British judges, Lithuanian defendants, and Google Translate
The last several months have been chaotic for courts in the UK. The country's interpreters are boycotting new rules imposed on their profession and refuse to help out courts, while judges must do what they can to work around the situation and explain non-English-speaking – Lithuanian, for example – defendants what they are charged with.
Some bring in defendants' wives, others ask hospital janitors to help them communicate, yet others use the notoriously inaccurate Google Translate service.
In most cases, however, British judges adjourn hearings that require interpreters' assistance. For example, on 20 February, three Lithuanian citizens – Šimkus, Nurbikas, and Vilkaitis – were charged with shop robbery and dangerous driving. They were held in custody for seven days because bail hearings kept being adjourned – five times. Four of them had to do with failure to bring in an English-Lithuanian interpreter.
On 27 February, the three Lithuanians were summoned to the court for the sixth time. This time, their friend was asked to translate the proceedings, even though her English was rather limited.