The Netherlands

Interpreters down tools in protest at plans to open up courts register

FYI: This is happening in The Netherlands 


Interpreters down tools in protest at plans to open up courts register Click Here

January 13, 2020 

Hundreds of interpreters are going on strike in protest against government plans to cut costs by opening up the sector to less qualified competitors. Around 1,500 interpreters are suspending all work for the courts, police and immigration service. 

The action will affect large numbers of cases because people who appear before the courts or deal with the IND have a legal right to follow proceedings in a language they understand. 

The strike is in response to justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus’s proposals to outsource the hiring of interpreters and allow unqualified translators and agencies to bid for work. 

Ani Getcheva, spokeswoman for the action group for registered interpreters and translators, told AD the plan would compromise the quality of the service. ‘The fact that you speak a language doesn’t automatically mean you can interpret in it. Opening up the register will bring in [unqualified] people for the same rates. We are worried that highly qualified people will then walk away.’ 

Getcheva said that around 2,000 people had signed a resolution urging the government to take action, while around 1,500 of the 2,600 registered interpreters were committed to joining the strike, which will last as long as necessary. 

‘That number is growing by the hour,’ she said. ‘We work for the courts, the police and the IND. That means that all courts in the Netherlands are going to have trouble finding interpreters. 

‘Police interviews with foreign-language suspects won’t be able to take place either, and neither will interviews with the IND. We think the schedule for the entire system will grind to a halt.’

Remember this?


Home Office drops plans to cut interpreter wages after boycott threat - Click Here


The one-day mass action threatened by the pool of more than 2,000 interpreters could have brought the processing of immigration claims to a standstill



Professional Interpreters for Justice (PI4J) submissions re reduced rates of Home Office interpreters’ pay


(If you understand Dutch, here are further links)

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Tolken en vertalers voeren actie voor Rechtbank Amsterdam

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Tolken en vertalers voor politie, justitie en IND staken - NOS Radio 1 Journaal

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Tolken gaan vanaf morgen ‘rechtspraak en asielbranche lamleggen’

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'Uitgeklede' tolken leggen rechtspraak en asielbranche lam

The upcoming Interpreters' Cooperative

See the note below on what can be done to contribute

or click here


The Interpreting Collective is an initiative to establish a qualified and experienced interpreters' co-operative in the UK language services market.  


Get registered

If you haven't registered yet, please do so by clicking the button below. You will then be able to receive newsletters with progress updates about our project. Registration is also the first step needed to receive job offers through our platform in the future. Please check our access criteria first. Only qualified interpreters with work experience will be able to use the platform, or become members of the co-op.  TO SIGN UP CLICK HERE


Attention all interpreters...

Let's build something new together!

In 2018 we set about finding ways out of the grim economic reality many UK interpreters are faced with. We have come up with three solutions and then carefully developed each one:

The first solution is a digital platform. We set up technology to let clients book interpreters directly. We make sure it is quick and simple to do. The result? A bypass around translation agencies in the UK market.

Next, we implement a proper business model. Designed to make the platform profitable, and to ensure we deliver the best value for money. For service buyers, service users, and interpreters alike.

And third, we run things as a co-operative society. Interpreters who use our platform have a say in how it should be run. We put profits at the service of the people. Never the other way around.

This plan is a recipe for a platform co-operative. A brand new type of business that creates a fairer and more inclusive economy. Some of the things we planned haven't been tried before. Our challenge can be great. But so can the reward!

We have more details to share below... (and lots more in the coming weeks)


The thing(s) our platform will do...

AUTOMATION. Platforms are made possible by technology. Activities that until recently required staff to be done, can now be handled autonomously by computers. We will have our platform take over the usual responsibilities of booking management teams. The following tasks will be automated:

  • quoting,

  • sourcing interpreters,

  • sending job offers,

  • allocating jobs to interpreters,

  • managing timesheets,

  • invoicing and accounting,

  • payment processing,

  • payouts to interpreters.

COMMUNICATION. The platform will set up data sharing facilities and enable clients and interpreters to contact each other freely. All files and data shared by clients will be stored securely in the cloud for the duration of the booking. Unauthorised access will be prevented.


DISINTERMEDIATION. Or in other words: cutting out the middleman. This is the outcome we want to bring about. After all of the admin work has been taken care of by the platform, what is there left to do? Only to provide the actual service. But that is precisely the one thing translation agencies cannot do. Because they are not service providers. Interpreters are.


IMPROVEMENT. We thought carefully not only how to automate the booking management process, but also how to make it better for interpreters. Here are some of the improvements you can expect:

  • jobs will be allocated fairly (not to the fastest finger, or the one located nearest),

  • wages will be paid out on a weekly basis,

  • paperless timesheets,

  • timesheets that can be authorised on job completion.

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Getting prices, wages, and profits right

Platforms are two-sided. They connect two distinct user groups who need something from each other, e.g. clients and interpreters. A platform can function only when both groups are present. It means that, as the platform operator, we must be focused on attracting and retaining users. How do we do that? By looking after the interests of both parties and making the terms of the bargain good for everyone. Neither group must be favoured over the other nor exploited for the sake of profits. We made sure our business model will reflect that:

  1. We will charge modest co-op fees on every booking. Thanks to automation our profit margins can be notably lower than at translation agencies.

  2. We reject the idea that the only way to make a profit is by putting a squeeze on interpreters. That's why clients will pay a separate platform service fee for every successful booking. This will take the pressure off the interpreter wage and help limit co-op deductions to no more than 15%.

  3. We will introduce an optional subscription-based model for interpreters. In exchange for a small monthly fee, they will gain access to more opportunities and extra services provided by us.

Regardless of subscription or membership status, wages and terms will be the same for all interpreters:

  • guaranteed minimum payment,

  • satisfactory travel payment,

  • progressive cancellation fee,

  • curtailment fee for 2hrs+ bookings,

  • hourly charging (no 15-min. increments),

  • five possible wage uplifts,

  • full transparency.

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We are not alone!

Our project is supported by The Hive programme from Co-operatives UK, the trade organisation for the British co-ops sector. Since summmer 2019 we have been receiving advice and guidance from a dedicated co-ops expert. We have used it to improve our business model and platform design. More importantly, we have drafted our governing document, a.k.a The Rules. It sets out the goals of our organisation and how all decisions will be made within it. We are now ready to apply to the Financial Conduct Authority to be officially registered as a co-operative society.

cooperatives uk logothe hive logoplatform cooperativism consortium logo


We have also made some valuable contacts:

  • Globally, with The Platform Cooperativism Consortium, which is the intellectual and organisational hub for the worldwide movement of platform co-ops. The Consortium have put us in touch with similar platforms in the USA.

  • In the UK, with two other platforms comparable to ours: Equal Care Coop - for care workers; and SignCo - for sign language interpreters. We support each other by staying in touch and comparing notes whenever necessary. To learn what progress they have made, click the logos below.

equal care coop logosignco logo

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Coming soon...

We have only scratched the surface of the plans and designs that we drafted. Step by step, we will be sharing more information about the #platform and its many features and usage. We will also set out the #business terms and conditions, and rates that we will be rolling out. Finally, we will be explaining the details of our #co-op set-up and membership requirements. All our updates will be labelled with one of the three category tags and linked together on the website.

With the research and general planning almost done, we have completed the first phase of this project. It is now time to move to the next stage and start building the platform. This will require more people, more focus, and more funds. That is why, if you want us to succeed, please engage with us in the coming weeks and months. There are a lot of things we will need help with, and we are counting on your support.

What you can do to #contribute :

Get involved

Look out for updates with the #contribute tag. It will be used whenever we need your help. We may ask for your input, or volunteers, or networking on our behalf. If we launch a crowdfunding campaign early 2020, we will ask for donations too. Without your involvement, no more progress can be made. So please keep an eye on this website, our newsletters, or Facebook and Twitter profiles. Share!

Get in touch

We may be busy, but never too busy to answer your questions! Send us an email whenever you feel you need to know more. We also welcome any feedback, input, or a valuable lead. We will be recruiting more people to join our Steering Group soon, so expect to receive more details about it. But if you already know you would like to be at the centre of it all and help us out, drop us an email today.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Get registered

If you haven't registered yet, please do so by clicking the button below. You will then be able to receive newsletters with progress updates about our project. Registration is also the first step needed to receive job offers through our platform in the future. Please check our access criteria first. Only qualified interpreters with work experience will be able to use the platform, or become members of the co-op.


Would you like to leave a #comment ? 







0 points

2 days ago

It’s all good as far as the idea is concerned but why create a tiered subscription of interpreters? The idea merely divides the interpreters, very much like agencies whom you claim to compete with. What will be the difference between the two groups? Will one get priority job offers and the other leftovers? It is of course fair that the people running the scheme are compensated for their time and efforts and charging a booking fee to the client is one way, but this sounds like a commercial tactic. I think the interpreters all have to either pay or not. I feel some sort of commercialisation is brewing which is a far cry from the initiative initially launched.

Luke Ciolek

0 points

1 days ago

Thank you for your questions Anonymous Visitor. I'm a member of the Steering Group and I've worked on our plans, so I hope I can shed some light on it. The difference between the two tiers of interpreters will be in the package of services the co-op will provide to them. Essentially, we've designed the platform in such a way to enable interpreters to use parts of our platform infrastructure for their own business and their own clients. And yes, I'm afraid it will have to be commercial, because in order to provide certain services to you, we'll need to buy some other services elsewhere. Unfortunately, we're not sitting on war chests of investor money to be able to finance it (like for example Uber does with their cab-hailing platform). Equally, if you're only interested in getting job offers from us and nothing else, we'll make it possible for you free of charge. I hope I've cleared it up a bit. Also, please hold your judgement until you've heard all the details. We hope you'll see that what we've come up with is fair and reasonable. Have a good day! :)



1 point

3 days ago

It sounds amazing! A co op that values our work and skills!! I look forward to helping in the crow funding.


Elena Castrignanò

1 point

3 days ago

Hi everybody! I am delighted to hear such great news and please count me in! We are the service providers and we should be the decision makers, not the agencies which make enormous profits on our skills and hard work. Thank you so much for this initiative and I will be happy to actively participate and give my contribution.



2 points

4 days ago

You are doing a great job. Thank you so much. I will be delighted to contribute. Just let me know.

Hiromi Sakai

Steering Group

0 points

4 days ago

Thank you. We will.


sue leschen

2 points

4 days ago

Thanks for this initiative. It's all about interpreters taking back control so you deserve our support! Sue Leschen

Steering Group

-1 points

4 days ago

Thank you. We are an ocean together.


Andrea Denby

0 points

4 days ago

corr.: online


Andrea Denby

2 points

4 days ago

Thanks colleagues. This is a wonderful effort. Let me know if I can assist you in any way. I can for example read through any material you want to put on line and or in any research related to the project.

Steering Group

0 points

4 days ago

Thank you. We will need all the help we can get


Hana Hill

1 point

4 days ago

Hi, I would like to know more about you please. Who are you? Business people? Interpreters? What's your background, your skills,your education.... It would give me more ideas what to expect from your project. You certainly understand that one could be quite sceptical after so long time of interpreters being underpaid and exploited by the various agencies. Otherwise, your aims and plans sound like music from the heaven!

The steering group members’ details are on the website. We are professional community interpreters who are familiar with the struggles of professional interpreters in the public sector. We believe we had used all the options to improve our worsening circumstances in the Interpreting community in the UK but we achieved nothing. So would like to try something new. That is to unite under one roof as language professionals as a co-op. Our business people will be the legal system, NHS, businesses and all the public sector service providers. We believe it is not like music from heaven. It is achievable. Platform Cooperativism is becoming very popular in the world and it is the way forward against capitalism. Please read the information about it on the website and if you have any other question then do not hesitate to ask. Thank you for your contribution




A journey back in history


Many interpreters are unaware of the history of their profession - and so are many work providers. 

This sometimes leads to a wish to 're-invent' the wheel, when standards have fallen due to working terms & conditions. 

With kind regards, 


Rationale for outsourcing interpreting services in the Justice Sector

Attendance of interpreters within the CJS

The national agreement document provides key guidance for all parties to criminal investigations and proceedings on the selection and treatment of interpreters within the Criminal Justice System. It replaces the National Agreement on Arrangements for the Attendance of Interpreters in Investigations and Proceedings within the Criminal Justice System (2002) and Home Office Circular 17/2006. Below, you will also find the terms and conditions for individuals providing face-to-face interpreting services at court for defendants and prosecution witnesses.

If you have any questions about the use of interpreters in the criminal justice system, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Use Of Interpreters, Translators and Language Service Providers Within The Criminal Justice System 


This guidance is issued by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform. It has been produced in consultation with the Interpreters Working Group, which includes representatives from the Association of Chief Police Officers, Crown Prosecution Service, HM Courts Service, the Probation Service, Home Office, Magistrates' Association, the Bar Council and the Law Society, as well as representatives of interpreter bodies. 

This agreement replaces the National Agreement issued by the Trials Issues Group in 2002, and Home Office Notice 17 of 2006. 

The agreement provides guidance on arranging suitably qualified interpreters and Language Service Professionals (LSPs) when the requirements of Articles 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) apply – see Section 3 below. 

It emphasises that face-to-face interpreters used in this context should be registered with NRPSI, and LSPs used should be registered with CACDP (see paragraph 3.2 below). Note: CACDP replaced by NRCPD)

It covers a number of related issues including security vetting, terms and conditions, outsourcing of interpreter supply, the use of remote interpreting, and engaging translators. This Agreement does not apply to arrangements, which have been made to provide Welsh language interpreters to the courts in Wales

Annex F – Good practice guide on outsourcing 

  1. Introduction As the demand for interpreting and translating services increases, generating rising costs and supply difficulties in certain areas, some CJS agencies may consider outsourcing these services. 

However it is important to bear in mind that the legal responsibility to provide satisfactory interpreting and translating services flows from the United Kingdom’s international treaty obligations and the need to ensure proceedings that comply with those obligations. 

While the decision on whether to pursue outsourcing is for the commissioning body concerned, it is of fundamental importance that the quality of the interpreting and translation services provided should not be compromised as a result, and that contracts specify the full requirements and contingencies. 

These guidelines set out key criteria which are recommended to any CJS agency that is proposing to outsource interpreter and translator service provision to an intermediary body. 

The aim of the guidelines is to: 

  • ensure the provision of satisfactory interpreting and translation services to the Criminal Justice System and to their non-English speaking users; 

  • make provision for the reasonable needs and expectations of current and potential future interpreters and translators; 

  • promote strategies for improving the quantity and quality of interpreters working in the Criminal Justice System in a nationally consistent way. 

  1. Preparing the Outsource 

  2. Any CJS agency planning to outsource the provision of interpreting and translating services is advised to notify its intention – in advance – to interpreters and translators that it regularly uses. They should also be informed, of course, when the contract has been awarded. 

  1. Inviting Bids A draft contract for discussions with prospective bidders should include provisions along the following lines: 

Integrity and reliability 

  1. Any potential supplier of interpreting and translating services should be able to demonstrate: 

  • a sound record of financial and commercial stability and probity, and 

  • a robust and transparent company and service-provision structure that meets all relevant legal and other requirements, providing a sound basis for a contractual relationship. 

