Applied Language Solutions’ MoJ issues – not down to lack of talent?
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has encountered “unacceptable” problems with the firm contracted to provide interpreters to UK courts, Capita-owned agency Applied Language Solutions – but lack of interpreting talent would not seem to be to blame.
A statement from ALS, which was bought by Capita for £7.5m in January this year, as reported by recruiter.co.uk, says “we are fulfilling the vast majority of bookings (nearly 3,000 a week) and have 2,000 experienced and qualified linguists actively working within the system”, also adding: “More interpreters are signing up daily.”
A director of one translation agency, who did not wish to be named for this article, told Recruiter that in its experience there was no significant lack of talent in the translating and interpreting market.
Private Eye has reported on ALS on multiple occasions. In its issue #1293 of 22 July 2011, it suggested it was “an agency so unpopular with language professionals that it faced a boycott and a legal challenge to its deal with four police forces in North-West England”, as reported in previous issues of the publication.
The Ministry of Justice issued a statement saying: “There have been an unacceptable number of problems in the first weeks of the contract.” According to yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, these have at times left court staff relying on free online service Google Translate.
The MoJ continues: “They [ALS] have put measures in place to resolve these issues and we have already seen a marked improvement… and will continue to monitor the system on a daily basis.”