Still privatised, still undervalued: new court interpreting contract from 31 October

"The government’s stated rationale for privatising court interpreting services is to improve efficiency and save money. Whether either of those has been achieved remains debatable. Unsubstantiated savings of £38 million under the first contract do not include the cost of rescheduling court cases, holding defendants on remand for extra time or the unquantifiable distress to parties. Changes to the publication of statistics on language services may also make it difficult to track significant differences between the two contracts."


"The government’s stated rationale for privatising court interpreting services is to improve efficiency and save money. Whether either of those has been achieved remains debatable. Unsubstantiated savings of £38 million under the first contract do not include the cost of rescheduling court cases, holding defendants on remand for extra time or the unquantifiable distress to parties. Changes to the publication of statistics on language services may also make it difficult to track significant differences between the two contracts.

Access to the courts and justice is increasingly a privileged sphere. Migrants and the disabled – the communities served by court interpreters –– are already adversely affected by austerity measures and public service cuts. With the language of court proceedings a challenge for many monolingual speakers of English, demanding that foreign language speakers learn English is irrelevant; language ability is simply a further disadvantage. The discourse around Brexit and foreign workers and nationals in the UK also places interpreters, many of whom are foreign nationals, at a disadvantage.

Many professional foreign language interpreters have already expressed their dissatisfaction with the new contract, which offers them little incentive or professional recognition. A strike is due to take place on Monday 14 November."

See full article: Still privatised, still undervalued: new court interpreting contract from 31 October (IRR, link):

 

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