Essential services to be provided 

  1. Establishment and management of suitable contracts – with required service standards, performance levels, provisions in case of catastrophic failure of service provider (e.g. data back-up and escrow arrangements), equal opportunities conditions, and complaints or escalation procedures explicitly set out in the body of the contract itself – between public service bodies and intermediaries/agencies and between such agencies and interpreters. 

  1. Provision of a 24/7 contact system, with ability to comply with service-response timescales and other service parameters prescribed. 

  1. Demonstrable ability to work with public service clients and interpreters, associated with – wherever possible – relevant previous experience in appropriate domains, so that service provision can be allocated and carried out on an adequately informed basis. 

Relevant references from other public service bodies should be provided where available. 

  1. Ability to comply with relevant health and safety policies and practices. 

Assuring interpreter quality 

  1. Pay and expenses rates received by the interpreter, as opposed to any intermediary, must be sufficient to encourage NRPSI and CACDP registered and other equivalently qualified interpreters and translators, taking account of the standardised terms and conditions recommended in Section 5.1 of the National Agreement. 

  1. Procedures for verifying that interpreters supplied are, and can be shown to be, security cleared to the level required by the client. 

  1. Access to the current NRPSI and CACDP registers as the primary source of interpreters, and/or otherwise in accordance with guidelines set out in the National Agreement. Performance management 

  1. Provision of monthly management information to the client. This should include: numbers of interpreters and translators supplied, overall and by language and location; statistical information showing ordered (sorted) frequency of use of services, including by language, location, and individual interpreter; performance against contractually prescribed requirements, e.g. response timescales; the percentage of interpreters and translators supplied who are on the NRPSI and CACDP Registers; the percentage of all interpreters and translators supplied who hold the qualifications required for registration on NRPSI and CACDP, whether or not the individuals are so registered; complaints received and resolved; customer satisfaction feedback. 

  1. Provision of credible quality assurance systems and practices. As examples (but these are not to be regarded as definitive – suppliers may have credible alternative proposals), such systems and practices might include: continuous professional development to maintain and upgrade standards of interpreters and translators employed, eg to DPSI level 6 or equivalent and beyond; refresher training, eg in dialects and specialist vocabularies; adherence to the NRPSI/CACDP and/or equivalent codes of conduct, and the reporting of any breaches thereof; and the provision of appropriate support facilities for interpreters – for example in dealing with the personal effects on them of stressful work assignments. 

  1. Identification and prediction, where possible, of likely demand for interpreters and translators by geographical area and by language. 

  1. Suitable contractual provisions defining the management of exit from the contract at the time of its normal or early termination. These provisions should cover at least: 

(i) the establishment, from the outset, of an exit plan, stating the rights and obligations and functions of each party in relation to such exit; and 

(ii) procedures for the hand-over of services from the outgoing service provider to the incoming service provider and/or to the contracting authority, including contractual provision for appropriate degrees of co-operation between the outgoing and incoming service providers, for specified periods both before and after the contract termination date, and hand-over of records, information, knowhow, systems, and/or materials. Recommended optional services for inclusion in the contract 

  1. Priced proposals on recruiting, developing, and maintaining sufficient availability of suitably qualified interpreters. 

  1. Priced proposals on contributing, if requested, to the in-service training of public service staff on working with interpreters and translators. Such optional proposals, if they are requested at the tendering stage, should state the service provider’s capability and capacity to provide such services. It is of no benefit to the public service if the selected service provider’s staff are persistently diverted onto this kind of training contribution work, rather than concentrating on providing the primary services required. D. Managing the contract once it has been Let 

  1. Once a contract has been let, an appropriate manager in the contracting authority should receive and carefully consider the regular management information reports which the contractor is required to provide as set out in paragraph 10 above. Any necessary action should be taken if contractually prescribed performance levels are not being met.

Interpreting in the NHS

Feature: Translation

Jakub Sacharczuk, an interpreter and Board member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, looks at interpreting within the NHS including best practice and technology developments

Imagine a scenario. Arriving at the GP practice but unable to speak English, you bring along a friend to help you. The doctor tells you that you have ‘angina’ and your friend, not knowing the right terminology, uses the same word. If you are unlucky enough to be a Polish-speaking patient, you were just told that you have tonsillitis instead of a heart problem. ‘Angina’ in English and Polish is what is known as a false friend – they sound the same but mean very different things. This is just one example of how poor-quality interpreting within a healthcare environment could have negative consequences.

The NHS is committed to providing equality of access to high-quality healthcare services, including to those for whom English is not their main language or whose hearing impairment could create communication barriers. This principle is enshrined in legislation and a number of documents including the NHS Constitution 2012, the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and the Accessible Information Standard 2016.

However, providing this equality of access is complicated for a variety of reasons including the proportion of the population whose main language is not English and the diversity of languages spoken. According to the most recent census (2011), around 4.2 million people in England and Wales speak a main language other than English or Welsh; this amounts to eight per cent of the population. In London, more than 300 languages are spoken, and, for many people, English is not the primary language spoken at home.

We commonly hear the arguments that people living in the UK should just learn English, and that the NHS is spending too much on interpreting services.

It is important to note that it can take a long time to achieve fluency in a language, and that medical language is one of the last areas acquired in language learning. In addition, for most people language ability can drop in stressful situations.

Such commentary also fails to consider the cost of not providing professional interpreters.

It is not only levels of satisfaction in care that suffer. Academic studies (Flores, 2005 and Karliner et al, 2007) have found that the lack of quality interpreting services can lead to patients’ poor understanding of their diagnosis and planned treatment, and also a higher number of communication errors in total and significant errors (for example, relating to dosage, allergies, past history) which could lead to medical errors. In turn, this can result in sub-optimal care for the patient, higher expenditure due to inefficient diagnosis and treatment, and costly litigation.

All these factors highlight the merits of providing a quality interpreting service, but what are the specific challenges in providing such a service?

The individual interpreter
In addition to being fluent in both English and the patient’s language, the interpreter also needs to have excellent cultural understanding. For example, patients with limited proficiency in English may have health beliefs that stem from their culture or background that are different to the health practitioner’s. The interpreter should remain impartial, but they need to be aware of and able to clarify cultural issues that may result in misunderstandings.

The requirement for: excellent language skills; the ability to recognise and deal with cultural nuances; and the need for total impartiality all mean that it is desirable not to use family or friends as interpreters. The recently published Guidance for commissioners: Interpreting and Translation Services in Primary Care (September 2018) states: “Patients should always be offered a registered interpreter. Reliance on family, friends or unqualified interpreters is strongly discouraged and would not be considered good practice.”

While not always possible, it can be valuable to use the same person to interpret if several contacts are required to enable a relationship of trust and understanding to develop between the client and interpreter.

As regards achieving satisfactory and consistent competency levels in interpreters working for the NHS, economic constraints create an ongoing tension right across the public sector. On the one hand, there is a desire to only use individuals who fulfil a variety of recognised criteria – as enshrined in NHS guidance and the registration requirements of the National Register of Public Service Interpreters.

On the other hand, continued downward pressure on costs within the NHS can lead to low rates of pay and unfavourable working conditions, which is not an incentive for individuals who have spent some years achieving relevant qualifications and membership requirements of industry bodies. The Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) has anecdotal evidence from a number of members who say they have stopped doing such assignments for this reason. The worry is that this effect could lead to an influx of less qualified and experienced practitioners, resulting in a lowering of standards overall.

Meeting the demand for interpreters
Ensuring the availability of interpreters in a wide variety of languages requires an appropriate system to be in place. Typically, NHS trusts will have a bank of freelance interpreters; this may be managed in-house or run by an external agency.
In certain cases, for example when very limited, routine information is needed or where someone is in Accident and Emergency and there is no time to bring in an interpreter, the hospital will commonly use an on-demand telephone interpreting service.

When it is not possible to source a suitably qualified interpreter from the bank, for example for less common languages or dialects, an agency will typically be contacted to fill the gap.
It is important that diversified systems of supply are in place; relying on one source can lead to problems and mean that healthcare professionals find themselves getting bogged down in trying to find a suitable interpreter.

Face-to-face consultation
The qualified and experienced interpreter can be trusted to arrange seating in a way that works for all the participants and aids effective communication. Above all, the doctor (or anyone else speaking) should talk directly to the patient, not to the person who is facilitating their communication.

An interpreted consultation will of necessity be longer than an equivalent meeting with an English-speaking patient. The previously referenced guidance for commissioners in primary care states that the time taken will be ‘typically double that of a regular appointment’.

In some cases, it may be desirable to have a pre-session briefing with the interpreter, such as for mental health issues or where there may be discussions about a sensitive or culturally ‘taboo’ issue.

The dynamic of the three-way communication involving an interpreter is very different to that of a conversation between only the healthcare professional and patient. Training medical students and health professionals in how to consult through interpreters using role-play has been shown to significantly improve skills and confidence (Bansal et al 2014).

Following a patient consultation, debriefing between interpreter and clinician is also valuable so that the clinician can gain additional relevant information on the linguistics or cultural references that might have affected the communication. This could be particularly useful for follow-up appointments to understand if any parts of the interaction with the patient can be improved.

Remote interpreting
Remote interpreting, by telephone or some other digital means, is becoming increasingly common and offers a number of advantages in terms of cutting back on travel and therefore time and costs, and enabling communication in situations where it would not otherwise be possible. However, it is important to sound a note of caution; this type of interpreting should only be used to complement the interpretation service in cases when a face-to-face interpreter is not an option rather than as an alternative.

Much communication is non-verbal, meaning by default that telephone interpreting has more potential to create misunderstanding. There is also the possibility of communication difficulties arising from the technology and the risk of patients feeling alienated. It should be avoided for complicated procedures, serious diagnoses and mental health encounters. And it is of no use at all to the hearing impaired for whom eye contact, clear expression and non-verbal gestures are essential.

Remote technology that offers video has wider potential as it more closely resembles an actual face-to-face meeting.

ITI puts forward a number of recommendations about the use of remote interpreting in its recently published (2019) position statement on this subject, including the importance of maintaining identical requirements for interpreters in terms of qualifications, experience and briefing, whether they are working on site or remotely.

Technology developments will continue to offer new opportunities for innovation and efficiencies, but will require capital investment to reduce the present limitations and for now cannot diminish the continued importance of face-to-face interpreting within the NHS.

Further Information:

UK Gives Heads Up on USD 100m Translation and Interpreting Contract

4 Weeks Ago

Demand Drivers · 

By Esther Bond

On June 20, 2019

UK Gives Heads Up on USD 100m Translation and Interpreting Contract

Keeping track of public sector RFPs is part and parcel of life for many language service providers (LSPs) that wish to compete in the high-volume space. The bidding process tends to be lengthy and complex, and companies can find themselves in a scramble to submit the tender documents on time.

So it certainly makes the task a little easier when the buyer gives plenty of advance warning on any new and recurring tenders!

In this particular instance, the UK government is, at least, a good few months in advance with its announcement that the //">ESPO contract will soon be up for renewal. ESPO is the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organization. The expression of interest window opened in June on the ESPO website and will not close until November 29, 2019.

The contract is due to start in April 2020 to coincide with the end of the four-year maximum duration of the current contract. The existing framework began back in May 2016, when 13 LSPs were selected for the large-scale, multi-year interpreting and translation framework contract. It was reported to be worth between GBP 40m and GBP 120m over its lifetime, with a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years.

The new framework contract (ESPO 402_20) is //">worth up to GBP 80m (USD 101m), also over a maximum of four years. A Prior Information notice, published on the //">UK government contracts finder portal indicates that the budget for the contract is GBP 20m (USD 25m) per year until 2022, after which the extension option may be applied. By its very nature, however, a framework contract does not guarantee volumes of work.

Current ESPO Suppliers

And what of the suppliers listed on the existing framework contract? At least one named supplier has fallen by the wayside in the past three years. London-based Pearl Linguistics went into liquidation in March 2017, leaving more than 2,000 creditors holding the bag.

Meanwhile, Language Empire Ltd has been embroiled in a legal dispute with rival LSP thebigword over cybersquatting and the imitation of thebigword’s logo — which recently culminated in the UK court ordering Language Empire to pay thebigword nearly GBP 250,000 in costs and damages.

Aside from Pearl Linguistics and Language Empire, the other current suppliers are AA Global Language ServicesAtoZ Interpreting & Translation ServicesCapital TIDA LanguagesITL (North East)LanguageLine, NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit, OncallPapillon TranslationsPrestige Network, and thebigword. Slator reached out to most of the companies listed as suppliers in the existing framework contract, asking whether they intend to participate in the new tender.

Only Oncall confirmed that they would be bidding for all seven lots of the new tender. Oncall Bid and Communications Manager, Alex Fairie, said they are in the existing framework contract for face-to-face interpreting, telephone interpreting, and video interpreting services.

As with the previous version of the contract, ESPO 402_20 comprises seven lots for face-to-face interpreting, over-the-phone interpreting (OPI), video remote interpreting (VRI), and translation and transcription. The video and face-to-face interpreting lots involve both verbal and signed services.

Difficulties Servicing the Contract

There may be some general discontent among those servicing the ESPO contract about the low rates agreed. In the case of face-to-face interpreting, for example, the contract does not allow for travel costs or mileage to be paid.

As a result, it could become increasingly difficult for suppliers to service the contract; which can lead to delays in interpreters being deployed onsite, particularly in the case of rarer languages or hard-to-reach locations.

This is especially problematic in the case of time-sensitive matters for the police, who have historically been a big user of the ESPO contract. When holding a suspect, for example, the police normally have up to 24 hours to release or charge an individual.

If the situation sounds familiar, it is because it is indeed reminiscent of a recent and similar controversy in Denmark. Interpreters were riled by the low fees offered as part of a huge interpretation contract worth USD 80m. In one case, the Danish police released a shoplifter because they could not get an interpreter. And, still fresh in the minds of UK suppliers, is the massive Ministry of Justice (MoJ) interpreting contract that was the subject of much strife: Around 2,600 court cases were adjourned in the UK from 2011 to 2016 as a direct result of failures in interpreting services.



Interpreting and Translation Updates 

by Klasiena Slaney  Twitter: interpreter@nrpsinterpreter 

interpreter language notes


Where is The Privatisation of Court Interpreting Heading?

‏ @AishaManiar
12 hours ago


Where is The Privatisation of Court Interpreting Heading? #MOJFWA

"The government’s experiments with outsourcing and technology have failed to improve quality. Quantity is also hindered by the fact that there are simply not enough qualified interpreters, even if there many people who speak multiple languages with varying levels of fluency. Even if the Ministry decides to run the current contract into its three years of annual optional extensions, at some point, it will have to start thinking about the third instalment of the language framework agreement.

Alternatively, it could try listening to professional interpreters. Almost a decade after initiating this chaos in the courts for foreign and sign language users, the time should have come for it to consider letting the framework agreement go altogether."  

July 18, 2019 by Aisha Maniar  

Where is The Privatisation of Court Interpreting Heading?

On an average day, the services of professional spoken (foreign) and unspoken (deaf spectrum) language interpreters are required in over 600 civil and criminal cases heard before the courts and tribunals in England and Wales. Interpreters do not fulfil an auxiliary or support role. They are an essential component of the English legal system, ensuring equality before the law through non-discrimination and the right to a fair trial by enabling parties to participate in proceedings in a language they understand.

