Taxpayers hit by £2m per month bill for translators
Experts who speak 226 tongues, dialects and who can sign for deaf foreigners have been employed for criminal, civil and family hearings.
The Government is paying almost £2 million a MONTH for court translators as the legal system deals with more foreign criminals and immigrants.
Experts who speak 226 tongues, dialects and who can sign for deaf foreigners have been employed for criminal, civil and family hearings – being paid a total of £60,000 a day.
Translators who speak Zulu, Creole, Jamaican Patois and Mongolian have all appeared in court to help proceedings.
Polish was the most requested language in criminal hearings with 18,600 cases and there was an enormous jump in Romanian defendants needing help - rocketing to 11,000 from 800 in the previous 12 months.
In December last year, the Ministry of Justice paid out £1.5 million to translation service Capita. In June the figure was £1.8 million.
More than half of the requests for a translator were for criminal proceedings , with a third being for immigration hearings and family courts making up the rest.
Figures show that a huge 160,600 requests were made for translators in 2014.
In criminal hearings, Lithuanian was the third most requested language with 8,200 translators called - an increase of 600 compared with 2013.
In Immigration hearings, the most requested language interpreters were Urdu with 6,500 and Punjabi at 4,400. There were 4,000 calls for Arabic speakers.
In Civil and Family courts, the most requested language interpreters were Polish with 2,800. The next most requested language interpreters were Urdu with 1,700.
But a spokesman for the MOJ said the figures represented good value, revealing: “Since we introduced a new interpreting contract in 2012 we have spent £38 million less on language service fees than was projected to be spent under the previous arrangements.”
Nearly four years after the outsourcing of courtroom interpreting to a single contractor, the service continues to fall short of its key performance target, according to the latest government figures.
Between July and September 2015, Capita Translation and Interpreting completed 97% of requests for language services, up from 96% in the previous quarter, but still short of the 98% requirement stated in the contract.
The Ministry of Justice said this was the highest success rate since the contract started on 30 January 2012.
Complaints about the service fell from 580 between April and June last year, to 430 between July and September. The report states that this represented a 1% complaint rate, the lowest since the contract commenced.
The most common cause of complaint was that the ‘interpreter was late’, accounting for 30% of all complaints, an increase of one per cent from the previous quarter.
‘No interpreter available’ accounted for 21% of complaints, compared with 31% in the previous quarter.
A spokesperson for Capita TI said: ’The current published success rate (ie completed jobs) stands at 97% for the period July to September 2015, demonstrating that our standards for success rates are high and we will continue to strive to increase that further.’
The present contract will expire on 30 October. Competition for future contracts began in October last year.
Full list of languages for which court translation services were required
Albanian (all variants), Arabic (all variants), Armenian, Bengali, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Croatian, Czech, Dari (all variant), Dutch, Estonian, Farsi, French (all variants), German (all variants), Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Kurdish (Sorani), Latvian, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Pashto (all variants), Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi (all variants), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu and Vietnamese Special Services (5) British sign language, Lipspeak (English), Sign supported (English), Deafblind Hands on/Hands under, and Palantypists Rare Languages (176) Acholi, Afghan Punjabi, Afrikaans, Akan, Algerian, Amharic, Aramaic, Ashanti, Azerbaijani (North), Azerbaijani (Southern), Azeri, Bagang, Bahasa Indonesian, Bahasa Malaysian, Bajuni, Bako, Balinese, Baluchi, Bamanankan, Bambara, Banjuni, Belarusian, Bemba Zambia, Bilen, Bosnian, Brahui, Bravanese, Burmese, Cameroonian, Catalan, Cebuano, Chaldean - Neo Aramaic, Chechen, Chichewa, Chittagonian, Creole , Dafur, Dagbani, Dakota, Danish, Dazaga, Dholuo, Dinka - Southern Central, Dioula, Edo, Efik, Emeric (Nigerian), English (Pidgin), Ewe, Fataluku, Fijian, Filipino, Finnish, Flemish, Fula, Fur, Ga, Georgian, Gherghel, Gorani, Guyenese, Hagan, Haitian, Hakka, Hausa, Hazara, Hebrew, Hindko, Hokkien, Ibibio, Icelandic, Idoma, Igbo, Ika Agbor, Ilocano, Indonesian, Ishan, Ishan (Nigeria), Jamaican Patois, Javanese, Jula, Kachi, Kambaata, Karen (Thailand), Kashmiri, Katchi (Maman), Kazakh, Khmer, Kibajuni, Kikongo, Kikuyu, Kinyamulenge, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Kiswahili, Konkani, Korean, Krio, Kurdish (Bahdini), Kutchi, Kyrghiz, Liberian, Lingala, Luganda, Luo,Macedonian, Malawian,Malawian Chichewa, Malay, Malayalam, Maldivian, Maltese, Mandingo, Mandinka, Maninka, Mauritian Creole, Mende, Mirpuri, Mongolian, Nambian, Ndebele - Northern, Ndebele - Southern, Nepalese, Nigerian Pidgin, Norwegian, Oromo (Central), Oshiwambo, Other, Pahari, Patois, Persian, Potwari, Rohingya, Rohingyan, Roma, Romany, Runyankole, Rutoro, Serb Croatian, Shona, Sindhi, Sinhala, Somalia Banadir, Sondi, Soninke, Susu, Swahili, Swazi, Swedish, Sylheti, Tagalog, Taishan, Taiwanese, Tajiki, Tama, Telugu, Temne, Tetum,Tibetan, Tigre, Tigrinya, Timorise, Turkmen, Twi, Uighur, Urhobo, Urohobo, Uzbek (Northern), Welsh, Wolof, Yiddish, Yoruba, Zaghawan, Zazaki, Zezuru, Zulu