Article in Portsmouth's 'The News': Hampshire Police 'wasting' money on interpreters
Thread poster: Joseph Jeffries
Joseph Jeffries  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:36
French to English
+ ...
Jan 27, 2011

Morning everyone,

I found this story just now and it truly made my blood boil:

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/newshome/Police-urged-to-cut-700000.6702370.jp

What do you all think? Do any of you agree with the Unison rep that too much money is being spent on interpreters? And do any of you agree (as some readers suggest) that it would be a much better idea to train up existing police staff or call in local volunteers?

I'd be interested to hear your opinions.

Joe

[Edited at 2011-01-27 08:49 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-01-27 09:21 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-01-27 09:32 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:36
French to German
+ ...
This is a joke Jan 27, 2011

Joseph Jeffries wrote:

Morning everyone,

I found this story just now and it truly made my blood boil. I felt moved to have a bit of a rant, probably unnecessary but it did make me feel better. I don't think I need to tell you which of the comments came from my fair hand...

Here's the article:

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/newshome/Police-urged-to-cut-700000.6702370.jp

What do you all think? Do any of you agree with the Unison rep that too much money is being spent on interpreters?

Joe

[Edited at 2011-01-27 08:49 GMT]


This is a joke and a really bad one. From previous posts made on ProZ.com, I gained the impression that translation agencies bid for these interpreting tenders and won them. So the interpreters as persons are not responsible for the high figures.

It comes as a surprise that no-one at the Treasury Department seems have to check the bills paid to translation agencies and the percentage of these bills which really lands in the interpreters' pockets.


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Myriam Garcia Bernabe  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:36
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
Ah, this old chestnut! Jan 27, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

This is another one amongst the many articles I have seen over the years.

It is increasingly annoying that reporters and/or those people whose comments they report on do not really bother to investigate their stories fully.

I have been a public services interpreter for 7 years and the money I earn has steadly been reduced to the point that I have to opt out of working for some agencies.

Yes, this work is only tendered out by the government to agencies and the increasing costs of the contracts is down to negotiations between the government and agencies, nothing to do with the interpreters themselves.

I have followed the link you have provided and found that the reporter who wrote it has an e-mail address. This time, I intend to write a very informative email to see if I can put matters straight. Not sure how much good it will do, though.

Best
Myriam


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Joseph Jeffries  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:36
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reader comments almost as worrying as the story itself Jan 27, 2011

Myriam Garcia Bernabe wrote:

Dear Colleagues,

This is another one amongst the many articles I have seen over the years.

It is increasingly annoying that reporters and/or those people whose comments they report on do not really bother to investigate their stories fully.

I have been a public services interpreter for 7 years and the money I earn has steadly been reduced to the point that I have to opt out of working for some agencies.

Yes, this work is only tendered out by the government to agencies and the increasing costs of the contracts is down to negotiations between the government and agencies, nothing to do with the interpreters themselves.

I have followed the link you have provided and found that the reporter who wrote it has an e-mail address. This time, I intend to write a very informative email to see if I can put matters straight. Not sure how much good it will do, though.

Best
Myriam


Hi Myriam,

Thanks for the reply, very interesting to read your views and experience. I have already written to the reporter who wrote the article, I doubt it will make a lot of difference but at least they might pay a bit more attention next time a story like this comes up.

To be honest, I almost find the reader comments at the bottom of the article more disturbing than the story itself...

Joe


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 08:36
English to Croatian
+ ...
My experience. Jan 27, 2011

Joseph Jeffries wrote:



What do you all think? Do any of you agree with the Unison rep that too much money is being spent on interpreters?


Not sure what to think.. I remember I had been told the same thing straight to my face when I was an interpreter ( by some other non-interpreter staff). It was very weird, because interpreters were the key factors for them to do certain projects/jobs. It was simply impossible for them to move onto a next stage before finishing that part that required an interpreter. It's not some luxury asset, it was a true necessity. Well then pay the price for it.