Like other parts of the English legal system, a decade of cuts and outsourcing through austerity measures, on the pretext of reducing costs and increasing efficiency, have seen the quality of the service fall irreparably. However, working with migrant and disabled communities who are already marginalised and silenced in mainstream discourse, the plight of professional interpreters seldom attracts as much interest as professionals working in other areas of the law.IMG_20170409_172005

Framework agreement I

Court interpreting was privatised in 2011 through a Ministry of Justice 5-year £90 million framework agreement, delivered by public service outsourcing giant Capita. Prior to this agreement, courts procured interpreters through small local agencies or directly via the voluntary regulators for spoken and unspoken languages.

Under a pre-2011 national agreementcourt interpreters were paid “a minimum of £85 for the first three hours at court, and £30 per hour thereafter, with travel time paid at £15 per hour and public transport travel expenses in full, or mileage at £0.25”.

The first framework agreement, which ended in October 2016, saw rates plunge to £16 to £22 an hour “with a minimum fee of just one hour and no payment of public transport charges”; it also introduced a new tier ranking system for qualifications.

Successive ministers have claimed that this contract resulted in the Ministry of Justice spending “£38m less on language service fees”. These unsubstantiated savings could only have been made by slashing the fees paid to interpreters, passed on in large part to the middlemen agencies under the contract, not for any specialist linguistic or legal services, but for having the IT skills to set up a database to centralise bookings.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of qualified and experienced interpreters boycotted the contract from the outset. Many have not returned to the profession. Prior to the first contract in 2011, there were not enough qualified interpreters; this situation remains unchanged.

Framework agreement II

Ignoring criticism of the first framework agreement with Capita, the Ministry rebooted the system in 2016 with a new configuration. Awarding the contracts for spoken and non-spoken languages to different agencies and introducing a quality assurance component gave the current agreement a less monopolistic gloss.

The current 4-year framework agreement, worth £232.4 million, is one of the largest language services contracts in the world. thebigword, runner-up to Capita in 2011, took the lion’s share of the contract with spoken language interpreting and translation in a reported £120 million deal. The current contract also covers other areas of the legal system.

Although thebigword shares the justice sector contract with Clarion (for non-spoken languages) and The Language Shop, providing quality assurance, it has an effective monopoly on public service foreign language interpreting. It is “the only language service provider (LSP) to be listed on all four Government contract frameworks” for other public service sectors, and states “We’re also proud to hold the UK’s biggest public sector interpreting contract with the Ministry of Justice.”


Months ahead of winning the second framework agreement, thebigword underwent a number of high-level changes, including re-registering “as a private limited company (Ltd) from a public limited company (Plc). One key difference between the two legal identities is that an Ltd comes with less stringent disclosure requirements” in February 2016.

Executive Chairman Larry Gould states that the company’s 28.3% increase in revenue in 2018 to almost £76.3 million “can be explained by the full year impact of the Ministry of Justice contract”. Unlike its predecessor Capita, thebigword is reported to have made the framework agreement profitable. However, like Capita, it has used the prestige of being awarded the Ministry of Justice’s language framework agreement to further its growth and reputation in the legal sector, launching a separate legal and justice division in 2018.

Well-known for its low rates of pay to both translators and interpreters, thebigword’s profits from the Ministry of Justice contract are not reflected in its court interpreters rates of £18 to £24 per hour depending on the language, along with a small fee for transport costs. Outside of this framework, thebigword pays interpreters on its NHS and other public service contracts £14 to £17 per hour, which are equally unsustainable and offer no incentive to qualified and experienced interpreters.


Under the current contract, languages are classified as standard languages (41), “languages permitted exceptional qualification requirements’ (languages without DPSI, Diploma in Public Service Interpreting)” (151) and special services (7) for non-spoken languages. The DPSI is the standard qualification required for foreign languages where it exists for them.

For the 151 languages without DPSI, graduate and postgraduate level language qualifications are required along with extensive experience. For many minority languages, no language qualifications exist at all, and training interpreters to work with them is a challenge for international courts as well. An initiative to deal with this situation for professional interpreters in the UK is being offered by DPSI Online to train interpreters working with rarer languages to overcome the skills gap.

Recently updated guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on using interpreters states that interpreters should be NRPSI (National Register of Public Service Interpreters) registered for foreign languages. For deaf court users, the guidance is: “Only registered Sign Language Interpreters or Lip speakers should be used. The Council for the advancement of Communication with Deaf people (CACDP) is the national examining and registration body for sign language interpreters and details of qualified Sign Language.”

Bricks in the wall

Rising profits at the expense of low rates offered to professional linguists makes it hard for thebigword to attract and retain good-quality qualified interpreters. The company has acknowledged that it does not always use qualified interpreters:


Further leaked proof shows that thebigword not only admits they don’t have qualified #interpreters but also that they often use unqualified people for courts @HMCTSgovuk @MoJGovUK, are you waiting for a G4S moment?


Chris Grayling’s privatisation of probation service ‘a disaster’ - Since the research was carried out, the government has announced plans to bring the probation service fully back into public ownership.

A tale of outsourcing in turmoil: the Home Office privatised visa processing functions last Autumn, leading to chaos & delays. Sopra Steria, the provider, has now quietly dropped its subcontractor which provided VIP visa services & legal advice @FT excl: via @financialtimes

Richard Burgon MP‏Verified account @RichardBurgon
 Jul 4

Today I secured an urgent debate on the troubling role of private outsourcing giant Serco in our justice system. Serco has been fined millions over the prison tagging scandal. We need to break the hold these private companies have on our justice system. /> 

‏Verified account @RichardBurgon Jul 3

Richard Burgon MP Retweeted Sky News

Time after time we see the disastrous consequences of these outsourcing giants playing such a role in our justice system. It's time to break the hold the private sector has at the Ministry of Justice - and build a justice system that prioritises public safety not private profit.

Richard Burgon MP added,

Sky NewsVerified account @SkyNews

Outsourcing company, Serco is to pay £22.9m in fines and costs after allegations it had been charging the government for supervising people who were either dead, in jail, or had left the country 

ashok kumar‏Verified account @broseph_stalin
 Jul 10

VICTORY! Birkbeck has announced they’ll stop outsourcing and directly employ all the cleaners - woohoo! - congrats to all the workers and supporters who campaigned to make this happen!

United Voices of the World‏ @UVWunion
 Jul 13

BREAKING NEWS: UVW has won statutory recognition at the @MoJGovUK to collectively bargain with OCS on behalf of cleaners & security guards at the MoJ's HQ at 102 Petty France!

Also - MoJ cleaners are re-balloting for strike action which will close next week so stay tuned!

Language services brought in-house - long-term financial savings by avoiding middleman agencies 

“NHS Tayside has a core of employed interpreters who focus on the provision of face-to-face interpreting for the three top languages – British Sign Language, Polish, and Arabic.NEWS / SCOTLAND

£364,000 bill for health board translators revealed   

Justice Department Replaces Interpreters With Videos


To counter the news below: 

'Interpreting and effective advocacy at the Court of Justice of the EU'

Court of Justice of the European Union Published on Jun 12, 2019 - This short animation provides tips and guidelines for pleading effectively in the multilingual environment of the Court of Justice of the European Union; it explains how interpreting functions and how to make it work well for the parties and the members of the court.

Immigration Judges Are Railing Against A Plan To Replace Court Interpreters With Videos In Internal Emails … via @haleaziz “I am not sure you could imagine a more blatant violation of due process than hampering an individual’s ability to communicate with the court,” she said. “During these initial hearings, migrants are supposed to plead to DHS’s accusations and let the court know what sort of relief (if any) they intend to apply. It is laughable to think a prerecorded video, in the place of an interpreter, will increase the efficiency of these proceedings.”  

At the Stroke of a Pen

As we wrote in this week’s coverage of the Trump administration’s nascent efforts to deregulate language access in the US healthcare and judicial systems, increasing regulations have tended to favor the language industry over the past decades. Multilingual mutual fund fact sheets in the EU, interpreting services for recently arrived immigrants in Sweden, or translations of clinical trial protocols submitted to Korean health authorities — regulators drive demand across the language industry.

While some say demand in regulated industries is more steady and predictable, it may also be subject to shifts in popular sentiment (“Why should taxpayers pay for X, Y, and Z?”) or efforts to reduce friction (as in Europe’s Unitary Patent), and disappear at the stroke of a pen. Demand may be strong in regulated industries, but LSPs would be wise to maintain a sizeable part of their business firmly rooted in areas beyond the reach of regulators.

Justice Department Replaces Interpreters With Videos, Making Immigration Even More Dystopian


The Trump administration announced today that they will end the practice of allowing in-person interpretersat initial court hearings for migrants and ...

DOJ wants to replace interpreters with video explaining rights at first deportation hearings: report - The Hill

Trump administration ending in-person interpreters at immigrants' first hearings - San Francisco Chronicle

Immigration Court Interpreter Change Has Advocates Worried About Rights - Newsmax

Full Coverage

'It's all just confused people': Lack of proper interpretation at Queens Housing Court denies equal ...

“There's one interpreter [for the court chamber] and she doesn't interpret every word. It seems like she doesn't want to be there–maybe it's a hard job,” ...




Swedish Opposition Leader Calls For Partial Abolition of Non-Natives' Right to Free Interpreters

Sputnik International

Currently, government authorities and healthcare services in Sweden are legally bound to hire interpreters if they are so requested by citizens.

NRPSI calls on government and the public services to only use Registered Public Service Interpreters

in order to ensure their own protection

Published: 12 July 2018 Topic: NRPSI News

As the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) launches its fifth Annual Review of the UK public service interpreting profession, it is calling on the UK government and public services to only use Registered Interpreters so as to avoid jeopardising the standard of the services they provide and public safety.

Stephen Bishop explains: “Safeguarding issues have dominated public, political and media discourse in recent times, bringing to the fore the need for those professions and professionals working closely with the public services and vulnerable members of the public to be regulated. The existence of NRPSI as the Regulator of public service interpreting and the commitment to professional standards of the 1,807 NRPSI Registered Interpreters mean that the public service interpreting profession is one step ahead in meeting this need. But, the profession can only continue to service this requirement with government’s and the public services’ support for its registered professionals. Government and the public services can provide this support by ensuring that they only use NRPSI Registered Interpreters.”

The NRPSI Annual Review, which provides independent analysis of the information held on the National Register about Registered Interpreters and their languages at 31 December 2017, shows that 93% of Registrants have a language registered at Full status, meaning that they possess both the necessary qualification in this language and 400 hours’ experience of using it in a public service setting. Furthermore, it highlights that the average length of time that interpreters stay on the Register has increased to more than 10 years, indicating their commitment to high professional standards. Highlights from the latest NRPSI Annual Review:

• 1,807 public service interpreters are registered with NRPSI, demonstrating their commitment to professionalism.
• 93% of Registrants have a language registered at Full status, meaning that they possess both the necessary qualification in this language and 400 hours’ experience of using it in a public service setting.
• 103 different languages are registered, with 15% of Registrants offering more than one language.
• The most popular languages registered are Polish and Urdu. • Almost two thirds of Registrants are women (65%).
• The largest age band is for Registrants aged between 45 and 54.
• 2,587 interpreting qualifications are held by the 1,807 Registrants. Of the Registrants, 37% hold two or more interpreting qualifications.
• All Registrants are required to provide evidence of at least one valid security clearance, as this is required by public service users. More than half (57%) hold more than one type of clearance.

The Annual Review also contains key information on professional standards. It looks at the number of complaints brought against Registrants, their nature and NRPSI’s performance in dealing with them.

Ted Sangster, NRPSI Chair, says: “A defining characteristic of the public service interpreting profession is quality. It is the quality of the qualifications and experience of our 1,800+ Registered Interpreters and the interpreting services that they deliver that sets them apart; they represent the pinnacle of the interpreting profession. Their commitment to standards and professionalism, as is evidenced by our fifth Annual Review, is worthy of the widest recognition. And this acknowledgement and support for Registered Interpreters from the wider interpreting community, government and the public services is vital if we are to maintain a high-quality public service interpreting profession for the greater good.”

To view/download a copy of NRPSI’s Annual Review 2017, visit:

Overview of changes in Interpreting National Occupational Standards

In the May 2018 Registrants’ Newsletter we reported that the revised National Occupational Standards (NOS) in Interpreting had been published. To enable you to easily identify the changes made to the previous edition of the standards, NRPSI Practitioner Director Silvina Katz has produced a guide to the new NOS. (Photo by Mindandi / Freepik)

National Occupational Standards Review
Published: 20 July 2018

Silvina Katz provides on overview of the main changes made to the National Occupational Standards for Interpreting as a result of the review carried out in 2016-2017, part funded by NRPSI
Published: 20 July 2018
Topic: NRPSI Newsread more »

National Occupational Standards for Interpreting Review A National Occupational Standard (NOS) is a document that describes the knowledge, skills and understanding an individual needs to be competent at a job. The NOS are the raw material on which apprenticeships and vocational programmes are built and are designed to provide a set of competence statements that describe what the fully competent worker should know and be able to do.

The interpreting standards are designed to cover all forms of interpreting including conference and non-spoken languages, and not just public service interpreting. They provide a benchmark that allows institutions and employers to develop and design curricula and training programmes and assessment, and ultimately provide the foundation to lead to job opportunities.

NRPSI uses the NOS to assess qualifications. A review of the Interpreting NOS was carried out in 2017 to update current practice and future occupational requirements and included consultations with interested parties, including NRPSI Registrants.

This review was funded by NRPSI along with the National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD), Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters (SASLI), Institute of British Sign Language (IBSL), Interpreter Now and Red Dot who came together to engage Instructus to manage the review.

Earlier reviews had been undertaken in 2006 and 2010. Some of the key changes implemented as a result of the review include:
• removal of the trainee standards
• standards were combined in key functional areas where appropriate, for clarity
• new standard added for remote interpreting (
• updating of knowledge and understanding of spoken and signed language required e.g. complex level for interpreters’ working languages (equivalent to C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for languages) (
• “Support interpreting through sight translations of simple written documents” competence was replaced by “Produce sight translations within interpreting assignments” (

• The term “draft translation” was replaced by the term “immediate translation” to reflect the facts both that the translations produced by interpreters are often used as the final form of the translation, eg in police statements, and that the translation is required as part of an interpreting assignment, making it impractical to engage a separate qualified translator for the work (

All of the completed and approved NOS are kept on a database – UK Standards. NRPSI includes a link to the standards on its Related Links website page.

Overview of the latest Interpreting NOS The National Occupational Standards for Interpreting comprise a suite of nine standards:

Assess your ability to undertake interpreting assignments (CFAINT01)

This standard is about assessing your ability to undertake interpreting assignments. This involves establishing the nature of the interpreting assignment, the scope of the assignment, the degree of complexity and any health and safety considerations, for example, physical, emotional and personal safety. It also includes assessing your availability and your level of skills and competence to professionally deliver the assignment in line with ethical considerations and relevant codes of conduct.

This standard is for all interpreters who undertake interpreting assignments.

