The stand-in ALS interpreter and the beautician
An interpreter for a murder trial booked by outsourcing contractor Applied Language Solutions (ALS) admitted to the judge in court, when problems with his interpreting began, that he was only there as a stand-in for his wife who was too busy to attend. He also said although he had taken an interpreter test set by ALS he hadn’t heard the results and wasn’t accredited.
The trial at Winchester Crown Court, which finished yesterday (19 July) was suspended on Friday 13th July after the interpreter Mubarak Lone made mistakes including getting the oath wrong for the Sikh witness he interpreted for. The fiasco was first reported by Jenny Makin of the Daily Echo.
Geoffrey Buckingham, Chair, Association of Police and Court Interpreters, said: “The failure of ALS to supply suitably qualified and vetted interpreters meant the court lost a day and a half of time. We want to know that ALS will be forced to pay for their mistakes.”
When the trial recommenced on the Monday a similar problem arose when the second interpreter sent by ALS, a beautician from Southampton, who arrived two hours late and had no identification, admitted she did not know the meaning of the words ‘friction’ or ‘deterioration’ and had to be helped by the Junior Defence Counsel who checked her interpreting.
Guillermo Makin, Chairman, SPSI, says: “Professionally qualified and experienced interpreters have valiantly upheld their ethical principles by not signing up for a system which cannot be sustained and which is degrading British justice and breaking the law on a person’s right to a fair trial. We have a dossier of evidence which we will be providing to the Justice Select Committee in response to their inquiry.”