I have nothing against them training the police officers.. maybe then they will realize what kind of task it is and how much it's worth, first-hand. Hopefully.

[Edited at 2011-01-27 11:45 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:36
French to German
+ ...
My comment Jan 27, 2011

Joseph Jeffries wrote:

Hi Myriam,

Thanks for the reply, very interesting to read your views and experience. I have already written to the reporter who wrote the article, I doubt it will make a lot of difference but at least they might pay a bit more attention next time a story like this comes up.

To be honest, I almost find the reader comments at the bottom of the article more disturbing than the story itself...

Joe


Look at the comment from ScottishWildcat57 - it's mine FWIW.


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Joseph Jeffries  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:36
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good point Jan 27, 2011

Lingua 5B wrote:

Joseph Jeffries wrote:



What do you all think? Do any of you agree with the Unison rep that too much money is being spent on interpreters?


Not sure what to think.. I remember I had been told the same thing straight to my face when I was an interpreter ( by some other non-interpreter staff). It was very weird, because interpreters were the key factors for them to do certain projects/jobs. It was simply impossible for them to move onto a next stage before finishing that part that required an interpreter. It's not some luxury asset, it was a true necessity. Well then pay the price for it.

I have nothing against them training the police officers.. maybe then they will realize what kind of task it is and how much it's worth, first-hand. Hopefully.

[Edited at 2011-01-27 11:45 GMT]


Hi Lingua 5B (sorry, I don't know your actual name)

You make a very good point, and that's exactly what's so frustrating about it all. For some utterly bizarre reason interpreters are seen as a frivolous waste of taxpayers' money when, as you rightly say, the legal system simply wouldn't function without them. The ignorance of it is pretty staggering.

As for the training of police officers, I too think it could be a very good solution. What I'm against, though, is the perception that anyone who can utter a few words in a foreign language can do the job of a trained interpreter. It wouldn't bother me so much, but this seems to be the attitude of people who are actually in the police service. I find that more than a little worrying.


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Joseph Jeffries  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:36
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ah ha Jan 27, 2011

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

Look at the comment from ScottishWildcat57 - it's mine FWIW.


Hi Laurent,

I suspected that you were behind that comment

Joe


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 08:36
English to Croatian
+ ...
That's exactely why I said it.. Jan 27, 2011

Joseph Jeffries wrote:

As for the training of police officers, I too think it could be a very good solution. What I'm against, though, is the perception that anyone who can utter a few words in a foreign language can do the job of a trained interpreter. It wouldn't bother me so much, but this seems to be the attitude of people who are actually in the police service. I find that more than a little worrying.



That's precisely why they should engage in an actual training/ interpreting process. To see first hand that their marginal knowledge of a foreign language won't work when they start tangling themselves up in sending messages back and forth in two different languages. Perhaps it's the only way for them to realize they aren't up to task. So, I say, yes: please do train them. Or even if they are to be prepared to be good interpreters, it will take years of full-time training, not some quick dilettante course.


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Joseph Jeffries  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:36
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Totally agree Jan 27, 2011

[quote]Lingua 5B wrote:



That's precisely why they should engage in an actual training/ interpreting process. To see first hand that their marginal knowledge of a foreign language won't work when they start tangling themselves up in sending messages back and forth in two different languages. Perhaps it's the only way for them to realize they aren't up to task. So, I say, yes: please do train them. Or even if they are to be prepared to be good interpreters, it will take years of full-time training, not some quick dilettante course.



... And, ironically, it would probably cost more to train the police officers than it would to pay an interpreter / agency to provide the service.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 08:36
English to Croatian
+ ...
Yes, because.. Jan 27, 2011

Joseph Jeffries wrote:


... And, ironically, it would probably cost more to train the police officers than it would to pay an interpreter / agency to provide the service.



It would take at least five years of training before you get a fully capable and accurate interpreter you can rely on. Presuming he/she started the training with very little or zero knowledge.


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Article in Portsmouth's 'The News': Hampshire Police 'wasting' money on interpreters

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