Prepare for interpreting assignments (CFAINT02)

This standard is about preparing for interpreting assignments. This involves using a range of information sources to prepare for interpreting assignments (for example, internet, leaflets, video, glossaries and technical journals), planning appropriately and organising interpreting activities to create the best conditions for effective interpreting including planning any health and safety considerations (for example, physical, emotional and personal safety). It also includes the need to be fully aware of the role of the professional interpreter, the principles of professional practice, relevant codes of conduct and any relevant legal requirements.

This standard is for all interpreters who undertake interpreting assignments.

Interpret one-way as a professional interpreter (CFAINT03)

This standard is for interpreters who carry out one-way interpreting assignments. This involves being able to interpret accurately, one-way, in the target language. It includes being able to select and use the appropriate mode of interpreting for the occasion (i.e. consecutive or simultaneous/whispered) and being able to use technology and equipment effectively and safely, for example microphones, telephones, video technology, video link, interpreting booth and mobile interpreting equipment, as appropriate. It also includes monitoring the effectiveness of the interpreting and addressing any problems and issues that may arise.

Interpret two-way as a professional interpreter (CFAINT04)

This standard is for interpreters who carry out two-way interpreting assignments. This involves being able to interpret interactions between two or more language participants. It includes being able to select and use the appropriate mode of interpreting for the occasion (i.e. consecutive or simultaneous/whispered) and interpreting accurately, the meaning intended by participants, who are communicating with each other between two languages. It also includes being able to use technology and equipment effectively and safely, for example, microphone, video link and telephone, as appropriate, monitoring the effectiveness of the interpreting and addressing any problems and issues that may arise.

Evaluate and develop your professional practice as an interpreter (CFAINT05)

This standard is about evaluating and developing your professional practice as an interpreter. This is expressed in two elements:
• Evaluate professional practice as an interpreter
• Plan and implement continuous professional development (CPD)

This involves reflecting on and evaluating your preparation, planning, delivery and management of interpreting assignments including reflecting on your professional practice and behaviour as an interpreter. It includes being able to identify the current and future requirements of your role and professional practice as an interpreter, identifying any gaps in your knowledge and skills and making use of feedback, support and advice from others, for example, participants, colleagues, mentors, peers, supervisors, line managers and professionals who work in the specific domain, where relevant. It also includes being able to plan and implement continuous professional development by creating a professional development plan to develop your professional practice, knowledge and skills.

NRPSI Registrants might want to review this standard to provide an overall structure to their CPD practice.

Produce sight translations within interpreting assignments (CFAINT06)

This standard is for interpreters who produce sight translations of written/video texts from the source language into the target language as part of interpreting assignments. The interpreter may be required to do this within the context of an interpreting assignment, when there is a text, the content of which needs to be translated at sight. This involves being able to assess whether a sight translation can be undertaken within a reasonable time during the interpreting assignment and producing a sight translation of the text, conveying its meaning accurately and fluently. Text can include correspondence, personal status certificates, information leaflets, administrative forms, video clips and text messages.

Produce immediate translations within interpreting assignments (CFAINT07)

This standard is for interpreters who produce immediate translations of written or signed texts (for example, police witness statements, voicemail, emails, text/video messages, signed complaints) into written form, within interpreting assignments. This involves assessing whether an immediate translation of the text, as part of the interpreting assignment, is appropriate and can be produced considering the restrictions of time, the purpose of the immediate translation and any requirements for additional preparation and research. This also includes being able to produce an immediate translation that accurately reflects the overall meaning and function of the source text in the target language, within the timescales agreed, as part of the interpreting assignment.

Work with other interpreters (CFAINT08).

This standard is about working with other professional interpreters (including relay interpreting). This involves carrying out any necessary preparation with colleague interpreters for interpreting assignments and negotiating and agreeing with colleague interpreters how the assignment will be conducted in the most effective way. This includes working effectively with other interpreters and supporting colleague interpreters, where necessary. It also includes evaluating the effectiveness of the assignment with colleague interpreters.

This standard is for interpreters who work with other professional interpreters in joint/team interpreting assignments, including co-workers.

Undertake remote interpreting assignments (CFAINT09).

This new standard is for interpreters who undertake remote interpreting assignments using technology and equipment. Remote interpreting is where the interpreter and/or one or more of the participants are in different locations.

Examples include interpreting via telephone and/or video conferencing and/or other remote systems. This involves setting up and preparing for remote interpreting assignments, interpreting in a manner appropriate to the technology and equipment being used and evaluating the delivery of remote interpreting assignments, seeking participant’s feedback, where relevant.

Silvina Katz July 2018

How the Public Sector and Regulations Shaped Language Services Demand in 2017 | Slator

The single agency model or the pooling of translation spending by big public sector organizations in the UK has been controversial as it is believed to drive prices down and deemed detrimental to LSPs such as the case of the London-based Perl Linguistics which filed for bankruptcy in March. However, other countries in Europe have been following suit.

Finland’s Procurement Agency Blamed for Language Contract Chaos - According to a source close to the matter, Hansel, the Finnish government’s centralized procurement unit, cancelled the EUR 37.5m interpretation contract yet again after having announced the winners — “not even the tender but the whole decision. The reason: vagueness in the quality assessment.” 

Meanwhile, a heated debate in Australia erupted mid-year due to the government’s move to introduce a different system of accreditation to qualify professional interpreters and translators beginning January 2018. The state regulators insist that reform is long overdue and the initiative would raise the standards for translation and interpretation in the country. 

In September, the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity (JCCD) also published a comprehensive guideline on how interpreters should be selected for their work based on their level of skills and experience and closely aligns with the new system of accreditation

How the Public Sector and Regulations Shaped Language Services Demand in 2017

by Eden Estopace on December 27, 2017

The demand side remained strong in 2017, buoyed by at least three factors — the continued pooling of translation spending in the public sector that has led to many large contracts awarded during the year, an ever-expanding linguistic diversity across the world that underpins the need for governments to increase translation and interpreter spending, and a whole gamut of legislative and regulatory policies meant to standardize translation procurement and introduce reforms.

The opening salvo for the year was the awarding of a GBP 100m (USD 134.7m) contract by the UK’s National Health Service. Fourteen language service providers (LSPs) won the bid for the framework contracts for face-to-face interpretation, over the phone (OTP) interpretation, document translation, and one-stop-shop translation.

Meanwhile, the UK’s giant court interpreting contract awarded in 2016 with an estimated four-year spend pegged at GBP 232.4m (USD 289m) through 2020 went into full swing in 2017 under a new LSP contractor. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) reported a 98% fulfillment rate in its mid-year report, with an estimated 36,000 to 40,000 translation requests per quarter.

The single agency model or the pooling of translation spending by big public sector organizations in the UK has been controversial as it is believed to drive prices down and deemed detrimental to LSPs such as the case of the London-based Perl Linguistics which filed for bankruptcy in March. However, other countries in Europe have been following suit.

In Scotland, the government has awarded a GBP 12m (USD 15.6m) contract for interpreting, translation, and transcription services translation and interpretation contract to two Glasgow-based LSPs under the same single agency model.

In Finland, despite an 83% drop in asylum seekers, which have been driving the demand for over-the-phone (remote) and on-site interpretation, the government awarded a major interpretation contract worth EUR 37.5m (USD 44.5m) in March only to cancel it a month later in April.

Spain and Ireland were more successful. In August, the Catalonia Police awarded an EUR 5.6m translation and interpretation contract to cover areas where the General Police Directorate (Direccio General de la Policia) does not have enough staff or resources to meet translation and interpretation needs. In the same month, the Office of Government Procurement in Ireland also awarded a contract worth EUR 5m (USD 5.9m) to build up the translation of government documents and manage translation projects across the public sector.

In Dubai, a major translation project is now in full swing as the government ordered to translate mathematics- and science-focused educational content for use by 50 million Arab students by 2018. 

EU Demand, Pricing Still High

Despite the increasing use of machine translation across industries and across countries, there is still a good pipeline of translation and interpreting contracts coming from the European Union.

In September 2017, Slator reported that the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (CdT), the provider of linguistic shared services to EU agencies, expects to translate 763,212 pages in 2018, a mere 0.3% increase from 2017, but still with a budget projected to reach EUR 47.7m (USD 56.3m) by 2018.

What is most striking in CdT’s report is that even with a new pricing structure enforced starting 2017, translation per page at CdT will still average EUR 82 (USD) per page for ordinary documents and EUR 34.5 (USD) for trademarks in 2018. Video subtitling will also cost EUR 41 (USD) per minute.  

The EU is also continuing its push for a digital single market and has continued to award contracts within the language services space throughout the year, including a EUR 5.8m (USD) Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) automated translation contract and the EUR 1.9m (USD) project to integrate the EU’s existing machine translation platform into various multilingual, cross-border digital services.

US Translation Spending

Eleven months into the year, Slator reported that US government spending on translationat USD 517.2m has already surpassed spending for the whole year of 2016 (USD 497.7m). The bulk of these translation contract (over 77%) was won by just 20 companies, including SOS International, ABM Government Services, and Worldwide Language Resources.

Earlier in May, Slator also reported that the US language industry has doubled its headcount within seven years from 15,484 in 2008 to 29,720 in 2015, according to data released by the Census Bureau. Total payroll also rose from USD 0.76bn in 2008 to 1.33bn in 2015. Job creation was found to be most active in the West of the United States (California, Texas, Arizona).

This augurs well for an industry that is thought to be consolidating further. As spending grew, however, other challenges surface, including wage and labor issues as well as project delays.

Expanding Linguistic Diversity

The impetus for sustained and even growing translation spending in the public sector is the ever-expanding linguistic diversity across nations.

New York City has expanded language services to citizens with limited English proficiency (LEP) through a local law that will require government agencies to translate documents in four more languages — Arabic, French, Urdu, and Polish, bringing to 10 the number of foreign languages now supported by local governments.

The choice of languages was based on data from the US Census and the Department of Education that more New Yorkers now speak a foreign language than before. The addition of four more languages as part of government services is expected to benefit 86% of New Yorkers.

Similar initiatives have been introduced in the cities of Florida and Ottawa and the state of Victoria in Australia. But as Slator reported in January, the next frontier of language services is India, with 22 official languages, about 122 major languages, over 1,599 dialects and other languages, and multiple writing systems.

KPMG-Google report released in April even cited the role of LSPs and freelance linguists in India’s digital language ecosystem. The report projected that with the continued increase in Indian language internet users in the world’s second most populous country, there will be a corresponding increase in “hyper local consumption of local content,” which will require more translations.

In Canada, Census data shows that more people are now speaking a language other than English and French, the country’s two official languages. The government will definitely have a role in expanding language access. Translation in the public sector, however, was beset by turmoil in the 83-year-old Translation Bureau throughout 2016.

Recovering from various setbacks this year, the bureau, which still handles 80% of the Canadian government’s translation volume, appointed a new CEO in May, who is now driving the agency’s second wind and charting new directions for the agency on a revised business model that is more in step with the times.

Legislation and Other Reforms

Legislation is a thorny issue in California. Recent amendments to the state’s Labor Code had California interpreters in an uproar over what they claimed as undercutting of professional interpreter fees as a result of a provision in the law that allows doctors, lawyers or insurance providers to use the services of provisionally certified interpreters instead of professionals.

In May, an advocacy group of interpreters lost their bid to challenge another set of provisions in the state law that tightens procedures for claiming payments for interpretation services in government. The court insisted that the legislation is meant to curb rising incidence of medical fraud and raise the quality of interpretation standards.

Another law passed in 2016 meant to improve California’s medical interpretation services, however, has yet to be implemented as Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), which is tasked to implement the new law, was still in the process of hiring a project lead when Slator reported the issue in August.

These issues were important as California is home to the largest number of language industry employees in the US, which was estimated to reach 6,085 in 2015, according to the Census Bureau. In terms of pay, however, California’s annual average income for language industry professionals at USD 41,000 per annum lags behind New York’s USD 64,000.

On a more positive note, a new bill approved in October is expected to improve access to health care language assistance services available to LEP individuals in California. Meanwhile, California’s state courts may be using more virtual remote interpreting (VRI) technology to benefit LEP clients in the state.

Meanwhile, a heated debate in Australia erupted mid-year due to the government’s move to introduce a different system of accreditation to qualify professional interpreters and translators beginning January 2018. The state regulators insist that reform is long overdue and the initiative would raise the standards for translation and interpretation in the country.

In September, the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity (JCCD) also published a comprehensive guideline on how interpreters should be selected for their work based on their level of skills and experience and closely aligns with the new system of accreditation.

Indeed, there were challenges and opportunities and many of these issues will continue to play out in 2018.

Courts: Interpreters: 7 Sep 2017: Hansard Written Answers - TheyWorkForYou

Click Here

Mark Hendrick Labour/Co-operative, Preston
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many British sign language court interpreters are available in each region in England.
Hansard source
(Citation: HC Deb, 7 September 2017, cW)
Dominic Raab The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice
The provision of British Sign Language interpreters to the Ministry of Justice has been provided by Clarion UK Ltd since 31st October 2016.

The current number of interpreters available for use by Clarion under this contract is 353. The table below sets out a notional spread of these interpreters across each of the HMCTS regions within England and Wales, this regional breakdown is based on the interpreter’s home postcode, and so it should be noted that these interpreters may be deployed to any location across England and Wales.

Number of British Sign Language Interpreters
South East 75
South West 15
London 64
North East 20
North West 73
Wales 24
Midlands 82

In addition to these 353 interpreters available through Clarion, the Ministry of Justice may make use of additional, locally sources British Sign Language interpreters on an ‘off contract’ basis, where it is in the best interests of justice to do so.

Blame game begins as Google Translate stands in for court interpreter

To read the Law Society Gazette article click here

We Will Not Stand By As Our Jobs And Rights Are Ruined

NICKY EVANS reports on her union NUBSLI’s boycott victory over greedy employers

THE National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI) has won a victory over low fees and adverse terms and conditions with Language Line Solutions (LLS), a language translation agency which holds one of the largest government framework contracts.

In November 2016 NUBSLI initiated a boycott of contracts held by LLS in Sheffield, which was joined by London interpreters in December.

NUBSLI worked hard to raise concerns over the use of frameworks since they were first proposed in 2015. The government’s Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which established the first language and translation framework, introduced terms that were below industry standards in an attempt to reduce access costs.

NUBSLI made it clear to the CCS that a reduction from the usual fee system of half day bookings to twohour time slots would be detrimental to the profession and lead to a decline in the number of interpreters, which would ultimately drive prices up.

Any savings would be short-term once the impact of unsustainable fees began to emerge. The CCS declined to act on this industry advice.

LLS is perhaps the largest corporate business to hold a British Sign Language (BSL)/English interpreting contract under the shared business services framework. Having won contracts, LLS announced it would be reducing interpreters’ pay and making changes to its employees’ terms and conditions without any consultation or discussion locally or nationally.

Following a meeting with LLS in 2016, and after consultation with our members, it became clear that NUBSLI had no alternative but to boycott the related contracts held by LLS.

Having only established the union in 2014, for a previously non-politicised profession, the decision to boycott contracts held by LLS wasn’t taken lightly — especially as this was likely to impact on access for deaf service users. It demonstrates the significant threat we believe the framework agreements are to our profession.

As the first ever action the union has taken, it was important for it to be successful. With just under 40 per cent of the profession as members, we were confident that withdrawing our services would have a significant impact.

