On Wednesday morning at Boston Magistrates' Court, a Russian lady turned up. Initially, there was some shock ... a Russian interpreter was supposed to be attending for two cases. Could this be her? The usher asked if she was from ALS. The lady seemed unsure - it is fair to say that her grasp of the English language was only a tad better than my knowledge of Russian - but held up her mobile phone to show the usher a text telling her to be at Boston court in the morning.
The usher - one of the best, it has to be said - showed astonishing patience as she tried to ascertain whether she was, indeed, the interpreter required. She asked the lady if she had any identification. No ... she did not.
Was she here to translate? She could if she was needed to, she said, looking a little surprised.
It transpired that she thought she had attended for a security check and that she had not been told she was acting as an interpreter. Again, to be fair to her, one suspects her clients would have known more English than she.
She even offered to pay! The usher had to explain to her that, no, she didn't have to pay and that she might get paid.
Not sure what happened after that. She spent some time on the phone (presumably to ALS) asking what she was doing there and then seemed to leave.
Meanwhile, professional interpreters - known and trusted by all court users from defendants to magistrates - are not being called.
As an aside, the dignity of the professional interpreters in this dispute, and their staunch refusal to acquiesce to the meagre pittance being offered by ALS, has not gone unnoticed by solicitors and barristers and there are mutterings around the country that they seem a great deal more effective in disputes than the two professional bodies of the legal profession.