ALS and court interpreters / Gerichtsdolmetscherschlamassel in England

This story has been around since well before Christmas and no doubt all readers know about it. The British Ministry of Justice decided to save money on court interpreters and instead of taking interpreters from a national register it transferred all jobs to be dealt with by ALS (Applied Language Solutions), a translation and interpreting agency which offered very low rates. Travel expenses were all radically cut. It was one of those situations where an interpreter would be better off staying at home and working as a cleaner. Channel 4 News had a summary of it recently: Court translation service in crisis after cost-cutting deal.
Around 1,000 interpreters have not been turning up to court because of the reduced pay and expenses offered by ALS. As a result, court hearings reliant on interpreters have been delayed or postponed, at a high cost to the MoJ and the taxpayer. One of the most serious cases was at Leeds Crown Court on February 22, which led Judge Robert Bartfield to say: "Apart from the waste of time for the jurors, the distress caused to witnesses and the defendant himself, the cost of this now aborted trial is likely to run into thousands of pounds." ... At Boston Magistrates court, on February 1, Channel 4 News was told that a Polish interpreter turned up to court wearing a hat and overalls and didn't understand the solicitor when he said they needed to go down to the cells ...
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