It was clear that LLS didn’t believe any action would hold. As a branch of freelance interpreters, many of our members in Sheffield became aware of interpreters as far away as Scotland being approached to cover their work. Thankfully, as a small profession, there was support nationwide.

The boycott held for seven months until finally, last week, LLS conceded that it was unable to deliver the service it had been contracted to provide. The company has now implemented a new payment arrangement and agreed to the guidance fees NUBSLI members work to.

NUBSLI chairperson Emma Lipton, one of the interpreters to join the Sheffield boycott, said: “This is a huge win for NUBSLI. While it hasn’t been a quick win and we don’t pretend it was easy, with many members sacrificing their main stream of work and income, particularly in Sheffield, their persistence has paid off.

“It is to them we would like to offer our thanks as they have led the way for the rest of the profession.”

The government continues to create new frameworks and ignore our concerns, insisting on two-hour booking periods.

We will continue to oppose these and refuse to work to hourly rates as this is not a long-term sustainable model for the profession.

An exit survey carried out by NUBSLI in March 2016 highlighted that many experienced and highly skilled interpreters are already leaving the profession.

The union believes this is in part a direct result of the erosion of fees, terms and conditions caused by framework agreements. As newer and less experienced interpreters enter the workforce, they require time to develop the wealth of knowledge and skills required.

This leaves a deficit in the number of suitable interpreters available to undertake these specialised assignments, which as a result drives up fees, causing the exact opposite effect intended by the frameworks.

We have seen how other workers’ rights are being driven down to unacceptable levels with the example of home care workers. The impact this has had on those in need of social care has been shocking.

NUBSLI has a significant role to play in defending the rights of deaf BSL users to high quality access provision as well as the integrity of our profession.

We would like to give special thanks to the deaf and disabled activists that joined us on our protest outside the LLS offices and in particular to DPAC’s experienced campaigners who supported us throughout our action.

We would urge any BSL/English interpreters who are not yet members to join us. This victory has clearly shown the power of collective action. With more and more pressure being placed upon us, now is the time to join the fightback!

Nicky Evans is NUBSLI branch secretary. Click here for more information or to join the union.

To access the article published in the Morning Star click here.

To access the Survey of NHS Interpreters click here

Improving the quality of videoconference-based

remote interpreting in legal proceedings

Submitting Institution

University of Surrey

Unit of Assessment

English Language and Literature

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Studies In Human Society: Criminology
Law and Legal Studies: Law

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View similar case studies

Summary of the impact

Police and courts in the UK require interpreters in over 100 languages paired with English every day. Legal interpreters are an essential part of the justice system, and their efficient integration into legal proceedings is crucial to ensuring fairness and efficiency of justice. Current problems with the outsourcing of court interpreting services by the Ministry of Justice and the recent cuts to legal aid have increased the need for cost-efficient and viable solutions for legal interpreting.

Surrey's research investigated the quality and viability of `remote interpreting' in legal proceedings, delivered via videoconference, as an alternative to traditional onsite delivery. The findings were used to develop good practice guidelines, consultancy and training. The training was customised for the Metropolitan Police and delivered to over ca. 700 legal interpreters across Europe between 2009 and 2013. The guidelines were adopted as European-wide by the European Council Working Party on e-Justice in 2012.

Underpinning research

Videoconferencing was widely used in criminal proceedings by 2008 and around that time police forces and judicial services in the UK and elsewhere increasingly considered the use of interpreters in such video links. In 2008, the Metropolitan Police Service began to consider the use of `remote interpreting' whereby interpreters work from a central videoconferencing hub rather than travelling to individual police stations in London to save on interpreter travel costs, which constituted approximately one third of police forces' interpreting costs. Furthermore at European level, the European Commission's effort to strengthen the rights of persons who are accused of a crime led to the adoption of Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings, which explicitly refers to the possibility of using videoconference links for gaining access to a qualified legal interpreter. The Directive had to be implemented in the Member States by October 2013.

Until 2008, very little was known about the viability and quality of videoconference-based interpreting. There was a high risk of potential miscarriages of justice through the combined effects of technical mediation (videoconferencing) and linguistic mediation (interpreting). Relevant training for legal practitioners and interpreters regarding videoconference-based interpreting was non-existent.

Addressing these issues, Surrey conducted the first ever surveys among legal interpreters and judicial institutions in Europe to elicit interpreter experience with videoconference-based interpreting and institutional plans to use it (1, 2). This enabled us to identify the most pressing problems and the most likely future occurrences of videoconference-based interpreting. We then conducted a comparative study to compare the interpreting quality (e.g. accuracy) achieved with traditional methods of interpreting and in video links for the situations identified (e.g. police interviews in the UK). 

The quantitative analysis of the data shows a higher number of interpreting problems and a faster decline of interpreting performance over time in video links, suggesting greater difficulties for interpreters and a faster onset of fatigue (3, 6).

Based on these findings, Surrey developed guidelines of good practice for video interpreting in criminal proceedings (5), and designed and piloted training modules for interpreters and legal practitioners (4).

The major conclusion underlying the guidelines is that a sufficient quality of interpreting performance is a conditio sine qua non. The viability of video interpreting must therefore override all considerations of cost savings. At the same time, the advantages of videoconferencing, when appropriately used, must not be cursorily dismissed, especially at a time when the European effort to strengthen the rights of European citizens to translation and interpreting coincides - and sometimes competes — with financial constraints imposed on judicial institutions.

References to the research

1. Braun S & J Taylor (2012a) Videoconference and remote interpreting in legal proceedings. Guildford: University of Surrey. Cambridge/Antwerp: Intersentia.

2. Braun S & J Taylor (2012b) Video-mediated interpreting: an overview of current practice and research. In Braun S & J Taylor (Eds), 27-57.

3. Braun S & J Taylor (2012c) Video-mediated interpreting in criminal proceedings: two European surveys. In Braun, S & J Taylor (Eds), 59-84.

4. Braun S, Taylor J, Miler-Cassino J, Rybińska Z, Balogh K, Hertog E, vanden Bosch Y, Rombouts D (2012) Training in video-mediated interpreting in criminal proceedings. In S Braun & J Taylor (Eds), 205-254.

5. Braun S (2012) Recommendations for the use of video-mediated interpreting in criminal proceedings. In Braun, S & J Taylor (Eds), 265-87.

6. Braun S (2013): Keep your distance? Remote interpreting in legal proceedings: A critical assessment of a growing practice. Interpreting 15:2, 199-227.


Details of the impact

Educational and economic impact: training and consultancy for the Metropolitan Police

The Metropolitan Police Sercive (MPS) has a comprehensive system of accrediting and using legal interpreters, ensuring interpreting quality, impartiality and cost-effectivenes of interpreting services. The introduction of remote interpreting, whereby interpreters work from central videoconference hubs, was a crucial project in the MPS Language Programme, set up in 2008 to modernise the linguistic and cultural services in the MPS. This programme had a high strategic significance within the MPS, especially with regards to the Olympic Games in London in 2012.

The MPS was aware of our research and from 2008, we were regularly consulted by the MPS about practical and logistical aspects of the implementation of remote interpreting. In 2010, the MPS asked us to design a training progamme for MPS-certified interpreters in the use of videoconference-based interpreting. The core of the training were the recommendations and guidelines of best practice developed in the AVIDICUS 1 project. MPS decided to make the training mandatory for the interpreters to maintain interpreting quality standards, i.e. interpreters must have undergone the training in order to be commissioned for work in a video link. Between September 2010 and September 2011, we delivered 23 half-day training sessions for a total of 341 police-certified interpreters. This consistutes 89% of interpreters currently on the list of interpreters certified by the Metropolitan Police Service. Feedback from workshop participants indicates that the interpreters considered the sessions to provide very useful preparation for real-life remote interpreting tasks (See analysis of feedback in Braun et al. 2012).

In November 2011, the MPS stated that "in implementing this project, MPS have greatly benefitted from co-operation with the Centre for Translation Studies at the University of Surrey The consultancy that Dr Braun has provided on the basis of a unique evidential base has helped to shape the remote interpreting project in significant and concrete ways, including in particular how to mitigate the challenges of video-mediated interpreting. Her research has therefore influenced the linguistic and cultural details of the implementation of the project" [b].

Similar training sessions were run in the UK, Belgium, Croatia, France and Spain between 2009 and 2013, reaching approximately 350 legal interpreters across Europe. Whilst the main impact of this work is educational, it also has a positive economic impact, as the training and the consultancy we provided regarding the implementation of video interpreting help institutions such as MPS to make informed cost savings without compromising the quality of interpreting.

Political impact: European Guidelines

In June 2007, the EU Council of Justice and Home Affairs considered that improving the use of videoconferencing in cross-border legal proceedings should be a priority to speed up proceedings and save costs. The European e-Justice Action Plan 2009-2013 developed by the Council identifies videoconferencing as being of particular importance for simplifying and encouraging communication between judicial authorities. In 2011, discussions in the EU Council Working Party on e-Justice furthermore highlighted the importance of developing solutions for video interpreting. In October 2011, Braun was invited to provide a working paper [c] and present the outcomes of the AVIDICUS project including the recommendations and guidelines at one of the Working Party's meetings in Brussels.

In subsequent discussions, the AVIDICUS guidelines were deemed by the Working Party to "facilitate the use of videoconferencing and remote interpreting in the judicial systems of the Member States" [d]. In February 2012, the Danish EU Presidency organised a seminar in Copenhagen specifically dedicated to videoconferencing to which Braun was invited to present the recommendations to approx. 100 delegates from the 27 EU Member States.

As a follow-up on these developments, it was suggested in the Working Party that the Guide on videoconferencing in cross-border proceedings (published by the EU Council and available on the European e-Justice Portal, be updated to incorporate the AVIDICUS recommendations and guidelines on video interpreting. Braun was invited to comment on several drafts. The final version was adopted by the Working Party on 16 April 2012 [d, e].

Improving Public Services: Key events

From the outset, there has been a demonstrable high level of interest among public service institutions in this research. The international symposia on Videoconference and Remote Interpreting in Legal Proceedings and Multilingual Videoconferencing in Legal Proceedings organised by us to present the outcomes of AVIDICUS 1 and 2 in 2011 and 2013 respectively, attracted 200 participants from over 20 countries, including representatives from judicial and law enforcement institutions, professional interpreting associations, interpreting agencies and EU institutions (EU DG Justice, DG Interpreting, European Parliament, European Court of Justice).

Braun also gave invited presentations to key stakeholders at European level, e.g. at the Royal Society of Arts Seminar A Virtual Day in Court in 2011 [6], the meeting of the European Council Working Party on e-Law in October 2011, the European e-Justice Seminar on Videoconferencing in court proceedings organised by the Danish EU Presidency in 2012, and at national level, to the Association of Court and Police Interpreters in 2008, the Magistrates Association in 2009 and the Chartered Institute of Linguists in 2010. The recurring topic of the events and presentations was how the challenges of video-mediated interpreting can be mitigated e.g. by creating appropriate working conditions for interpreters (including system design, training and guidelines) and through cooperation between all stakeholders in order to improve the quality of interpreting as a prerequisite for improving the quality of justice in multilingual legal proceedings.

Another series of key events were joint workshops for legal interpreters and legal practitioners, which were organised in 2012 and 2013 where interpreters and legal practitioners were invited to participate in role plays in order to discover potential problems of video-mediated and interpreter- mediated communication and to apply the guidelines.

Provision of expert services: Similar evaluation and consultancy work

The research also led to a contract with London Probation Trust (2012) to evaluate video- conferencing and interpreting in European cross-border resettlement based on the European Framework Decisions 909 and 947 (transfer of custodial and non-custodial sentences), where similar interpreting needs arise [g]; and invitations to contribute to the European projects Building Mutual Trust 2 (2011-13) and QUALITAS (2013-14), which produce educational video clips for legal professionals (about working with an interpreter) and certification methods for legal interpreting in Europe — in each case with reference to video interpreting. In 2013, Braun was recommended by the Society for Public Service Interpreting to the Ministry of Justice as an independent consultant for assessing legal interpreter provision in England [h].

Sources to corroborate the impact

a) AVIDICUS 1 External Evaluation Report (21st June 2011)

b) Letter by the Head of Language Policy & Co-ordination, Metropolitan Police Service, Language & Cultural Services (29th November 2011) Provided statement.

c) Recommendations for the use of video-mediated interpreting in criminal proceedings. Presentation by the Dutch delegation to the EU Council Working Party on e-Law (e-Justice), Brussels, 4th November 2011 (14168/11 EJUSTICE 70)

d) Videoconferencing and remote interpreting in judicial proceedings. Presentation by the EU Presidency to the EU Council Working Party on e-Law (e-Justice). Brussels, 21st March 2012.

e) Guide on Videoconferencing in Cross-Border Proceedings. EU Council/European Commission,13 March 2012. - Scn2.4.

f) Royal Society of Arts (2011) A Virtual Day in Court. Design thinking and virtual courts

g) European Organisation of Probation (CEP) (2011). DUTT: researching videoconferencing in criminal justice procedures (Interview with S Braun). CEP Newsletter August 2011.

h) Society of Public Service Interpreting.

i) Policy officer, Innovation Program Judicial System Department (Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice) and Member of the Dutch delegation of the European Council Working Party on e-Law. Contact details provided.

j) Equalities & Community Engagement Officer (London Probation Trust) & Foreign National Offenders lead (National Offender Management Service — NOMS centre) Contact details provided.

k) Director of Interpreting Services, European Court of Justice. Contact details provided.

Why interpreters are refusing to work for the new Sign Solutions Bristol Hospital Trusts interpreting contract


3 hrs · 

A new contract between 2 Bristol hospital trusts and Sign Solutions has led to more than 40 interpreters from that region refusing to work under the terms being imposed on them by the agency. Read why they are taking this stand, and the effect this is likely to have on all interpreters, in our latest Nub article. You can also read NUBSLI's statement of support there too.‪#‎swboycott…/why-we-are-refusing-to-work-for-sign-so…

Why interpreters are refusing to work for the new Sign Solutions Bristol Hospital Trusts...

interpreters are refusing to work for the new Sign Solutions Bristol Hospital Trusts interpreting contract


Why we are refusing to work for the Bristol Hospital Trusts' interpreting contract with Sign Solutions

24 February 2016

"I’m OK with this slightly lower level of pay." "It’s not much less than before." "I don’t need to earn as much as the more experienced interpreters." "I have enough work that it all adds up to a sufficient income." "If other interpreters don’t want the work, then there’s more for me."

This is the death knell of interpreting as we know it.

So many times over recent years we have told each other that we must resist the trend of agencies to run down our terms and conditions because otherwise we’ll see a downward spiral of worse and worse terms inflicted on us across the board.

In Bristol we’ve just seen a perfect example of this downward trend: We have been dictated risible terms on a brand new contract set to cover all 12 hospitals in Bristol. Not by a flaky fly-by-night agency. Or a large corporate body with a language interpreting and translation arm. But by a well respected, long standing national agency founded by, owned by and led by BSL Interpreters.

Initially when we heard that Sign Solutions had won the contract to provide BSL interpreters across both healthcare trusts in Bristol, we were optimistic. Until they told us the terms and conditions that they had negotiated for their business.

When challenged about these, specifically the 24 hour cancellation condition, we were told "recent public sector frameworks / contracts, other than the CCS, all have 24 hour cancellation charges". In other words — other contract holders have managed to convince interpreters to accept these dire terms, so we are going to use the same terms on you.

