Interpreter’s ‘low pay’ halts a trial

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Luca Tutino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:41
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
No wonder May 18, 2013

I am not surprised. This happens also in the translation market. The low rate and unfair payment terms policies, currently adopted by most large multinational agencies, tend to damage everybody: clients cannot rely on services and quality, translators and interpreters are confronted with a depressed and unprofessional largely monopolized market, often leading to unsuitable working conditions, and agencies loose their names (again, in the case of some recently renamed service provider).

[Edited at 2013-05-18 13:27 GMT]


 

Valeria Verona  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 01:41
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
agree May 18, 2013

I agree with Luca 100%icon_frown.gif

 

Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 04:41
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
It's better this way May 18, 2013

Killing 4 people is a very serious crime. This is a major trial and to serve the interests of justice they need the best interpreter the court can find. Instead they'll have to settle for the best interpreter who is desperate or inexperienced enough accept Capita's insulting terms... Not really the kind of person you want in your corner when you're on trial for your life.

 

Mohamed Mehenoun  Identity Verified
Algeria
Local time: 05:41
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
Hillarious May 18, 2013

That's hilarious! And sad ! It reminds me of the forms I received in the UK and which contained some major mistakes in French, same thing with a paper they hand you in the US consulate...Governments seem to be looking for the cheapest solutions nowadays... It's like a plague spreading everywhere...

And the translation business is hit hard, not so long ago, an agency proposed the great rate of 0.04 USD/word to me! The guy was explaining to me that I will have a very big work load...I kindly explained that, more work means that I'll be tired more and stressed more...So when I work more, I certainly make sure to make more money! And not the other way around!

It seems to me that the system is going more towards mediocrity, and an elitist (badly designed) vision where one man should do everything (i.e. the job of 10 people) and do it right...In actuality, the poor lad does it for peanuts, and the result is disastrous...

In the case of a court trial, I'm wondering who should the "victim or culprit" sue if he gets in jail because of poor interpretation!


 

Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 04:41
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
There's the rub May 18, 2013

Mohamed Mehenoun wrote:
In the case of a court trial, I'm wondering who should the "victim or culprit" sue if he gets in jail because of poor interpretation!

Sue? But how can he sue without an interpreter?


 

ExScientiaVera
Faroe Islands
Local time: 05:41
Danish to English
+ ...
Malice? May 18, 2013

How can you tell if the guy is actually interpreting what you are saying?

Judge: How do you plea to first degree murder?
Defendant to Interpreter: Not guilty.
Interpreter to Judge: Oh he says he is guilty, very guilty.
Judge to Defendant: I find you guilty, and sentence you to death.
Interpreter to Defendant: He finds you not guilty and will throw you a going away party later.

Interpreter to Defendant's wife: So you all set for dinner tonight?


 

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:41
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Markets May 19, 2013

Court interpreting is an artificial, albeit needed, market. Any adjustment to market realities will be slow.

 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:41
Russian to English
+ ...
Not in the US May 19, 2013

In the US court interpreting is not a market -- courts employ highly professional, certified approved interpreters directly. Court interpreting should never be a market. Agencies are hardly ever able to send their interpreters to court hearings, perhaps sometimes in the case of very rare languages. Legal hearings conducted by law firms are a different story.

The monopolization of translation and interpreting is a result of a total misunderstanding what these services are about. Interpreting and translation agencies should be more like the talent agencies (for artistic professions) or publishing agencies. They should never become anything even closely related to office support personnel agencies, which many seem to be like these days.



[Edited at 2013-05-19 08:21 GMT]


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:41
Chinese to English
Not sure what you mean by this... May 19, 2013

Edward Potter wrote:

Court interpreting is an artificial, albeit needed, market. Any adjustment to market realities will be slow.


But it's worth noting that the UK has moved from multiple providers of court interpreting services to (theoretically) one provider. We've moved away from the "market", however that is defined.

(In practice, multiple providers are still used because that one provider has proved inadequate, and this is one area where we can't tolerate corporate failure.)


 

Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:41
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Tolerance of corporate failure May 19, 2013

Phil Hand wrote:
(In practice, multiple providers are still used because that one provider has proved inadequate, and this is one area where we can't tolerate corporate failure.)


Quite the contrary. The tolerance of corporate failure in this particular case goes beyond all limits.

Attila


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:41
Hebrew to English
Stubborn May 19, 2013

Attila Piróth wrote:

Phil Hand wrote:
(In practice, multiple providers are still used because that one provider has proved inadequate, and this is one area where we can't tolerate corporate failure.)


Quite the contrary. The tolerance of corporate failure in this particular case goes beyond all limits.

Attila


Quite. They should have rescinded the framework agreement long ago. I can only assume they fear appearing foolish, although imo they look more foolish by trying to flog a dead horse.


 

ExScientiaVera
Faroe Islands
Local time: 05:41
Danish to English
+ ...
Is it a public good monopol? May 19, 2013

In this case, the court put a contract to bid. Companies placed a bid for the work, promising consistent service quality. When the contract runs out, other companies can submit a bid and acquire the contract. Between bids, companies are evaluating the worth of that contract. Companies that think submitting a bid on that contract is worth their time and effort will invest in their own company's capacity. By the time the bidding process starts, you may have one company, in which case, it is a form of monopoly, or a few companies, which is an oligopoly, or many companies offering the exact same services, which is define by the contract, which defines the market as a market in perfect competition.

Because the service between all companies in the market will be identical, either the company is unable to live up to the contract, or if the company can defend its service of the contract, the problem is the contract itself. I am putting my money on the latter of the two; the contract is at fault.

This means, I predict, if there is more than one company or if there are many companies submitting bids next time, we will see the exact same result.


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:41
Hebrew to English
Partially perhaps May 19, 2013

ExScientiaVera wrote:
the contract is at fault.


Maybe, I haven't read the text of the FA but I would guess it is not without flaws. However, this catastrophe happened mainly because the MOJ awarded the contract to a small, relatively unknown company who simply wasn't equipped or able to fulfil its obligations. Despite the fact it has now been taken over by the Capita group the FA is so tainted by the fallout from ALS that it's hard to see how it is remotely salvageable as a contract, regardless of who takes it on next.


 

Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:41
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Ireland to follow suit? May 19, 2013

Ty Kendall wrote:

Maybe, I haven't read the text of the FA but I would guess it is not without flaws. However, this catastrophe happened mainly because the MOJ awarded the contract to a small, relatively unknown company who simply wasn't equipped or able to fulfil its obligations.


Over 80% of the interpreters on the national register bravely boycotted any cooperation with the winner of the FA because of the inadmissible working conditions. I expect the same people would have said categorically no to a much bigger corporation offering the same unacceptable work conditions.

Unfortunately, we will soon see whether this hypothesis is true. The UK example will be followed in Ireland (see this link and click on the April bulletin), where the court interpreting tender was won by three language companies, including a huge one that is the market leader in many countries.

And as someone in the UK could get away with it, they propose similarly scandalous working conditions:
Naturalisation and Immigration Services are now paid €15 per hour, plus €1.25 for every 5 minutes thereafter.
For example, the Courts Service will pay €33.79 for 100 kilometres but [Translation company] will pay the interpreter a lot less - €18.60. Tolls and parking fees are not covered. There is no longer any extra payment for work carried out on Saturdays.


Attila

[Edited at 2013-05-19 19:13 GMT]


 


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