Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Ireland: Case thrown out due to poor interpreter

21 March 2017

Lost in translation: Case thrown out due to poor interpreter
A charge of theft against a Latvian native has been thrown out of court after his interpreter was deemed by the judge to have poor English.
Andris Kumacevs with an address of 39, Chesnut Grove, Castlebar, was charged with the theft of €18.20 worth of goods from Dunnes Stores in Castlebar. He appeared before Castlebar District Court on Wednesday last where an interpreter was set to be sworn in to translate court proceedings from English into Latvian.
However, upon taking the oath to translate fully and accurately, Mr Kumacevs’ appointed translator struggled to repeat the oath read by the court clerk in English.
The matter was put back and Judge Mary Devins was informed the interpreter was from an agency whom the Courts Service hire for interpreters.
Judge Devins said ‘it was obvious to me she did not speak good English’ and questioned the appointment and the process in general.
Inspector Gary Walsh asked for a second chance to be given to the interpreter as it was her first time in court.
Judge Devins said the interpreter should not be sent to court if she was not capable of repeating the oath in English and criticised the expense of the case.
She said Irish fees for translation services were among the highest in the European Union and described the situation as ‘completely unsatisfactory’.
She argued the case ‘must have cost the State thousands’ compared to the €18.20 theft involved. Inspector Walsh said stores want such cases to be prosecuted to which Judge Devins replied ‘An Garda Sioch├ína are not a private police force employed by stores’.
She said she was striking out the case ‘in the interests of fairness and natural justice’.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Hearing adjourned

13 March 2017

[…] The case had originally been adjourned from March 1 so that a plea could be entered and an interpreter could be arranged. […]

Friday, 10 March 2017

NHS acts to limit practice disruption after translation provider collapse

10 March 2017

NHS acts to limit practice disruption after translation provider collapse
Pearl Linguistics, which provides face-to-face, phone, and BSL interpretation and document translation for practices across England, went into liquidation on 2 March.
The firm was one of 14 providers on NHS Shared Business Service’s (SBS's) interpretation and translation services framework procured by CCGs and NHS trusts.
SBS, a joint venture firm owned by DH and Sopra Steria, which provides back office and procurement services to the NHS, said it has made interim arrangements to minimise disruption to GPs.
GP appointments
NHS England confirmed that a ‘minimal’ number of pre-booked appointments had been disrupted by the collapse of the firm but that alternative arrangements had been made.
An SBS contract agreement document about the framework, which runs from November 2016 to October 2018, reported ‘25% savings’ on the previous agreement.
The Unite union has called on the government to investigate how interpretation contracts are awarded after the firm’s collapse. It said a ‘race to the bottom’ in public sector outsourcing was adversely affecting people who rely on interpreting services.
Unite regional officer Andy Murray said: 'What we have here is an example of a company, Pearl Linguistics that has gone into liquidation because, it appears, it was unable to operate in a contract culture even when underpinned by depressed wages.
‘The cost-cutting across the sector is driving highly competent interpreters away from the profession as they can’t afford to live on the wages on offer.
NHS cuts
‘The people that are going to suffer are those needing assistance when going to NHS appointments and those appearing in court.’
An NHS SBS spokesman said: ‘Pearl Linguistics was one of 14 suppliers listed on the NHS SBS Interpretation & Translation Services framework. After being made aware of the company’s impending liquidation, we immediately notified all those who use this framework and worked with other suppliers to ensure interim arrangements, such as telephone interpretation, are in place to minimise any short term disruption to GP and other primary care services.
'A full assessment has now shown there is sufficient capacity within the current framework to meet future requirements and ensure the NHS continues to get best value for money, whilst being legally compliant and able to provide the highest possible standards of interpretation and translation for patients. We have also been helping organisations that relied on non-NHS SBS frameworks, including one on which Pearl Linguistics was the only provider, to quickly access new compliant suppliers.'
An NHS England spokesman said: ‘We were alerted to Pearl Linguistics' liquidation the day before and immediately took steps to make alternative arrangements to cover its interpreting services by other providers. A minimal number of pre-booked appointments were affected.’
Pearl Linguistics did not respond to a request for comment.