A professional interpreter in need of help and advice!
Thread poster: PhoenixMD

PhoenixMD
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:35
Farsi (Persian) to English
Sep 3, 2015

Dear colleagues!
I am an Iranian interpreter, living in Plymouth, UK. I have been an interpreter for over 12 years, and last year I passed all the units in DPSI in English Law after sitting the exam for the first time.
Now this is what I need your help and advice for:

I used to work with Plymouth's City Council as an interpreter, and the city council contract their interpreting department to an interpreting/translation company to run it for them. They changed the company they worked with last year, and the new company requested that all the interpreters to register with them again, pretty much from scratch. After filling endless sheets of forms and obtaining references from various sources and a few months of wait, I eventually managed to become "work ready" in their database on 23rd January 2015. I prefer not to mention the company's name here.
However, I have not had a single assignment from then. I contacted the company several times, by phone and email (emails mostly left unanswered, even when I followed their guidelines from their official website.) and my phone calls got me nowhere. I spoke to around 3 different people in the company in June, and pretty much they all told me that ALL the assignments that come to them for Farsi language, they have a request for a specific interpreter (I know that interpreter personally) and they had not a single assignment that did not require anyone specific and that is why I have not been given any assignments. I find that extremely unlikely, but I have been told that I am on top of their list and they will contact me as soon as they have a suitable assignment for me.
Again, I have not heard from them even once. Eventually, last month, in August, through an acquaintance, I have been introduced to a regular user of NHS hospitals in Plymouth that always required an interpreter. He requested me to be his interpreter and I got my first job from the company, through my own doing, after a few phone calls to the NHS and the company itself.
I have not had any other assignments from anyone else since January 2015 and the only reason I get that person's assignment is because I personally spend my free time to help him book his appointment and he is happy to have me as his interpreter, otherwise the company would not give me any assignments, for some reason.
Even once, NHS did not put my name as reference in their interpreter booking for one of his appointments, and the assignment been given to the same interpreter that does most of the other ones. This proves that they won't give me any assignments, even if no specific interpreter is requested, and they almost all go to the same person.
I have made a recent complaint to a manager of the company, but the manager evading most of my questions, even at one point telling me that I am not answering my phone calls from the company, and that is the reason I don't get any assignments, which is completely wrong, as I have two phone numbers that they know of and also they do bookings through text messages, which has been done once.
I keep trying to ask for some sort of answer or proper investigation into the matter as to why I have not been given a single assignment until I had to find someone to basically force them to, and why has the other interpreter basically monopolized the market so easily and eradicated any sort of competition.
I have been to Citizen Advice Bureau and they suggested I call "ACAS" and see if they can give me any advice. I want to even possibly take legal actions against this company, but I want to know how much of a chance I might have against them.
They clearly do not want to investigate the matter and I have to push them for simple replies, as they always promise a quick reply and sometimes even after one week of wait, I have to remind them that I am still waiting for an answer, and then I receive an email that is obviously put together hastily and without any professionalism.
Also, the mentioned interpreter once accused me of stealing her jobs, on Facebook messages, which I have complained about to the company.
Each day that passes by, I get more frustrated and feel helpless in this situation, which I believe that should not be the case.
Also, I have been told once the assignments are given out based on qualifications, which again, I am 100% sure that in my city, nobody else has anything higher than a Community Interpreting level 3 qualification, which is what I have, plus a DPSI in English Law, as mentioned before.

Thank you for reading my long rant, and I will appreciate if you could help me regarding this matter in any shape or form.


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 14:35
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Fake motivation Sep 3, 2015

PhoenixMD wrote:

I have made a recent complaint to a manager of the company, but the manager evading most of my questions, even at one point telling me that I am not answering my phone calls from the company, and that is the reason I don't get any assignments, which is completely wrong, as I have two phone numbers that they know of and also they do bookings through text messages, which has been done once.
I keep trying to ask for some sort of answer or proper investigation into the matter as to why I have not been given a single assignment until I had to find someone to basically force them to, and why has the other interpreter basically monopolized the market so easily and eradicated any sort of competition.
I have been to Citizen Advice Bureau and they suggested I call "ACAS" and see if they can give me any advice. I want to even possibly take legal actions against this company, but I want to know how much of a chance I might have against them.


I met with similar situations: a free lunch approach.
I recently replied to tedious inquiries of a new translation agency who intends to hire me for its big volume job. I generously explained and it happened to endorse my professional service.
In fact, the agency just moved to use my non-paid services e.g. my reply to its many tiny question regarding concrete translation improvements.
A word of warning "beware of what looks like "too good to be true.""

Soonthon L.icon_biggrin.gif


 


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