francisco Public Defender's Office to testify. 


Fanny Suarez is also a former certified court interpreter with years of experience. She has even taught others how to master that profession and was brought in to highlight inaccuracies made by the translator during the police interrogation of Garcia Zarate in the early morning hours of July 2, 2015, several hours after Kate Steinle was shot.

For example, according to the transcripts, a police officer asked Garcia Zarate in English: "You pulled the trigger correct?" The translator then asked Garcia Zarate, "¿Usted, apuntó y disparó la pistola?"

If you translate that, the person is asking the defendant, "Did you aim and fire the gun?"

The defense argued these are two different things.

"He is not a court-certified interpreter, that's ok we understand, however, there were shortcomings in that translation that everybody needs to pay attention to because as Ms. Suarez said, words matter," defense attorney Matt Gonzalez told reporters.

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Judge resorts to using Google to communicate with Bath defendant at court

Judge resorts to using Google to communicate with Bath defendant at court | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it


Due to Nowacki’s limited grasp of English, he did not understand what he was being told and Judge Ambrose turned to Google Translate to get his message across.

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Defendants on video - conveyor belt justice or a revolution in access? - Transform Justice

Defendants on video - conveyor belt justice or a revolution in access? - Transform Justice | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
October 22, 2017
Defendants on video – conveyor belt justice or a revolution in access?
New report on virtual justice (video courts) published today
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Government urged to address shortage of BSL/English interpreters | NUBSLI

What’s a framework and why is it a problem for interpreters and translators?
The whole concept of frameworks is that they can provide cost savings. By buying in bulk, it is expected that savings can be made. The idea is usually called gain share and it means that once costs are lowered any savings are passed back to the government. For example, a framework is needed by a council so that they can buy desks for their workforce. The council states in the framework what it needs in the desks it’s buying and then awards the contract to provide the desks to whichever company will follow the terms and conditions in the framework and is the most cost effective.

This is fine when it comes to tangible products – such as desks or printing – where the cost of buying in bulk is cheaper, or where the more copies you print the less overheads there are.

However, the problem occurs when the government attempts to use the same principles for services. People’s time cannot be treated in the same way as buying stationery or hardware. It is irrelevant how many hours an interpreter or translator works as their overheads will remain the same. In fact, it is more likely that their overheads would increase (e.g. Childcare costs etc).

We therefore need to make it clear that we don’t accept this model of working.
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"a 15-year-old translator"

A Chinese restaurant in Reading facing closure has been granted a stay of execution after the owners appointed a 15-year-old translator to help them defend their business.
[…]
But after 90 minutes of listening to damning evidence and the owner's defence, the sub committee adjourned the hearing, because of concerns about the teenage translator.
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FOI Request – Newham Language Shop Assessors (September 2017)

FOI Request – Newham Language Shop Assessors (September 2017) | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
FOI Request – Newham Language Shop Assessors (September 2017)
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INTERPRETERS CANNOT (AND WOULD NOT) BE COMPELLED TO ATTEND TRIAL FOR CROSS-EXAMINATION

INTERPRETERS CANNOT (AND WOULD NOT) BE COMPELLED TO ATTEND TRIAL FOR CROSS-EXAMINATION | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
The case of Kimathi -v- The Foreign & Commonwealth Office [2016] EWHC 3004 (QB) has already featured several times on this blog.  Here we look at the judgment made last week relating to the defendant's application that interpreters attend trial to give evidence.  It also provides an important example of the court considering and applying…
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Love, Lies And Records review: Drama of life and death in Leeds | BuzzNews - Featuring an #interpreter

Love, Lies And Records review: Drama of life and death in Leeds | BuzzNews - Featuring an #interpreter | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
Love, Lies And Records (BBC1, Thursday) is the only drama to have a character who uttered the fascinating words, “the decision is in line with the 2014 Immigration Act”.

Actress Ashley Jensen’s improbably short-skirted Leeds registrar said this line as she assessed an application for citizenship from an Iranian man.

He was accompanied by a very pregnant Slovenian woman, another Iranian man, apparently a cousin, and an excited translator.

Dodgy? Well, yes. It all felt like the first episode of “24 hours in Leeds Register Office”.
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This Man Had To Defend Himself Without A Lawyer Via Videolink With Terrible Audio. He Lost.

This Man Had To Defend Himself Without A Lawyer Via Videolink With Terrible Audio. He Lost. | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
Penelope Gibbs, director of Transform Justice, said: “It’s difficult enough for someone to defend themselves without a lawyer. Put that person on video and you double those difficulties. In a court an unrepresented defendant can have a face to face meeting with the legal adviser before their case is called, and in the court hearing itself they can use body language as well as words to communicate.

“If someone is trying to represent themselves over video, they often cannot hear well what is happening in court and they certainly can't feel the atmosphere of the court. Understanding a process designed for lawyers while disconnected from the court itself faces an unrepresented defendant with huge challenges.”

The study also found defendants can be disadvantaged in sentencing by not being in the same room. One prosecutor told the researcher: “Psychologically, it is easier to do something negative to someone when they are not physically present. When I prosecute a bail matter, I prefer the defendant to be on the [video] link. When I defended, I always sought to have the defendant present in court, so the judge or magistrates would have to refuse bail ‘to their face’.”

Andrew Langdon QC, chair of the bar, said: “Government plans to invest in virtual technology for court hearings hold the promise of savings and greater efficiency but we must recognise that they also pose a real threat to the quality of justice.
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Scotland Awards GBP 12m Government Translation and Interpretation Contract | Slator

Scotland Awards GBP 12m Government Translation and Interpretation Contract | Slator | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
The call for tender was originally announced on May 27, 2017. As stated in the contract notice, the tenders were judged in terms of quality (70%) and price (30%). A total of four tenders were received by the contracting authority.

