ALS Vietnamese interpreter: a complete joke. Appeal is underway
Birmingham Crown Court, 30/03/2012.
Court 10, Vietnamese defendant, for sentence.
An ALS linguist arrives 1 hour late, but with a smile! Usher: Are you the Vietnamese interpreter? ALS: Yesss :) Usher: Are you aware that you are 1 hour late? ALS: Yesss :) Usher: Did the agency ask you to arrive 15 minutes prior to the assignment? ALS: Yesss :) Usher: OK. Oath or an affirmation? ALS: Yesssss :)
The affirmation part was hilarious – even though he was asked to repeat after the usher, the ALS linguist managed to badly mispronounce just about everything, adding his own words into the text and omitting bits of what was said. I have never heard anything like that before! The judge raised his eyebrows a couple of times, but decided to proceed nevertheless.
In the public gallery, I sat next to two Vietnamese ladies. As soon as the case started and the ALS linguist started his interpreting, their faces turned very emotional - the ladies' eyes widened with surprise, they vigorously shook their heads on many occasions, hid their faces in their hands, and even giggled amongst themselves a few times. They were asked to keep quiet. I scribbled on the paper "Is he good?", pointing at the ALS linguist in the dock - they vigorously shook their heads.
The hearing lasted for an hour. As soon as it was finished, the ALS linguist demonstratively wiped his forehead, muttered "See you next time" with a smile, and rushed out of the building. The two Vietnamese ladies rushed to the defence counsel and I overheard them say that the Vietnamese interpreter was a complete joke and should have never been allowed to work in courts! According to them, not only did he translate all the basic dates and names wrong, he misinterpreted just about everything that was said! The ladies were convinced that the Vietnamese defendant had no chance of fully understanding the sentencing guidelines that were discussed, the explanation behind his imprisonment, or any other aspects of his future (incl. being on the sex offender register, Home Office's involvement, etc). They insisted on a re-sentencing hearing, and the barrister confirmed that she would appeal.