But in Bristol we are challenging the assumption that companies can make their profits by cutting our income. In the words of the NHS: No decision about me without me!

Interpreters respond

In December, interpreters from the region gathered together to talk about how we felt about this contract and what we wanted to do. This wasn’t a NUBSLI meeting, although many there were members. This wasn’t an ASLI meeting and this wasn’t a VLP meeting, although there were many there who were members of one or both. This was a meeting of professional colleagues looking to find a reasonable collective view about a pay scale and working conditions that had been imposed upon us without our input or opinion. The consensus from the meeting was that the terms of the contract were not acceptable.

Our response was a collective letter to Sign Solutions, and individual emails to the Quality Director of one of the affected Healthcare Trusts, explaining why we couldn’t agree to work under the terms of the contract, and detailing what adjustments we would like to see put in place. Over 40 local interpreters have come forward and publicly declared their intention not to work under the terms of the contract.

Despite Sign Solutions assuring us that their hands are tied by the conditions imposed by the contract client; that they are constrained by the ‘worst financial times experienced by the NHS’, they have already, once or twice, acceded to individual terms when they’ve needed to get an interpreter into a booking, with phrases such as ‘on this occasion’ and ‘for the sake of the client’.

The 40 plus interpreters in this region will be standing their ground on this one. We know that by acting collectively we can make it clear that the contract can not be satisfactorily filled without our good will. And you don’t get our good will by degrading our professional worth.

Sadly this contract has already claimed its first victim: a local deaf association has announced its closure. The income generated by its small interpreter bookings agency was what kept it going and it can no longer guarantee enough income to stay afloat without the hospital bookings.

Without collectively standing together and forcing the agencies and contract holders to re-think their contracts, it will be sole traders like you and me who realise we can no longer guarantee enough income from the bookings on offer to pay the mortgage or the child care. And the businesses closing down will be ours. The damage being done to the profession by these dishonourable terms and conditions could be fatal.

You can read NUBSLI's statement in support of this action.


- See more at:


The Guardian

Home Office drops plans to cut interpreter wages after boycott threat 

Home Office drops plans to cut interpreter wages after boycott threat

The one-day mass action threatened by the pool of more than 2,000 interpreters could have brought the processing of immigration claims to a standstill

 Home secretary, Theresa May. Interpreters wrote to the Home Office protesting planned changes to their rates of pay. Photograph: PA

Diane Taylor

Friday 15 January 2016 20.57 GMTLast modified on Friday 15 January 201620.59 GM

The Home Office has dropped plans to cut the wages of its pool of more than 2,000 interpreters following threats of a mass boycott which could have brought the system for processing immigration claims across the country to a halt.

One interpreter said: “The Home Office has performed a big U-turn here. We are already well underpaid having to travel for up to six hours a day to bookings without any pay. They have kept our rates of pay at the same level since 2002 but it was too much when they told us at the end of last year that they were actually going to cut our pay rates from 1 January. We are all very relieved that these pay cuts have been abandoned.”

The Home Office has more than 2,000 highly trained interpreters on its books, all of whom have had to undergo counter-terrorism security clearance. It would be difficult for the Home Office to replace the current pool of interpreters at short notice.

The Home Office had initially announced that the pay cut would be postponed from 1 January 2016 until at least 1 February. However, on Friday the postponement was scrapped and the Home Office said it is launching a fundamental review of interpreter services including rates of pay.Following an article in the Guardian about the planned pay cuts, officials from the Home Office’s Central Interpreters Unit agreed to meet some of the interpreters to discuss their concerns about the planned pay cuts.

In a note to interpreters, the Home Office said: “This notification is to advise you that following further internal discussions, the decision has been taken to adjourn the planned rate change at this time with a view to commissioning a fundamental review of interpreter services, including the interpreter rates of pay within the scope of the review.

Consequently, current Home Office interpreter rates of pay remain in effect until further notice.”

Interpreters currently receive £16 an hour on weekdays and slightly more at the weekend. But the first hour’s work is paid at an enhanced rate to recognise the time and cost of travelling to appointments. The Home Office had proposed that the first-hour rate will be cut from £48 to £32 on weekdays and from £72 to £46 at weekends.

Interpreters are expected to travel up to three hours each way without extra payments from the Home Office. They attend meetings between asylum seekers and others interacting with immigration officials, and translate interview questions and answers face to face. The pay cuts were due to apply to various areas of the Home Office’s work, including UK Visas and Immigration, Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and HM Passport Office.

The interpreters planned to boycott all interpreting assignments offered on 1 January 2016 and to roll out a series of one-day boycotts after that.

Hundreds signed a petition protesting about the planned wage reductions and a Twitter and Facebook campaign was launched.

A spokesman for Professional Interpreters for Justice, which protested strongly to the Home Office about the planned cuts, welcomed the news.

“We are delighted,” he said. “There is a whole range of government interpreting where rates of pay are under threat. Today’s decision by the Home Office is the first outbreak of common sense we’ve seen.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We keep our costs under constant review to ensure the contractors we use offer the best value for money for the taxpayer.

“As part of these considerations, we have decided to commission a fundamental review of interpreter services. Interpreter rates of pay will be considered within the scope of the review.

“The planned rate change will be adjourned pending this review and current rates of pay remain in effect.”

interpreter ‏@nrpsinterpreter  21 Dec 2015

Professional Interpreters for Justice writes to Home Office regarding proposed cuts to Interpreter Rates of Pay 



Interpreting and Translation Updates 

by Klasiena Slaney  Twitter: interpreter@nrpsinterpreter 

interpreter language notes

Home Office puts plans to cut interpreters' pay on hold

Proposals to reduce pay of more than 2,000 workers deferred amid fears that boycott could throw immigration system into chaos

Monday 28 December 2015 12.01 

The Home Office has deferred plans to cut the pay of more than 2,000 interpreters from 1 January following threats that they would boycott government work, potentially throwing the immigration system into chaos.

When they were first informed of the proposed pay cut last month, the interpreters said they would refuse to accept assignments. Such a move could cause the system for processing asylum claims across the country to grind to a halt. The interpreters work across the Home Office including for UK Visas & Immigration, Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and HM Passport Office. They launched a fair payment campaign in protest against the planned pay cuts.

The Home Office has confirmed that any plans to cut pay will be deferred at least until February while negotiations with the interpreters take place. Prior to the Guardian reporting on the planned pay cut last week, it had said that there was no requirement to consult with interpreters who are contracted to work for them on a freelance basis.

Interpreters receive £16 an hour on weekdays and slightly more at weekends. The first hour’s work is paid at an enhanced rate to recognise the time and cost of travelling to and from appointments.

Up to three hours’ travel each way for an appointment attracts no extra payment from the Home Office. Under the proposals, the new first-hour rate for weekdays would be cut from £48 to £32, while the rate at weekends would come down from £72 to £46. The interpreters say they have not had a pay rise since at least 2002 so in real terms have had a pay cut every year. But this is the first time the Home Office has actually proposed lowering their wages.

Home Office interpreters are highly trained and have to go through counter-terrorism security clearance so it would not be easy for the Home Office to find replacements at short notice. The interpreters planned to boycott all interpreting assignments offered on 1 January 2016 and to roll out a series of one-day boycotts after that. These plans are on hold while discussions continue.

A meeting lasting more than two hours took place between interpreters and the Home Office on 21 December. At the meeting, officials warned the interpreters against speaking to the media. Following the meeting, the Facebook page for theFair Payment Campaign has been removed.

A further meeting between the Home Office and interpreters is planned for mid-January. Interpreters said the talks gave them an opportunity to demonstrate ”our collective strength and unity”.

But one interpreter who did not want to be named expressed concern that the Home Office was just waiting for the situation to quieten down and would then go ahead with the planned cuts.

In a statement issued by interpreters when they launched the fair payment campaign, they said: 

“Many interpreters and their supporters have already written to the Home Office central interpreters’ unit expressing their dismay and opposition to these cuts in rates, which were already much eroded through inflation, and mean that it will no longer be feasible for them to continue working in this field. 

This will result in a diminishing pool of qualified, experienced and vetted interpreters for the Home Office, detrimental both to them but especially so to the great number of vulnerable people who depend on reliable interpreting services to put their cases across since they are unable to do so themselves. Their lives may be at stake. The right to a fair hearing is enshrined in international human rights law.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We keep our costs under constant review to ensure the contractors we employ offer the best value for money for the taxpayer.“

“Following our meeting with the interpreters on 21 December, we intend to defer implementation of this change at least until 1 February 2016 to allow us time to give proper considerations to the views and opinions expressed.”


Written by Malcolm Fowler

Category: The Letters Page

 Published: 27 December 2015


Written by Dr. Ellen Ruth Moerman, NGTV, AIIC, MCIoL

Category: The Letters Page

 Published: 27 December 2015

Labour Left ‏@LabourLeft  Dec 20

"Home Office interpreters threaten boycott over arbitrary pay cut"


Boycott threatened as Home Office ready to cut interpreters’ pay

Theresa May looking particularly unattractive

Yesterday’s Guardian reports that the Home Office wants to cut the pay of the estimated 2,000 interpreters it uses in processing immigration claims.

Interpreters received an email from the Home Office’s central interpreters unit in Liverpool on 20th November notifying them that their pay would be cut from 1st January.

Interpreters currently receive £16 per hour for working weekdays and slightly more at weekends. In addition, a Home Office interpreter’s first hour of work is paid at an enhanced rate to reflect the time and cost of travelling to appointments; this is being reduced from £48 to £32 on weekdays and from £72 to £46 at weekends.

Home Office interpreters have not had a pay increase since 2002, i.e. they’ve already had 13 years of de facto pay cuts – and the actual pay cut announced for the New Year will be implemented in various areas of the Home Office’s work, including UK Visas and Immigration, Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and HM Passport Office. For this work they have to be highly trained and undergo counter-terrorism security clearance.

As a result of this insulting treatment by Theresa May’s department, interpreters are threatening a mass boycott. The boycott is planned to start on 1st January, followed by a series of walk-outs thereafter.

One unnamed organiser told The Guardian: “There is no strike planned because, as freelancers, we cannot legally do so. We may, however, choose not to accept assignments and that is what the boycott will consist of.”

“At the moment, the Home Office needs interpreters more than we need them. They do not have any other system currently in place to substitute our services other than for telephone interpreting, which they can outsource to thebigword. They know that if we boycott even for a day, that will cause major disruptions to their business.”

In addition, the interpreters have written to the Home Office to express their disgust at this disgraceful treatment and the lack of consultation, the latter being a breach by the Home Office of the interpreters’ contractual terms.

As per usual with this dreadful government, the Home Office spokesperson contacted by The Guardian insisted that the department had done nothing wrong and everything was hunky dory.

From where I’m sitting, it looks like there’s every chance of a repeat of the drop in professional standards and other farcical states of affairs that occurred when the Ministry of Justice placed interpreting for courts and tribunals in the incompetent hands of Capita Translation & Interpreting (posts passim).

language politics

Home Office defers plans to cut interpreters’ pay

Today’s Guardian reports that the Home Office has postponed its plans to cut the pay of more than 2,000 interpreters from 1st January 2016. This comes in the wake of a threatened boycott from Home Office interpreters (posts passim), which could cause chaos in the running of the UK’s immigration system.

According to The Guardian, the Home Office has confirmed that any plans to cut pay will be deferred at least until February while negotiations with the interpreters take place. Considering that Home Office interpreters have not had a pay rise since 2002 (they get a basic £16/hr. on weekdays and slightly more at weekends. Ed.) and the Home Office’s desire to cut what is already fairly meagre pay do not bode well for those negotiations.

A meeting lasting more than two hours took place between interpreters and the Home Office on 21st December. At the meeting, Home Office civil servants warned the interpreters against speaking to the media in a blatant disregard of the interpreters’ rights under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998. A further meeting between the Home Office and interpreters is planned for the middle of January.

The Home Office stated as follows after the 21st December meeting: “Following our meeting with the interpreters on 21st December, we intend to defer implementation of this change at least until 1st February 2016 to allow us time to give proper considerations to the views and opinions expressed.”

Given the government’s arrogant refusal to listen to anyone besides its donors and beneficiaries, it looks like the next linguistic sacrifices on Whitehall’s altar of austerity will be Home Office interpreters, following on from the Ministry of Justice’s interpreters, the overwhelming majority of whom refused to work for the abysmal rates offered by Capita Translation & Interpreting (posts passim) and have been boycotting court and tribunal work for the last couple of years.

language politics


·         PI4J writes to Home Office on reduced interpreter pay rates December 24, 2015

·         Statement by leaders of Fair Payment Campaign for HO interpreters December 22, 2015

·         Boycott threatened as Home Office ready to cut interpreters’ pay December 21, 2015

·         Sign petition to help save RiL December 21, 2015




Interpreting and Translation Updates 

by Klasiena Slaney  Twitter: interpreter@nrpsinterpreter 

interpreter language notes

Home Office Interpreters threaten boycott over pay cut

Professional Interpreters for Justice Logo

Dear all, 

It has already hit the news! :) 


Thank you to all of you who have already written to the CIU, please continue to do so as they need to know we mean it. 


By Email:

I received a call from CIU this morning for work on 4 January (I rarely get offered work by them). I explained I am unable to take it due to the reduction in pay. He did not seem surprised and I am aware that colleagues have done the same. 

With best wishes, 



Here are the Fair Pay Campaign Facebook page and Twitter links (we have Jeremy Corbyn following us :)  Fair Pay Campaign @campaignfairpay

Home Office interpreters threaten boycott over pay cut

Immigration services could be thrown into chaos if mass action by up to 2,000 interpreters goes ahead in January

Sunday 20 December 2015 17.00 

The system for processing immigration claims across the country is set to grind to a halt in the new year if a threatened mass boycott of Home Office interpreters goes ahead.

The looming action in protest at pay cuts is the first time the estimated 2,000 interpreters have threatened to stop work. The organisers of a fair payment campaign – who are running it anonymously for fear of reprisals by the Home Office – say that so far they have received solid support from several hundred interpreters. A meeting has been scheduled with Home Office bosses at 11am on Monday to discuss their concerns.

The problems began when interpreters received an email on 20 November from the Home Office central interpreters unit in Liverpool informing them that a pay cut will be introduced from 1 January. Interpreters receive £16 an hour on weekdays and slightly more at the weekend. But the first hour’s work is paid at an enhanced rate to recognise the time and cost of travelling to appointments. That first-hour rate is being cut from £48 to £32 on weekdays and from £72 to £46 at weekends.

Interpreters are expected to travel up to three hours each way without extra payments from the Home Office. They attend meetings between asylum seekers and others interacting with immigration officials and translate interview questions and answers face to face.

Home Office interpreters are highly trained and have to go through counter-terrorism security clearance, meaning it will not be easy to substitute other interpreters at short notice if the boycott takes effect. The plan is to start the boycott on 1 January and to follow it with a series of walkouts after that.The interpreters say they have not had a pay rise since at least 2002, so in real terms have already taken a sizeable cut. But this is the first time the Home Office has proposed lowering their wages.

“There is no strike planned because, as freelancers, we cannot legally do so. We may, however, choose not to accept assignments and that is what the boycott will consist of,” said one of the interpreters organising the action and the Facebook page.