In June 2017, Slator reported that aggregating government demand for language services in Scotland may put pressure on prices and LSPs fear that it may go the same way as the UK language services market, which reportedly led to extreme pricing pressure on vendors.
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expert witness testimony | The Professional Interpreter

The testimony of an expert has two parts: First, the party offering the witness has to qualify him as an expert by asking questions about his credentials, educational background, experience, and so on.  Then, once the expertise on the particular field has been established, the parties question the expert about his analysis, methodology, findings, and opinion.

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Police may ask public to wash their patrol cars

Police may ask public to wash their patrol cars | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
In his first interview since becoming the Island’s deputy police chief, Julian Blazeby said he would examine a range of options to make the force ‘more effective and efficient’.

And one area he is ‘keen to explore’ is the use of volunteers, in a similar scheme to one he oversaw when he was Assistant Chief Constable at Staffordshire Police in 2012.

During that initiative, the force asked for members of the public to clean its fleet of vehicles, act as interpreters and hand out crime awareness leaflets in an effort to save over 5,500 police hours each year.

The move was criticised by the trade union Unison, which questioned whether volunteers would achieve the same high standards as paid staff and whether they could pose a security risk.
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Interpreting for people with learning disadvantages

Interpreting for people with learning disadvantages | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
Misinterpretation leads to misconstruction, misreading, misjudgement, misconception, misbelief, miscalculation, misunderstanding, and confusion. Sometimes, it also brings a tragedy to someone’s life.

A quality of each bridge depends on the quality of all the elements used for its construction.

An idea of being a modest, careful, and mindful builder of a bridge of understanding along with keeping your presence almost invisible sounds great. How many people are able to do that? Nobody’s said it’s gonna be easy. And nobody’s said that being multilingual is enough to do the job.

Interpreters are hunting for bookings, they sleep with their phones next to their beds, their incomes are not equivalent to the responsibility that lays on their shoulders. They have right to feel angry and frustrated. In the today’s world, where every and each government’s institution seeks savings, interpreters are at the end of the queue to be gratified. Most of them keep on doing their job simply because they love what they do.

Is this love strong enough to resist the economy?
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Public Service Interpreters in the UK - Wikipedia

Public Service Interpreters in the UK - Wikipedia

The National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) is an independent not-for-profit organisation that regulates the standards for interpreters working in the public services in the UK. The principal aim is to protect the public from poor standards of interpreting.

Current status[edit]
There is a strong drive for recognition of interpreting as a profession in the UK despite government moves to de-recognise professional status.[22] Increased immigration as a result of EU policies has led to greater recognition of the need for governments to facilitate communication between different language speakers and provide entitlement to interpreting and translation services.[23][24][25] NRPSI has taken part in the LIT Search project funded by the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Commission Directorate General Justice, which aims to link the European national registers to aid cross-border interpreting requirements.[26][27]
Due to the voluntary nature of the regulation by the National Register, many interpreters work in the UK without registration and appropriate qualifications. It is therefore not known how many interpreters are working regularly, nor how many assignments they are completing. The Ministry of Justice reported that in the courts system (probably the largest user of interpreting services in the UK) there were 153,500 requests during the year 2015.[28]
NRPSI identified eight key challenges facing the interpreting profession,[29] including the downward pressure on quality standards as a result of financial constraints on public services, ensuring that qualified interpreters maintain their skills throughout their career, and the lack of a clear career path. NRPSI’s stated long-term aims are protection of title and statutory regulation of public service interpreting to better protect the public.  
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The Language Shop

Complaints and Feedback

Feedback, both positive and negative, is integral to quality assurance of language services across the MoJ. Please use the form below to leave details about any issue you have experienced relating to linguist performance, competence or conduct. Or equally, feedback about any positive experiences you have had.

Please provide as many details as possible, including the booking reference, any related previous complaint references, the name or registration number of the linguist, the time and date of the incident and as much information about the problem as you can.

If your complaint or feedback is not about performance of a linguist (for example if you’re having problems making a booking), please make these directly to the relevant supplier:

The Big Word
Clarion

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Interpreter mix-up at Mansfield police station

Interpreter mix-up at Mansfield police station | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
A Polish man told Mansfield police he couldn’t understand a telephone interpreter when he was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in charge of a car, a court heard.
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Delay in protecting victims

Delay in protecting victims
An eastern European man attended a police station to report an assault, and an appointment was made for him to return the following day when an interpreter would be present. The victim failed to attend until two days later. During an interview it became clear that he was being beaten and had been raped by men he worked for in a takeaway restaurant below the flat he rented. He worked excessive hours and although he received cash payments for this work, he paid most of this back to the shop owner in rent.
More effective questioning at the front desk during the initial contact would have helped to identify the seriousness of the offences and the immediate and continued risk facing the victim at his home address. […]
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Defendant "did not have an interpreter"

[…] The court explained what the word ‘lunge’ meant to Patronas as he had difficulty understanding it, but he denied making that movement.
Hugh Cauthery, defending Patronas, asked the magistrates to be cautious as the defendant had difficulty expressing himself due to a language barrier.
Patronas, who is from Lithuania, did not have an interpreter.
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Through the Language Barrier: Examining a Witness Through Interpreters | The Legal Intelligencer

Through the Language Barrier: Examining a Witness Through Interpreters | The Legal Intelligencer | Legal interpreting | Scoop.it
The jury was thoroughly confused when a witness testified through an interpreter that he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for a ladder in a construction case I tried a few years ago.  What reasonable person would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a ladder?
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