A Change In the Provision Of Court Interpreters Causes Trouble In UK Courts

Interpreting in court is a highly specialised and challenging job. However, the cost of court interpreting can be expensive which is why the UK government is hoping to save money by changing the way court interpreters are provided for court hearings. Courts in England and Wales used to use interpreters who were registered on the National Register, a register of professional and qualified interpreters. The new system, uses interpreters via an agency called Applied Language Solutions (ALS) who claim to be able to cut the cost of court interpreting, by a third.

The change in the way court interpreters are booked for hearings has caused outrage amongst the interpreters who are registered on the National Register as their pay has been drastically cut. The Professional Interpreters Alliance (PIA), the interpreters’ membership body, says that due to this boycott the ALS is now having to use people with very little experience of the legal system, which could have detrimental consequences.

“We are already hearing horror stories from all over the country. Being a court interpreter is a specialised and difficult job. You have to be accurate as people’s liberty is at stake,” says PIA director Madeleine Lee.

The ALS denies this claim saying that their interpreters are vetted and undergo independent assessments. The Ministry of Justice is monitoring the new system very closely.

Read more about the new changes in the provision of court interpreters in the UK>>

What are your thoughts on this change? Are you an interpreter? How has this affected you? We’d love to hear from you. Please send us your comments using the Comments box below.