“At the moment, the Home Office needs interpreters more than we need them. They do not have any other system currently in place to substitute our services other than for telephone interpreting, which they can outsource to thebigword [an online firm]. They know that if we boycott even for a day, that will cause major disruptions to their business.”

The interpreters have written to the Home Office to express their dismay at the pay cut. “This decision came out of the blue; there had been no consultation nor any forewarning of a reduction in our fees,” the letter says. “The fees paid to us have remained unchanged since at least 2002, when the current rates came into effect, whilst being eroded by 3.5% annually due to inflation.

“In view of this, any further reductions are totally unacceptable. Instead … the Home Office should do the right thing and seriously consider increasing the rates of payment to account for the effects of inflation, just as the Home Office has done with their staff’s salaries for the last 12 years, other than three of them.”

Another interpreter who also did not want to be named, said: “The Home Office cannot function without us. They will not be able to process any immigration claims if we go ahead with our boycott.”

“Sometimes we are looked down on. This pay reduction is a huge insult and the time has come to protest,” she added.She added that the interpreters are very loyal to the Home Office but are often not treated well. In some centres they are not even allowed to use the same toilets as Home Office staff.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We keep our costs under constant review to ensure the contractors we use offer the best value for money for the taxpayer. As part of this, we have considered the rates at which interpreters are paid and have made some changes, which are effective from 1 January.

“This information was shared with contractors several weeks ago. We are aware some interpreters have raised concerns about this and we have met with them to discuss why the changes are necessary.”

Police whistleblower: I was told to withhold evidence during Emma Caldwell murder inquiry

Paul Hutcheon

Investigations Editor

Sunday 31 May 2015

A POLICE whistleblower has claimed he was told to withhold potential evidence by fellow officers during the investigation into one of Scotland's most famous unsolved murders.

Above left, photos of Emma Caldwell from childhood to her                            descent into addiction. Above, police at the scene where her body was found

Above left, photos of Emma Caldwell from childhood to her descent into addiction. Above, police at the scene where her body was found Aksoy Ozer, a former constable who worked as a translator in the case of murdered prostitute Emma Caldwell, gave a statement to Strathclyde Police in 2007 alleging misconduct by officers in two forces.

He alleged that he was asked to lie about his use of audio equipment in the probe, and claimed he was warned against speaking to his doctor about the case after saying he felt under "immense pressure".

Ozer added that he spoke Turkish - the language of the original suspects - on a "very limited basis" and held "no formal qualifications in translating".

The case against the Turkish men collapsed and Police Scotland is now preparing to re-investigate a lead regarding a Scottish suspect described as an "obsessive user" of prostitutes.

Highlands MSP John Finnie said the Ozer allegations had to be investigated "as a matter of urgency" by officers unconnected to the original murder case.

Caldwell, a 27 year old heroin addict who was working as a street prostitute to feed her addiction, was found dead in woods near Biggar in 2005. She was one of eight prostitutes murdered in Glasgow between 1991 and 2005. The murders created fear that a serial killer was on the loose, and trawling Glasgow's redlight area for victims.

Emma Caldwell's murder led to one of Strathclyde Police's biggest murder investigations and thousands of witness statements were taken. However, ten years on, no-one has been brought to justice.

In the original investigation, officers believed that several Turkish men were linked to Caldwell's death and set up a surveillance operation in a cafe in Glasgow used by the then suspects.

The covert activity produced what police believed at the time were incriminating translations and four Turkish men were arrested in August 2007.

However, experts challenged the translations and the case never went to trial. One of the consultants, Oxford-based academic Professor Kerem Oktem, had been hired by Strathclyde police to carry out a review.

He said: "We concluded that based on the material we were provided, the recordings, that it was not possible to make any conclusive statement about their involvement in the murder. It was simply not possible based on the material in the recordings."

It has since emerged that officers on the case had downplayed a local, non-Turkish suspect, who is alleged to have been an "obsessive user of prostitutes" with a "very violent history".

This suspect also admitted in police interviews to taking Caldwell to the murder site on previous occasions.

A Sunday Herald investigation can now reveal internal allegations of police misconduct during the failed probe into the Turkish men.

Ozer, born in Edinburgh to Turkish parents, had been seconded to work on the investigation from Grampian Police in early 2006 to help on the surveillance side.

He and other officers who had knowledge of the Turkish language were drafted in to translate recorded conversations and produce transcripts.

In November 2007, weeks after the Turkish men had been arrested, Ozer gave the Strathclyde force a written statement about the alleged behaviour of other officers.

He wrote how, eight months earlier, in "preparation for arrests", he was instructed to download specific conversations involving the suspects onto a hard disc.

These discs, he wrote, were to be used for interviewing the suspects.

He stated: "[An officer] then went on to tell me that I was to ensure that in any references to this downloading that I had to state that [officer] was present when I did so as I was not fully trained in the use of the programme. This [officer] was not present when I used this programme."

When Ozer began to use the downloading equipment, he wrote that he picked up "more information" than before: "I went onto explain that in using this equipment I had found errors in my previous transcripts. I offered to go over all the transcripts using this new equipment. I was told not to as the case was already with the procurator fiscal. I was further told to just write down any additional information and not to officially record it as before."

Ozer continued downloading and found yet more information relating to the case, a discovery he said did not impress a colleague: "[The officer] immediately asked why this had not come out previously and I explained the use of the new equipment. [The officer] then told me 'we could have a problem here, if this came out in a trial then we would be questioned as to why we never listened to all the discs using the new equipment'."

"[The officer] then told me not to mention this and to withhold this from the trial. I was extremely concerned regarding this as I had just been told to lie in court."

Within weeks of making the statement, the Turkish suspects were released on bail and the case was dropped in mid-2008.

Ozer also provided details of a meeting with officers in 2007, in which he informed those present that he wanted an appointment with his doctor due to feeling "immense pressure".

He wrote: "At this point, [officer] ordered me that I could not discuss matters with my doctor. This took me aback."

Ozer also wrote that, after receiving an assurance he was off the inquiry, an officer told him that this was not the case: "[Officer] told me that [officer] had decided that I would remain in the case but would be described as an advisor and that I would be required to submit a statement to that effect."

In addition, he stated that he was "not trained" to use a specialist listening device and said cassettes and logs of sensitive materials were located in an "insecure filing cabinet".

Ozer, who has dual British-Turkish nationality, also wrote: "I am not 100% fluent in the language and only speak on a very limited basis. I have little or no knowledge of the Kurdish language. I have no education on the Turkish language and I hold no formal qualifications in translating."

He flagged up the misconduct allegations to the then Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini in a letter in 2008 and lodged two grievances with the police.

In his letter to Angiolini, he wrote: "Could you please confirm if The Crown Office have investigated or instructed an investigation into my allegations?"

The Crown Office wrote that the Professional Standards Unit at Strathclyde Police had been asked to look at matters raised by Ozer.

In 2009, Ozer's representatives from SEMPER Scotland (Supporting Ethnic Minority Police staff for Equality in Race) wrote to Alex Salmond, at that point the police officer's constituency MSP, in which he mentioned the witness statement.

The representative stated that Ozer believed he had been "made the scapegoat for the failure of the investigation". He quit the police in 2010.

Finnie, who was a police officer before becoming an MSP, said if Ozer was "told to withhold information from any trial and instructed not to share his growing concerns with his GP then the public need assurances that such malpractice has been or will be rooted out.

"These matters constitute a potential attempt to pervert the course of justice and must be examined, as a matter of urgency, by senior police officers with no connection to the former Strathclyde Police or this enquiry and be overseen by Crown Office officials likewise unconnected to the original case.

"The obligation on the police is to provide all evidence to the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service, not simply selective extracts which purport to support any predetermined view as to the accused."

Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Ellie Mitchell of Professional Standards said: "A number of internal issues were raised, inquiries carried out and disposals made."

Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said of the reinvestigation: "Police Scotland's priority is to focus on undertaking a reinvestigation of the murder of Emma Caldwell. We are at an advanced stage in preparations to conduct that.

"It is hoped that advances in investigative techniques and forensics will assist in the investigation. All necessary resources with the appropriate skills and experience will be deployed to ensure a thorough investigation takes place.

"Senior officers from Police Scotland will be meeting with the family to outline the plans already in place and provide further information on the areas to be explored in an attempt to identify new evidential opportunities."

A Crown Office spokesperson said: "Following a complaint against the police a report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

"After careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances, Crown Counsel concluded that there was insufficient admissible evidence and there should be no action in relation to this matter.

"Crown Counsel's decision was communicated to Mr Ozer in October 2010."

Ozer declined to comment.

Notice from the Professional Interpreters for Justice (PI4J) following a workshop on 30th March with MoJ

"MoJ hosted a productive and informative workshop with PI4J representatives on 30 March 2015. The workshop provided valuable insight and understanding on the issue of regulatory style functions that could potentially be considered to ensure the next generation framework agreement delivers a quality service at an affordable cost to the taxpayer. These functions were considered in the wider context of resources, ongoing assessment and rare languages.


The next steps will be to use the feedback and points raised during discussions to inform decisions made in the work leading up to the re-tender exercise later this year."

NRPSI newsletter:

Having trouble viewing this email? View a pdf version.



April 2015

I hope you find this issue an informative and enjoyable read. If you have a suggestion for inclusion in the newsletter, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Also, don’t forget to join the NRPSI LinkedIn group ‘Reflections on PSI Ethics’ – a forum for Registrants to discuss issues relating to the NRPSI Code of Conduct and general ethical issues that arise from working as a public service interpreter in the UK. You are also encouraged to follow the NRPSI LinkedIn Company Page, where we publicise the latest developments at NRPSI.

Stephen Bishop
Executive Director, NRPSI

New Ministry of Justice framework


The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has issued a Prior Information Notice (PIN), indicating the establishment of a new commercial arrangement for language services in the justice system to succeed the current framework. The MoJ contract with Capita TI ends in October 2016. The MoJ has commenced a consultation process. As part of this there was an initial Regulatory Framework Workshop with representatives from Professional Interpreters for Justice (including NRPSI) on 30 March 2015. There will also be other meetings and workshops including a supplier day on 1 May 2015.

The outline plan is for the procurement competition to be developed by the MoJ and its stakeholders over the summer of 2015, ready for the language contract to be put to tender later in 2015. The contract award will then take place in the spring of 2016. The MoJ estimates that justice system spend under any resulting contract is likely to be in the £80-160m range.

NHS England producing language specification


NHS England, which is responsible for primary care, has started work on a quality standards framework and draft specification for commissioning interpreting and translation services. They will be holding a number of open days around the country as part of this. NRPSI will be attending the event in London on 21 May to provide feedback on the standards of interpreting that should be employed in health settings.

PSIT Networking Group conference on interpreting in health


The date has now been confirmed as 3 July 2015 for this one-day conference that will bring together interpreters and those engaging interpreters in health settings. If you already interpret in the health sector, or don’t but are interested in finding out what is involved (22% who answered our Registrant Survey said they would be interested in working in this area for the first time), this is the conference for you! See the Events page of our website to find out how to register for this event, to be held at the London Metropolitan University Moorgate site, and pay the £20 fee.

Crown Commercial Services framework


Due to the election period of ‘purdah’, the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) has ‘paused’ its framework (see issues 20, 22, 23 and 26 of the Registrants’ Newsletter). The CCS expect to release the tender after a recognised government has been formed following the 7 May election.



National Register at ITI conference, 23-25 April 2015


The ITI conference in Newcastle was well attended and the NRPSI stand was visited both by existing Registrants and interpreters interested in registering. We also had some interesting conversations with other organisations and took the opportunity to attend the thought-provoking session on remote interpreting by Dr Sabine Braun from the University of Surrey.

User Survey results


About 14% of NRPSI website users who agreed to receive communications responded to the survey. Interestingly, while 70% had been in their current role for more than four years, over a quarter had used the website to search for interpreters for the first time in the last year, indicating increasing awareness of the National Register.

Asked about their satisfaction with the standard of interpreting provided, 61% said they were “very satisfied” with the interpreting provided by Registrants they had engaged. By comparison, only 18% were “very satisfied” with the interpreting provided by those not on the Register. There was also a high level of recognition for NRPSI’s work with 82% stating that it is upholding PSI standards. A high proportion of users (79%) considered it to be “very important” for their interpreters to be engaging in Continuing Professional Development (CPD). It is therefore good to note that 86% of those who responded to our Registrant Survey indicated that they are carrying out some sort of CPD, with over 40% carrying out more than 25 hours annually.

© 2015 NRPSI. All Rights Reserved.
NRPSI Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation. Registered in England No 7585982. NRPSI Ltd., Longcroft House Business Centre, 2/8 Victoria Avenue, London EC2M 4NS




Interpreting and Translation Updates 

by Klasiena Slaney  Twitter: interpreter@nrpsinterpreter 

interpreter language notes

Public Interpreting Saga Continues -What are court interpreters afraid of?

April 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Extract: "Unfortunately, many interpreters prefer to submissively accept the new rules and comply, even if it means less income, even when it is demeaning to the profession.  They are acting and reacting out of fear.  The thought of waking up tomorrow and realizing they do not have to go to court because they were not asked to interpret scares them to death. To them, court work, even in exchange for a rock bottom fee is peace of mind.  They firmly believe that as long as they keep working, even when underpaid, they are doing the best they can. This is the biggest problem that court interpreting faces as a profession in the United States, because, unlike our colleagues in the U.K., too many court interpreters in America are willing to roll with the punches and work more for less and under worst conditions. "

Now it's the turn of the interpreters in the Netherlands to boycott:

Dutch Interpreter @Dutch_interpret · Apr 10

APS: Tolken weigeren werk voor overheid tegen verplichte dumptarieven … Interpreters in NL boycott contractor #xl8 #1nt

Public service interpreters in the Netherlands are now boycotting the govt. contractor TCVN … #MOJFWA Groundhog Day

Check this out:
Legal fairness demands protection of the right to interpreters

Laura Moore ‏@LauraMoore49  Apr 11

A female client of mine had her case adj s5 till Monday because there was no Portuguese interpreter #crapita #criminallaw #crime #courts

Oliver Gardner ‏@oliversgardner  2h2 hours ago

At court today my case is adjourned for 2nd time with no plea because for 2nd time Crapita were unable to provide interpreter.

CourtNewsUK ‏@CourtNewsUK  10h10 hours ago

I'm guessing the Romanian interpreter isn't that good if the tannoy keeps repeating 'Romanian interpreter to court 5' for last 20 minutes

Jonathan Black ‏@jonblackbsb  11h11 hours ago

Duty call : non English speaker stealing 3 bottles of baby milk , paid for further 2. No address no interpreter. How much will this cost ?

Given the #MOJ's problems with interpreters, are we now looking at the Ministry of Silly Talks?


1.    Anthony Evans ‏@Dukevfr  Mar 19

Who have @NRCPD @ASLIuk @NUBSLI & VLP been talking to? @UKLabour don't seem to know about the MoJ F'work or National F'work. #DividedWeFall

@Dukevfr @NRCPD @ASLIuk @UKLabour several MPs aware of MoJ framework and have strongly supported spoken language interpreters 

@nrpsinterpreter I know these things. My tweet was highlighting the fact that I asked @Ed_Miliband face to face about it & he didn't know!

