Interpreter tiers, languages, figures
In a written answer to questions asked by Zac Goldsmith, a Conservative MP, Helen Grant, the Justice Minister, provided the following figures of the number of interpreters available in each tier, as at 29 October 2012 and as provided by Capita:
Tier Number of interpreters Number of languages covered
Tier l 677 1332
Tier 2 303 640
Tier 3 132 281
If we take a closer look at this break-down, these figures don’t appear to stand up at all. If one interpreter speaks a foreign language and English, then the total number of languages covered should be at least double of each number for each tier.
So if we multiply 677 by 2 we get 1,354.
The "number of languages" covered by these 677 interpreters according to Helen Grant is 1,332.
So it appears that there are 22 interpreters who either speak no foreign language or don't speak English.
If, on the other hand, the figure of 1,332 "languages covered" means that these are 1,332 different languages, excluding English, then this is also total nonsense.
We all know that the total demand for different languages in the country is about 100. There are very widely used languages like Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, Arabic, Urdu. There are less widely used ones like Thai, Mongolian or Twi, but all together there are about 100 languages used in the country. Not 1,332 different languages.
On the other hand, there might be "linguists" who claim to speak many languages (we remember a legendary linguist who allegedly worked with 8 languages), but he can't be in 8 different courts at the same time, can he?
What exactly are these figures based on?