Interpreting with a criminal record
Thread poster: Jonesy555

Jonesy555
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:00
Nov 20, 2013

I have a few questions and I would be grateful if someone here who has knowledge/experience of the topic could share it.

Some background information first:
At the age of 19 (seven years ago now) I was arrested for possessing a dangerous weapon. 'Dangerous weapon' is stretching it a bit. In reality it was little more than a pen knife which, at that time, I stupidly carried for protection (After a few brutal assualts close to my house). I was given community service. During the last seven years, however, I have been working as an English teacher abroad and have learned a foreign language to a high standard. I have just returned and hoped I could put my language skills to use so I decided to do the Level Three Community Interpreting Course. I had planned to try to get some work as a community interpreter afterwards.

Looking at the possible jobs however (perhaps understandably given the nature of the job) all companies require a CRB check. To my disappointment I discovered that even though my offence is now considered 'spent' it will still appear on this record.

Does anyone have any experience of this kind of situation? Will my past prevent me absolutely from becoming a community interpreter or is it down to individual companies? If down to the company is there a chance, given my good record for the last several years and competent language skills, that they would give me an opportunity to work?

I appreciate any advice anyone can offer.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Folly of youth Nov 20, 2013

I used to be a bit of a tearaway in my youth too, but I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. If you really are a reformed character, I'd say that's what matters most. Just be upfront about it, but don't give it more importance than it actually deserves- people are more worried about paedophilia nowadays anyway. If you do find it too difficult to get the work you want in the public sector you can always stick to the private.

 

Frances Warburton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:00
Member (2007)
Japanese to English
NRPSI FAQ page Nov 20, 2013

You might want to refer to the details listed on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters website. It doesn't say that you cannot apply but suggests that you should provide a statement that clarifies your situation. See No. 15 on http://www.nrpsi.co.uk/faq_about.php
I think it would probably depend on which area of public service interpreting you want to work in.


 

Jonesy555
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:00
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Nov 20, 2013

Thanks guys. Both useful responses and puts my mind to ease somewhat. I've taken a look at nrpsi webiste and i'll put more emphasis on private sector jobs. Guess I'll just see how it goes.

 

Derrio  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Your past Nov 20, 2013

Neilmac is spot on. In a previous life I went through every vetting process known to man. The important thing is to be honest. Everyone has a past. People normally get through vetting processes if they are honest. The only people who fail are those who try to hide things as those asking the questions normally know the answers beforehand. At the end of the day, what you were involved in isn't really that serious. In addition to what nialmac mentioned, the main problems would be if you had been involved in offences of dishonesty or fraud, which is clearly not the case and the skills you have acquired will far outweigh anything you did in your past.
As an aside, I think the whole vetting business has gone too far in the UK. A friend of mine who had been a Police Officer for 28 years with an exemplary record was not allowed on the pitch at his son's rugby club until he paid for a CRB check. Madness, but I digress. Good luck, and as suggested, if you have no luck, go for private.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:00
Member (2008)
French to English
Pardon Nov 20, 2013

I don't know how it works exactly in the UK but I believe that in most Western countries, after a certain period of time after a criminal conviction (I think it's a minimum of five years after completion of the sentence) you can apply to the court for a pardon. If you have had no further brushes with the law since the conviction and the judge otherwise agrees, you will be given a clear record. You will need a clear record if you ever plan to travel - some countries will not grant you entry if you have any form of a criminal record (even a DUI). One caveat about this is that the USA doesn't recognize pardons from other countries - for someone with a criminal record who wishes to travel or move to the US they would need to obtain a pardon from the US, even if the conviction was elsewhere. I think it's the only country with that restriction.

With regard to Derrio's comment, I believe it's normal practice anywhere that anyone working with minors in any capacity has to have a criminal record check.


 

Pavel Slama  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:00
Member (2014)
English to Czech
+ ...
Is it? Dec 28, 2013

It is not clear from what you are writing, whether you have had your DBS=CRB check done yet? Maybe a minor spent offence will not show (http://www.walkermorris.co.uk/business-insights/update-criminal-record-checks-new-filtering-rules ). Why don't you get yourself checked first, and worry later if not ok?

[Edited at 2013-12-28 14:25 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-12-28 14:26 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-12-28 14:26 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:00
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Possible work-around? Dec 28, 2013

neilmac wrote:

I used to be a bit of a tearaway in my youth too, but I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. If you really are a reformed character, I'd say that's what matters most. Just be upfront about it, but don't give it more importance than it actually deserves- people are more worried about paedophilia nowadays anyway. If you do find it too difficult to get the work you want in the public sector you can always stick to the private.


Sorry to hear about that Jonesey. It is, alas, not difficult to imagine a set of circumstances similar to those you described. Who might not do as you did?

Browsing a little out of interest, aroused by your question, I came across this statement by a lawyer:

"Spent convictions do not have to be declared if an employer is asking if you have a criminal record, unless the employment is for an exempt position (e.g. doctors, nurses, dentists, barristers, solicitors, accountants, teachers, police officers, etc.)"

Here's a link

http://www.justanswer.com/uk-law/55z7c-spent-conviction-10-years-old-resulted-paying-150-fine.html

PS added later

I also note that there might be a possibility of getting your spent offence removed from the Police National Computer. Perhaps your local MP could advise, or indeed your local police Commander.

[Edited at 2013-12-28 20:38 GMT]


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:00
Russian to English
+ ...
In the US a felony would prevent you from working for the Dec 28, 2013

Court System (or over two misdemeanors). Sometimes one misdemeanor of a certain type may prevent you from working for the government. Private companies usually don't check criminal records, unless any type of clearance is needed. It is probably different in the UK.

 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:01
Hebrew to English
Yes Dec 29, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

Court System (or over two misdemeanors). Sometimes one misdemeanor of a certain type may prevent you from working for the government. Private companies usually don't check criminal records, unless any type of clearance is needed. It is probably different in the UK.


Very different.


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:01
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
How about being a translator instead? Dec 29, 2013

How worrying for you, Jonesey.
If being an interpreter is beset with this obstacle, why not consider being a translator instead? I think it unlikely that you'd ever need to declare a criminal record as a freelance translator. Certainly, no-one has ever asked me such a question in my long translating career. What most potential clients want to know about are your skills, qualifications, experience and reliability - and your rates and availability, of course.
To change the subject somewhat, it seems extraordinary that you were convicted of "carrying a dangerous weapon" in the circumstances you describe. I wonder whether a woman would be convicted of carrying a penknife or perhaps a can of mace to protect herself in an area where a rapist had been in operation.
I do wish you luck.
Jenny


 


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