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DPSI Law option or Met Police Test?
Thread poster: Scubawan
Scubawan
Local time: 10:09
English to Chinese
Mar 29, 2009

hi all,

Just want to be given some suggestions on whether attending a training course of the DPSI law option, or Metropolitan Police Test would be more appropriated for becoming a professional interpreter in the field of public service such as the Police and the UK Border Agency.
I finished my postgraduate study in MA Translation Studies last year and I am just in the process of starting out as an interpreter. Obviously it is not easy to get enough work for a living as I do not have sufficient work experience in the past, and in most cases a NRPSI registration is essentially required.

Could anyone please advise me for which course I should go for?

Many thanks in advance.

Wan


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Ewa Dabrowska  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:09
English to Polish
+ ...
DPSI Mar 29, 2009

Hi Wan
I did a year-long (level 4 or 5) interpreting course and after that I sat a DPSI exam. Two years later I sat a MET test. So I have both. Either of them will make it possible for you to apply to get on NRPSI, which will help you get work directly from public institutions. I believe DPSI (both the course and the exam) is much better because it includes a wider scope of topics. It also gives you more practice and NVQ level 4, which is also important. When I passed the MET test, nothing really changed for me as I had already been on the NRPSI and no extra work has been offered to me just because I have it. The MET test is designed and organised by Language Services Ltd, technically speaking, for the purposes of MET police, which, in itself, can be limited in its application. If you think you would like to work for the MET police, you'd better check on the IOL website if they are recriuting interpreters in your langugae. There has not been any recruitment for my language for a number of years so MET police just use the same interpreters for years and years. In addition, we're in for major changes regarding interpreting services for MET, which are aim at saving some money, i.e. cutting out work for us.
good luck
Eva


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Scubawan
Local time: 10:09
English to Chinese
TOPIC STARTER
DPSI courses Mar 29, 2009

Thx Eva, it really gives me some more insight about both options. Could you suggest me where I should take the DPSI course? Is it IoL in London?
As far as I know, there are quite a few DPSI courses tailored for different fields of public service such as DPSI Law for court and Police, or DPSI Health option for NHS. Did you do one of those courses prior to sitting the DPSI exam?
Sorry for having more questions to ask:)
Many thanks!!


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Ewa Dabrowska  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:09
English to Polish
+ ...
Hi Wan Mar 30, 2009

I did a preparoatory DPSI course at Hammersmith & Hulham College (English Law), but it was not really well run (but it was not expensive). I've heard that College of North-West London runs a good course. There are also courses run by South Thames College and Middlesex University. IoL does only one-day courses, which are expensive and they don't give much in the way of practice. Colleges that run interpreting courses normally expect students to start at level 1 or 2 community interpreting but I had already had my degree the college accepted me for the final level (4 I think it was) that ran for one academic year.

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Scubawan
Local time: 10:09
English to Chinese
TOPIC STARTER
DPSI Law Apr 2, 2009

Thanks Eva, now I really think DPSI is the better option as you said it offers more aspects of work environment not only the Police. Anyway, I don't think I am ready to enrol the DPSI exam in June this year in terms of my interpreting experience and financial status, but it will definetely be my next goal to achieve.

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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:09
Member
French to English
+ ...
DPSI & police interpreting Apr 14, 2009

You may be interested to read this thread about recent developments in the way in which British police forces procure face-to-face interpreting services:

http://www.iol.org.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=1250

To cut a long story short, a number of forces in the south-east have already awarded contracts to an agency that does not require translators to be NRPSI-registered or hold the DPSI. This inevitably means that the rates paid for face-to-face police interpreting will now be lower. It also appears that police forces in the north of the country, including Greater Manchester, are going to go down the same path.

[Edited at 2009-04-14 23:30 GMT]


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Scubawan
Local time: 10:09
English to Chinese
TOPIC STARTER
More frustration Apr 15, 2009

Thx Peter for giving some more up to date information regarding the recent status of interpreting profession. I feel more frustrating as on one hand I have been told I am not qualified enough to start out my career as an interpreter for public service interpreting, and I am prepared to invest more of my time and money to do the DPSI course and exam in the near future. Unfortunately on the other hand it seems pointless to get to more professional level after having read the forum from IoL you sent me.
As a graduate in translation, I really cannot see any positive prospect coming along no matter how I am willing to improve my skills.


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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:09
Member
French to English
+ ...
Other sources of work Apr 15, 2009

I wouldn't give up hope just yet. Of course, it is still possible for you to interpret for the courts and/or police, but it does seem that the majority of this work is now taken by agencies, which will take a cut of the amount paid for each assignment. What I don't know is how much they actually pay their interpreters, or whether the rate would justify the expense and effort involved in taking the DPSI.

As for the UK Border Agency, according to their website, they still use freelance interpreters registered with the Central Interpreters' Unit (CIU), but I wouldn't be surprised if they start using agencies at some point in the future. I don't know if the CIU is currently looking for interpreters, but you could try contacting them to see what their requirements are.

And remember, there are always private-sector employers, such as businesses and conference organisers, though I don't know how much work there would be in your language pair(s), or how easy it would be to get it.

Have you considered translating (i.e. written documents) as opposed to interpreting? Many interpreters supplement their income that way, though admittedly it isn't always easy to balance the two since interpreting jobs limit your ability to meet deadlines for translation assignments, and translation jobs limit your ability to accept interpreting work. Still, some people succeed in juggling the two.

As you say, however, it does seem that this is probably not the best time to take the DPSI. Who knows, maybe in future the government, police and judiciary will once again realise the need for high-quality interpreters, but at the moment their priority seems to be to reduce their expenditure, irrespective of the implications for quality.

[Edited at 2009-04-15 15:13 GMT]


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xxxPeter Manda
Local time: 05:09
German to English
+ ...
giving up ... Apr 15, 2009

Well, I would personally be very careful about being influenced by what other people say, especially your fellow translators.

In this economy, the competition is very stiff and certain translators are unstable in general (just look at the German language pair on proz or on the ATA GLD List to get an idea of the mental illness that's rampant).

If you really want to do translation and interpretation work, then follow your heart. No fellow translator or interpreter will "approve", especially if you are their competition. Just stick with it, your clients will come not from fellow translators and interpreters but from people needing translations and interpretation. If you can satisfy them, then you have won the game.

Good luck.


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