ALS tier system: qualified and unqualified in Tier 1?
I was booked for a county court on behalf of solicitors for a case this week and had a chance to speak to two ALS linguists. I started speaking to a pleasant, well-presented gentleman who arrived on time like me. He said he had been with ALS since November, had DPSI for 3 years, and was very busy running up and down the country. Half an hour later the other ALS linguist turned up, with a pink rucksack on her back, a grubby fleece sweatshirt and dirty trousers. She sat down between us and said that she would be happy if the case wasn't going ahead. No parties yet showed up at that moment.
So I then asked her how long she’d been interpreting and she said it was only since February, ALS had found her at her college course. The male interpreter then asked her: “But you do have DPSI, yes?” She just giggled and said: “Hell no, I’m only 24!” His face just dropped in shock. He asked her what tier she was and she said Tier 1, just like him.
At that point the party for which the female linguist was meant to interpret turned up and she was called over. But within 2 minutes she walked back to the booking desk and said (we were near enough to hear) that she was leaving as there was no need for 3 interpreters to be there and we could do the interpreting, and wanted to have her form signed. They sent her off to the office but we were a bit staggered – she took it on herself to decide that she was not needed and basically delegated her job to us, yet our client wasn’t even there.
Whilst she was gone, the first interpreter said to me that he was in shock because he had no idea non-DPSIs could even work for ALS and courts, let alone be put in the same tier as him. I put to him as many examples as I could in those few minutes and did my best to appeal to his professional pride but I didn’t think I had to work too hard, he was clearly unimpressed that he was considered at the same level as her. He was then asked to step in for her and go to court.
Once they came out, he went to the office for a signature. When he returned, he told me the girl had walked off the job as she had never been to court and was terrified, and they, understandably, refused to sign her form. To her, she did what she was required to do – attend – without any regards to whether she was inconveniencing the court or not or whether, in fact, she should have been allowed to take on that booking. The male interpreter said he’d heard only rumours so I just hope that he will wake up and see that he is selling himself out to slavery when clearly he can offer so much more.