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Page last updated at 08:09 GMT, Thursday, 15 March 2012

'Chaos' in court translation services


Interpreters will hold a protest outside the Commons today about a new contract to privatise court translation services.

Members of the Professional Interpreters Alliance claim the contract could lead to miscarriages of justice because some translators lack the competence to do the job, while others have failed to turn up.

David Evans, chairman of the Lincolnshire branch of the Magistrates' Association, described how he has been hearing stories of interpreters not turning up and turning up late which means that people do not get a fair hearing.

Mr Evans said when that happens, "cases have to be adjourned and people have to be released sometimes several times before the case is finally heard."

He believes the new interpreters system is a lot worse than it was before and many interpreters feel there careers are affected badly.

"It's not just a case of using a dictionary" in court, he said. "Words have special meaning" and the old system appeared to have worked very well.

"Disaster and chaos" are not too strong words to use, he continued, adding that it should not take a large company months to "get their act together".

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