Friday, 19 August 2016

Courtroom interpreting contract winner announces hiring spree 
19 August 2016 by Monidipa Fouzder

Courtroom interpreting contract winner announces hiring spree
The Leeds-headquartered international language services company set to take over from Capita to provide courtroom interpreting in October is looking to hire more than 3,500 language experts.
Thebigword today announced that it has signed a contract worth up to £120m to provide face-to-face and telephone interpreting and translations to the Ministry of Justice from 31 October.
The business employs more than 550 people across 11 offices and says it already has 8,000 linguists.
Now that the contract has been signed, thebigword says it will recruit more than 100 new support staff at its Leeds office and more than 3,500 language experts.
Thebigword chief executive Larry Gould said (pictured): ‘The MoJ decided to work with us because we have the experience, infrastructure and word-class technology.
‘We already work with a range of large-scale public sector organisations around the world and they know they can trust us to deliver. This is a fantastic deal for thebigword and further cements our position as the largest interpreting services provider in Europe.’
More than four years after the controversial outsourcing of courtroom interpreting to a single contractor, new arrangements will replace Capita Translation and Interpreting’s contract, which expires on 30 October.
The contract for non-spoken language services has reportedly been offered to Cambridge firm Clarion Interpreting Limited.
The contract for independent quality assurance has reportedly been offered to The Language Shop, a business originally set up by the London Borough of Newham.
Providing further details about its deal, thebigword says it will deliver ‘dedicated online portals that seamlessly and instantly connect linguists with clients needing language support’.
The contract also requires thebigword to develop a trainee scheme in conjunction with the independent quality assurance supplier.
Gould said thebigword will continue to push for contracts similar to its MoJ contract in the private and public sectors.
‘We are extremely proud of the work we do breaking down language bariers around the world everyday and are now looking forward to helping deliver justice in the UK,’ he added.
‘It’s also fantastic to be welcoming thousands more skilled linguists to thebigword family.’

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Oldham surgery where doctors rely on people in the waiting room to do their translation 
13 August 2016

The Oldham surgery where doctors rely on people in the waiting room to do their translation
Doctors at an Oldham surgery placed into special measures by inspectors are relying on people in the waiting room to translate for other patients.
The Care Quality Commission say Greenbank Surgery in Glodwick has a high number of patients who don’t speak English as a first language, and that interpreters who speak Urdu and Punjabi are needed frequently.
However, an inspection of the surgery, which is in Barley Clough Medical Centre, found that formal interpreters were not being used, and instead staff were relying on relatives or other patients who were in the waiting room to provide the service.
It also said that despite the high number of patients who don’t speak English, all information in the waiting room was only in English.
These were just some of a catalogue of failings that resulted in Greenbank being placed into special measures.
The CQC rated it ‘inadequate’ overall and have warned it will be shut down if improvements are not made within the next six months. […]

My job as an interpreter is too often telling deaf people they won’t get help 
13 August 2016

My job as an interpreter is too often telling deaf people they won’t get help
“I’m really sorry, but we have done all we can.” I slowly pick my hands up to tell the 19-year-old eastern European girl in front of me that she is going to have to wipe her eyes and walk back out of the council offices, homeless, hungry and at risk.
The council officer to my left is wearing the same steely, but resigned look that I have seen on the face of every council officer I meet. I tell the deaf client, in sign language, that the appointment is over and watch her face fall. No matter how many times I do this – and it has been hundreds – it still hurts knowing that I am the person to tell them there is no hope left.
When it is over, I smile at the deaf person, who thanks me profusely for doing my job. She tells me that even though the council couldn’t help her get a flat, at least they provided an interpreter for the meeting – that wouldn’t have happened in her own country.
Despite the heavy heart I carry after these assignments, I love my job. I moved into the role quite unexpectedly after meeting a group of deaf children at an event and, after learning the basics, found that I had a real aptitude for sign language. Ten years later, I was able to qualify and started working on a freelance basis.
I now work across all public services – the NHS, courts, police stations, prison services, counselling, mental health, immigration, mediation and education. As a freelance, I manage my own diary. My next booking, made via an agency, is an antenatal appointment. That’s all the information I have. I don’t know if the client is newly pregnant, if they are having complications or if this is just a routine appointment.
But when I turn up another interpreter is waiting for the same client. We have been double-booked. After some pleasantries, I realise that the other interpreter is not a professional interpreter at all and has only a basic language certificate in BSL, probably enough to talk about what you are having for dinner and where you are going on holiday, but less able to describe the intricate workings of someone’s uterus. I send the other interpreter home and offer to sort it out with the agency later.
This is not uncommon. Most of our work is outsourced by the government to large interpreting agencies, which have undercut each other and then outsourced the work to specialists. After the agencies take their share, there isn’t much money left and we are often asked to take a pay cut – despite the government paying hand over fist for translation services.
Many larger agencies lack understanding about what we do, with BSL too often simply added onto the list of languages available. Sometimes the agencies bypass professional interpreters completely and opt for untrained signers who come cheap. This is particularly apparent with legal and court interpreting. Five years ago, legal work was taken on by the best interpreters. Now, they are all agency staff and often inexperienced. The results are clear, with thousands of court cases being adjourned due to failures in interpreting services.
Back at my appointment, when my heavily pregnant client arrives we sit together in the waiting room. She and her husband were going to decide whether or not to find out the sex of their baby today, but her husband has been held up at work and she doesn’t know what to do. We go in and I stand near the radiographer, who asks if my client wants to find out if it is a boy or girl. My client suggests the radiographer can tell me, and I write it down on a piece of paper so she can take it home and they can decide later. As we walk out, I ask my client whether she has a preference. She laughs and says she is ecstatic; she knows they are having a girl. Turns out, she is pretty good at lip-reading.
BSL makes up a tiny percentage of all interpreting services, but our funding comes from the same pot. Some people argue that many interpreters are paid to help those who should learn English, but deaf people cannot learn to hear.