Criminal Proceedings: Translation Services

Justice written question – answered on 14th November 2011.

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Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Labour, Wythenshawe and Sale East

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice

(1) what criteria will be used to decide in which tier interpreter and translation will be placed under the new system for delivery of interpreters and translators services in the criminal justice system;

(2) what estimate he has made of the (a) hourly, (b) daily rate of pay for interpreter and translators within (i) tier 1, (ii) tier 2 and (iii) tier 3 of the new system for delivery of interpreters and translators services in the criminal justice system;

(3) whether he expects the number of interpreters and translators on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters to increase following changes to the system for delivery of interpreters and translators services in the criminal justice system;

(4) when he expects to withdraw from the national agreement on arrangements for the use of interpreters, translators and language service professionals in investigations and proceedings within the criminal justice system.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

Under the new system, assignment into tiers for foreign language interpreters is dependent on a range of criteria including the qualifications and experience possessed by the individual and their assessment centre performance. I understand that Middlesex university will carry out those assessments independent of the Ministry of Justice and the supplier, using marking criteria which assesses an interpreter's coherence, accuracy, fluency and ability to convey the speaker's intended effect. There is no tiering for translators.

Rates of pay are a matter between the supplier and individual linguist. However I understand the hourly rate of pay for foreign language interpreters to be £22 for Tier 1, £20 for Tier 2 and £16 for Tier 3. Travel allowances may be payable with the agreement of the supplier. Translators will continue to be paid by the word, as they are at present.

It is a matter for individual interpreters and translators as to whether they wish to register with the National Register of Public Service Interpreters. This register is entirely independent of Government. However, ensuring interpretation and translation is of the appropriate quality and widening the available pool of interpreters are fundamental elements of this reform, and have always been so. Under the Framework Agreement the supplier will be required to increase the numbers of appropriately qualified interpreters available for use by the justice sector generally, but particularly in relation to those languages and areas of the country where coverage is currently insufficient to meet operational needs. They will also be required to plan for future language demand. This will ensure that we have interpreters in the languages we need, in the areas we need them. There are no current concerns about the number of available translators.

A move to the Framework Agreement will probably render the National Agreement redundant and we expect to withdraw it in due course, but a date has not been fixed. In the short-term, parts of the National Agreement will be disapplied to organisations with contracts under the MOJ Framework Agreement.

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