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Protection of the public at the heart of new interpreters register

A REGISTER of qualified interpreters and translators will be created to support the new framework agreement for the provision of language services to the MoJ (due to come into force later this year), and has been introduced with the protection of the public as its key objective. The register, which will be managed by language services provider Applied Language Solutions (ALS), will enable access to a stronger pool of skilled and appropriately qualified and experienced linguists for members of the public that do not use English as their first language who are involved with the Ministry of Justice – whether as a victim, a witness or defendant.

The new agreement is set to be of great benefit to members of the African and Caribbean communities, where there is a strong demand for skilled interpreters in rare languages to work with organisations such as the police, court services, and tribunal services. Those that sign up to the register will be assessed and, where appropriate, provided with a continual professional development plan in order to improve their linguistic skills over time and, as a result, continue to raise the standards of interpreting for the MoJ.

ALS is about to commence its rigorous assessment process, in order to examine the skills of those wishing to become approved CJS linguists in order to allocate them to interpreting and translation assignments to enable members of the public to communicate and be fairly represented, while ensuring an efficient and effective service on behalf of the public.

The register will ensure access to interpreters of appropriate skill, experience and vetting, ensuring those who have demonstrated their fitness to be included - through attendance at an assessment centre - are now available, and can be sourced for work in the justice sector more quickly than at present.

The benefit of this approach to the public is that the independent assessment centre process will remove any ambiguity surrounding the respective qualifications and experience levels of interpreters. It will serve as a diagnostic tool to impartially determine an individual’s current level of ability to carry out language support work within the justice system. From the results, it will then be possible to assign interpreters to assignments for which they are known to be qualified.

The result is that the public will not be served by an interpreter who has not been subject to assessment and this will eliminate the concerns of many professional interpreters and community groups that poor quality linguists may be attending MoJ assignments in the future.

In the case of rare languages where the DPSI or equivalent qualification is not available, the interpreter must have the Cambridge Proficiency in English Certificate, or NRPSI registration (rare language category) 100 hours of public sector interpreting experience, evidence of continuous professional development, references and a pass at the assessment centre.

David Joseph, Head of Linguist Relations at Applied Language Solutions, commented: “By having one single register, jobs can be allocated evenly with the more skilled and experienced linguist gaining work more consistently. In the long term this will be of great benefit to minority communities throughout the UK and will help to strengthen lines of communication between the arms of the MoJ and the communities they serve.

“We are always looking for linguists with qualifications and experience in the rarer languages, and these often happen to originate from Africa and parts of the Caribbean. If you would like to work with us, please visit www.linguistlounge.com, to begin registration. The first Assessment Centres take place from mid September so time is of the essence to register.”