A second language is not only a benefit, it is a need.

I often blog about the need of our young people to learn a second language so that when they are leave school they are in a better place to gain employment but more importantly employment that they will enjoy. It was therefore lovely to see  this news article from America where the student had learnt Spanish and was now in work using it as a police officer to support himself, his colleagues and his community.

The officer doesn’t know her situation. Is she injured or being threatened,  and will she be able to communicate that in English?

 

In the past, language barriers were one of the more significant obstacles  that officers faced in carrying out their duty. Now, thanks to the Oklahoma City  Police Department’s bilingual unit, language issues have been largely  diminished.

Read more: http://newsok.com/speaking-a-second-language-helps-oklahoma-city-police-officers-do-their-job/article/3720840#ixzz2A2n9GrNf

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Gwent spend the equivalent of 31 officers wages on translation services

If Gwent are a small force and they are facing these costs how many police stations have other forces lost or not employed? Clearly they need to communicate with their suspects and need to find which are guilty to get them off our streets, but maybe they need to look at more innovative ways of talking to their suspects.  I asked John what he thought about this.

‘Maybe a change of thinking and giving the desk sergeants and beat officers the skills to talk to these suspects like using relatively cheap, yet effective hand-held devices and when there is access to a computer, Talking Tutor or Two Can Talk. With these the police officer only needs to speak English as it will translate and speak aloud in  many languages’ says EMASUK’s founder John Foxwell

‘Or’ said John Foxwell ‘by using the text translator create documents in Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian, Czech, Vietnamese, Turkish, Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Slovak, Albanian, Spanish, Latvian, Cantonese, French, Hungarian, Nepalese, German, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, Tamil and Welsh, every day of the year, 24 hours a day instant access. This would allow innocent people to be released carefully,and speedier enrollment of suspects’.

If you are interested on finding out more you can contact John at j.foxwell@emasuk.com

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/gwentnews/9885102.__700_000_spent_on_translation_services/?ref=rss

GWENT Police spent more than £700,000 on translators over the past six years.

The force needed to employ translators for dozens of different languages in this time, including Welsh, and spent a total of £717,493.

Translators are brought in to talk to suspects in crimes, as well as witnesses and victims.

In 2006/07, the force spent £75,225 on translators; this more than doubled the following year to £160,899 and peaked in 2008/09 at £172,247.

In November 2009, the Wales Interpretation and Translation Service (WITS) was set up, supported by the Welsh Government, other Welsh police forces and councils.

WITS finds bilingual people close to where they are needed, carries out security checks, language assessments and training and helped reduce costs to the police.

Languages translated in this time were Polish, Lithuanian, Bengali, Urdu, Romanian, Punjabi Indian, Czech, British Sign Language, Vietnamese, Kurdish Sorani, Punjabi Pakistani, Turkish, Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Slovak, Albanian, Spanish, Sylheti, Pashto, Latvian, Cantonese, Farsi, French, Hungarian, Nepalese, Swaheli, Algerian, Dari, German, Gujerati, Hindi, Italian, Krio, Malayalam, Portuguese, Somali, Tagalog, Tamil, Tigrinyan and Welsh

In 2009/10, the amount spent fell to £127,796, £83,529 before the introduction of WITS and £44,267 after, this fell to £95,348 in 2010/11 and £85,978 in 2011/12.

Between 2009 and 2011, Gwent Police paid a fixed rate of £36 an hour to translators.

Chief Inspector Tony Wilcox said: “All Police Forces have to comply with legal requirements to provide investigations in a language which people can understand. Without quality interpreters it  would be impossible to conduct investigations involving victims, witnesses or offenders whose first language is not English or Welsh.”

As well as languages one might expect translators to be needed for, such as Polish, French and Spanish, there was call for languages including Sylheti, spoken in North East Bangladesh, Krio, from  Sierra Leone, Tagalog, spoken by people in the Philippines, and Tigrinyan, which is spoken by people in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The force said it only kept a record of the list of languages it used translators for in 2010/11, when 41 translators were needed for 41 different languages