Criminal legal aid challenge resumes #MoJ's back of a fag packet sums a facsimile of interpreters #MOJFWA 'rationale' …

@lincolnslawyer @Linguist_Lounge It's #MOJ / #Crapita clever idea of job stacking for interpreters - volume to justify peanuts paid. #MoJFWA

The case established that Capita’s failure to provide the interpreters was a breach of its agreement with MoJ …

UPDATED MOJ guidance on court interpreters (as of 5th January 2015). Can you spot the changes?... 


@avwinter: … It is unfair to try a case if a party does not understand. MoJ's cost-cutting contracts overlook this.

Capita ordered to pay costs over failure to provide interpreters to family courts

Judgment comes amid mounting concern within the judiciary over delays and extra costs caused by private contractors on court service

 Judge Sir James Munby said Capita had been guilty of 'serial failures'. Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent


Monday 2 February 2015 22.37 GMTShare on Facebook

Capita, the private outsourcing company, has been ordered to pay £16,000 by the most senior judge in the family courts for its “lamentable” failure to provide interpreters seven times in the course of a single adoption case.

The damning comments made by Sir James Munby, president of the family division, highlight concern among lawyers and MPs at the way in which the £300m contract is operated. Labour’s justice spokesman said it demonstrated the contract was out of control.

Two years ago the justice select committee described the manner in which the court interpreting service was privatised as “shambolic” and said it had resulted in trials collapsing and suspects being remanded unnecessarily in custody.

Capita took over the service in 2012 after it bought another firm, ALS, which had been awarded the contract. Hundreds of professional interpreters are still boycotting the service over what they say are low fees.

This is believed to be the largest single costs order imposed on Capita for problems with its interpreting service. In his judgment, Munby said there had been a “repeated failure” by Capita to provide Slovak interpreters in a family court case launched in 2012.

On six occasions at Dover family proceedings court, Capita’s interpreters failed to arrive or were too late forcing the abandonment of hearings at which the parents were contesting the removal of their children.

When the case was transferred to the high court in London in May 2014 to be heard by Munby, the interpreters failed to appear again. He was forced to adjourn the proceedings and ordered that HM Courts and Tribunal Service should instead provide interpreters.

Munby explained: “It would have been unjust, indeed inhumane, to continue with the final hearing of applications as significant as those before me – this, after all, was their final opportunity to prevent the adoption of their children – if the parents were unable to understand what was being said.”

The judge continued: “There have been serial failures by Capita in this case against a background of wider systemic problems... The failures .... were not minor but extensive, and, at two different stages of the litigation, they had a profound effect on the conduct of the proceedings.”

Capita will not be liable for every occasion it fails to provide an interpreter, he added, ”lamentable though its failures to provide such interpreters were in this particular case and, seemingly, more generally. Everything will depend upon the precise circumstances of the particular case”.

The judge ordered Capita to pay Kent county council £15,927.36. Munby’s judgment comes amid mounting concern within the judiciary over delays and additional costs caused by private contractors on the court service. Last month a judge-led review by Sir Brian Leveson suggested that private security firms that delay delivering prisoners to court should face stiff financial penalties.

Commenting on the ruling, Labour’s shadow justice minister, Andy Slaughter, said: “This is another damning blow to [justice secretary] Chris Grayling from one of Britain’s top judges. It is truly shocking that the government are unable to get a grip three years into the contract.

“Capita’s under performance in providing interpreting and translation services is an embarrassment from which even this Lord Chancellor cannot hide from as official figures show that hundreds of interpreters are continuing to turn up late or not at all.”

A spokesperson for Capita said: “Due to ongoing legal procedures, it would not be appropriate to comment at this stage.”


Many criminal practitioners are demanding answers from the Legal Aid Agency over what they say is uncertainty regarding proposed cuts in fees.

Mr Jonathan Black, president of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association, has written to the Legal Aid Agency over concerns about a planned second 8.75% cut to the Litigators’ Graduated Fee Scheme (LGFS) and an 8.25% cut to the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS). Read More>>

Linguist Lounge

Meanwhile in Ireland... A translation service brings legal action after the interpreter contract is awarded to rivals. Will they be successful? An interesting story worth watching.

Translation service brings legal action against Garda Commisioner's after interpreter contract...
A translation service has brought a legal challenge to the Garda Commissioner's decision to award a contract for the supply of language interpretation...
Linguist Lounge

4 mins · 

*Case study* - Interpreters at this event in Staffordshire have helped to break down the barriers in a diverse community, raise awareness, promote social cohesion and educate migrants about how local systems work. viaThe Sentinel:…/story-26317881-…/story.html

Translators help Eastern European residents to get to know their Normacot neighbours

TRANSLATORS are helping to break down the barriers in a diverse community where almost 50 different languages are spoken. For the first time, at Normacot...


European Commission interpreters - SCIC

27 mins · 

Body language - Is everyone fluent?

The shocking differences in basic body language around the world

The body speaks volumes. But what it says depends on the culture you're in.


Interpreter news from abroad:

WordAwareness ‏@WordAwareness  22h22 hours ago

2010 terror trial: Court interpreter receives death threats  #Interpreting

Physical Therapist ‏@ThePTdiaries  Apr 14

Me: Who do you live with? Interpreter and pt appear to argue for 5 minutes Interpreter: "no"

PB Post Courts ‏@pbpcourts  Mar 31

In Judge Kastrenakes' ctrm this a.m., judge needs no interpreter, explains to defendant in English-accented Spanish when he should return.

Open Letter To Francis Maude MP: Scrap the Framework

We, the undersigned, are writing to request that the national framework agreement for language services (interpreting and translation) currently being drafted by the Crown Commercial Services is scrapped with immediate effect, as we believe it is not fit for purpose.

The intended outcome of the framework agreement - to save money and ensure quality provision - cannot possibly be achieved.

Deaf people have already endured months of uncertainty and poorly administered services as a result of the ill-informed changes made to Access to Work. These changes were made with no consultation and demonstrated a clear lack of understanding of the industry or of how interpreters work. Deaf people's jobs were placed at significant risk. The issues identified by the Work and Pension Select Committee who held an inquiry into Access to Work can be read here, you will note that viable solutions were offered:

Whilst jobs being placed at risk is a serious issue, the consequences of a framework which covers areas such as health, mental health, social services including child protection and other safeguarding areas could be far worse. Without qualified interpreters, clinicians and other professionals cannot complete their work safely. The risks to the Deaf community are unimaginable. We could, without exaggeration, be talking about loss of life and liberty.

Following on from the disastrous consequences of changes made to Access to Work provision as well as issues of unqualified people being used as interpreters, the BSL interpreting profession is in a state of decline. Almost half of all NRCPD registered interpreters responded to a survey by NUBSLI recently. The results showed that 48% of respondents are thinking about leaving the profession. A considerably depleted workforce would, as in any market, drive fees upwards.

To de-professionalise the industry would have a detrimental effect on the Deaf community and set access levels back to those last seen twenty plus years ago. Given that it takes on average seven years to train a competent interpreter who is safe to practice, the framework could do lasting damage to the Deaf community. We therefore request that this work ceases and alternative solutions sought with the full consultation of the experts in this sector: the Deaf community and BSL interpreters.


#Scrap The Framework Campaign

Sign Your Name by adding it here:

Signed by (organisations):

National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI) - Jennifer Smith, Chair
British Deaf Association (BDA) - Dr Terry Riley OBE, Chair
Stop Changes To Access To Work Campaign - Nicky Evans
Disabled People Against Cuts - Ellen Clifford
Inclusion London - Geraldine O'Halloran

Association of Lipspeakers - Lesley Weatherson

Visual Language Professionals - Vikki Bridson-Vice (Steering Committee)

Deaf Access Cymru - Alison Bryan, Chair

Signed by (individuals):

Nicky Evans                    BSL/English Interpreter
Wes Mehaffy                  BSL/English Interpreter
Martin Fox-Roberts         BSL/English Interpreter
Jennifer Smith                 BSL/English Interpreter
Mariella Reina                 BSL/English Interpreter
Dr Terry Riley OBE
Susan Billam       
Gary Northfield       
Clare Vinton                     BSL/English Interpreter
Roma Parrick                BSL/English Interpreter              
Maria Munro                     BSL/English Interpreter
Adele Ward                BSL/English Interpreter
Bridget Bree                     BSL/English Interpreter
Philip Bird
Rachel O'Neill                  Lecturer
Gloria Ogborn                BSL/English Interpreter
Donna West                     Trainee BSL/English Interpreter
Ali Hetherington            BSL/English Interpreter
Paula Fye                BSL and Deafblind Manual Interpreter
Adama Fye
Jenny North
Mike North            Deafblind Manual Interpreter
Ron Langridge
Cathy Davey                        Clinical Supervisor MBACP Sen Accredited
Alison Gilchrist                    BSL/English Interpreter
Jennifer Dodds         BSL/English Interpreter (Deaf)
Gráinne Sheehan        BSL/English Interpreter and Deafblind Manual Interpreter
James Banks            BSL/English Interpreter
Van Holtom             BSL/English Interpreter
Simon Bristoll            BSL / English Interpreter
Nicky Glegg           
Louise Bodycombe           BSL/English Interpreter
Ivan Osborne                   BSL/English Interpreter
Veronica Nanson        BSL/English Interpreter
Claire Dodds                  BSL/English interpreter
Elizabeth Mercer               BSL/English Interpreter
Diana Coada                  Court interpreter (DPSI)
Louise Gough            Translator (MITI)
Dr Zuzana Windle        Legal interpreter
Hannah Watson         BSL/English Interpreter
Dr Dimitra Kalantzi          Translator (AITI)
Philippe Muriel (MCIL)     French Interpreter (DPSI) & Translator (Dip Trans) - Interpreter Trainer
Christopher Windle
Sarah Powell            Clinical Psychologist
Elvire Roberts                 BSL/English Interpreter
Sue Leschen                    Legal and commercial French Interpreter
Ségolène Neilson             Legal (DPSI), medical and business interpreter and translator   
Rami  Kohli                     Legal (DPSI) Interpreter
Parvin Lackschewitz-Martin    Legal interpreter NRPSI (BA Honours in languages)
Mihaela Patrascu             Legal interpreter DPSI DPI RPSI MCIL
Emma Lipton             Trainee BSL/English Interpreter
Laura Orsini             Interpreter (NRPSI) and translator
Irina Norton                      Conference and Public Service Interpreter/translator
Sarah Martin                   Trainee interpreter
Eileen Ford
Yasemin Kafali               Legal interpreter (NRPSI)
Mark West            BSL/English Interpreter
Rebecca Hinks        BSL/English interpreter
Forrai Éva            Legal Interpreter, Hungarian, NRPSI, Met Police
Dione Deans             BSL/English Interpreter

Sami Thorpe                  Trainee BSL/English Interpreter

Manzoor Ahmed Khan      Legal interpreter

Rita Layden            BSL/English Interpreter

Daniel Alun Roberts         BSL/English Interpreter

Celia Hulme            Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate

Benjamin Silifant

Gillian Laird

Hazel Flynn                      Clinical Management Lead - Snr Accred BACP

Bibi Lacey-Davidson        BSL/English Interpreter

Tom Mould                       BSL/English Interpreter

Kate Outhwaite                BSL/English Interpreter

Barbara Coll

Bryony Coombe        Medical Underwriter

Cathryn McShane            BSL/English Interpreter

Tawatchai Brome Brito      Interpreter Coordinator

David Phippard        BSL/English Interpreter

Colette Phippard        BSL/English Interpreter

Craig Brown                     BSL/Auslan/English Interpreter

Heidi K. Robertson        Creative Freelancer

Anne-Françoise Boreland     French Interpreter (DPSI) and Translator

Ann Devaney                   BSL/English Interpreter

Emma De Casse           Trainee BSL/English Interpreter

Jackie Dennis         BSL/English Interpreter

Anthony Evans          BSL/English Interpreter

Caroline Ridley          Community Occupational Therapist working in Deafness/Mental Health

Mimi McQuaid         Legal Interpreter (NRPSI)

Philip Wyatt              Psychologist Therapist

Karen Parker          Teacher/Trainer Freelancer

Liz Wyatt             BSL/English Interpreter

Freya Hill             Communications Assistant
Yvonne MacAnara          BSL/English Interpreter

Jenny Guppy                   Teacher of the Deaf

Julia Lord CPsychol        Chartered Counselling Psychologist

Julie Whitaker            Speech-to-Text Reporter

Rob Troy             BSL/English Interpreter

Sahara DeVille         Counsellor

Mary Altabev             Interpreter/Translator NRPSI

Mark Oulton

Stephen Menton          BSL/English Interpreter

Beverley Haslam         BSL/English Interpreter

Stephen Hudson        BSL/English Interpreter

Josie Fray              Trainee BSL / English Interpreter, Social Worker

Caroline Corrigan        BSL/English Interpreter

Parminder Kaur            Legal interpreter NRPSI

Agata McCrindle         Legal Interpreter NRPSI MITI MCIL APCI

John Donald             Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner

Amanda Bavin         STT Reporter

Mary Brumby             BSL/English Interpreter

Cristina Santos          RPSI 13999

Norah Griffiths         Trainee BSL/English Interpreter

Eszter Fejes             RPSI 15008

Mary Brumby             BSL/English Interpreter

Rachael Veazey        BSL/English Interpreter

Valerie Hall             Registered BSL/English Interpreter

Karla Hannigan         BSL/English Interpreter

Vikki Bridson-Vice         BSL/English Interpreter

Carol Spencer         BSL/English Interpreter

Sarah Spencer

Emma Phillips         BSL/English Interpreter

Jason Sharpe

Nicola Williams         BSL/English Interpreter

Norman Thompson         Retired

Laura Davies             BSL/English Interpreter

Lynn Shannon         Service Manager

Dr Nadia Hussein        Arabic Language Legal Interpreter

Annie Brotherton         BSL/English Interpreter

Thomas Giddens         Freelancer

Kate Adams             Trainee Sign Language Interpreter

Diana Hubbard         Legal Interpreter (NRPSI)

Omoyele Thomas         Registered BSL/English Interpreter

Paul Bargery             BSL/English Interpreter

Vicky Pannell             BSL/English Interpreter

Deborah Haly

Louise Tingay         BSL/English Interpreter

Catherine Hare-Cockburn     Deaf employee

Ian Cockburn             Deaf BSL user

Tracey Hurrell         BSL/English Interpreter

Jude Mahon             BSL/English interpreter

Lucy Slater            BSL/English Interpreter

Lee Douthwaite

Jayne Cooke             BSL/English Interpreter

Barry Davey

Jason Bell             BSL/English Interpreter

Isobel Higgins         BSL/English Interpreter

Tracey M Robinson         Registered Manager   

Philip Cowood         Legal interpreter

Elizabeth Smith         BSL/English Interpreter

Alison Green             BSL/English Interpreter

Anne Richardson         BSL/ English Interpreter

Rosanna Harrison         BSL/English Interpreter

Tina Holmes             BSL/English Interpreter

Rose Nest             BSL/English interpreter

Heidi Watson             BSL/English Interpreter

Sign Your Name by adding it here:



Please sign the open letter to Francis Maude MP and get everyone you know to sign too: (click this link:

Deadline Wednesday 25th February 5pm.