Suffolk: Judge left frustrated as translator’s absence delays justice

Is this fair to the victim? is this fair to companies that could do a better job? Is this fair to the judge?  When will the government intervene?

A JUDGE has expressed his frustration with a court interpreter system after a hearing had to be adjourned when a translator failed to attend a Suffolk court.

Ipswich Crown Court judge David Goodin said he was “astounded” at the non-attendance of a Bengali interpreter who had been booked by the court to act as translator for a 27-year-old man accused of attempting to rape a woman in an alleyway in Newmarket in August.

“Astonishingly and disgracefully for justice, no interpreter has appeared and in these circumstances we can’t make any progress with the case today,” said the judge. “This is yet another example of interpreters failing to appear.”

Judge Goodin was forced to adjourn the plea and direction hearing until today after court staff were unable to ascertain the whereabouts of the translator.

The case is the latest example of problems courts around the country have had in getting interpreters since Applied Language Solutions took over a Government contract in January.

Earlier this year the Ministry of Justice accepted there had been problems with the court interpreter system in the first few weeks of the contract but claimed the situation had improved.

Before Ipswich Crown Court yesterday was Jakir Hussain, of Bahram Close, Newmarket, who is accused of attempting to rape a 24-year-old woman in an alleyway between the High Street and Rowley Drive in August.

Which is worse incompetent translators and interpreters or Statistical Machine Translation?

Following from the legal story last week here is another–reliance-Google-Translate-putting-public-safety-risk.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Well worth the debate especially if this is true.  Interestingly they say Google was used but don’t say if it achieved its objective, although they criticised it yet haven’t backed it up.

Which is worse the stories below or a comparatively crude and time-consuming online translation service?

Standards were allegedly so lax at the firm that  a director of another translation company was able to sign up his cat Masha as  an ALS translator – and the cat was offered jobs.

Magistrates have lodged more than 5,000  complaints against the firm after it failed to send interpreters to a fifth of  trials, sent people speaking the wrong language, or translators who are simply  incompetent. In one case the defendant’s wife acted as an interpreter.

In another, ALS sent a Romanian to translate  instead of a Roma speaker. The full depth of the scandal emerged in submissions  to a justice select committee inquiry.

MPs were told that a murder trial went ahead  with a beautician translating, even though she did not understand the words  ‘friction’ or ‘deterioration’.

In one case in Ipswich in March, the failure of  a Lithuanian interpreter to appear meant that Google Translate, a comparatively  crude and time-consuming online translation service, had to be used.

Some interpreters are refusing to work alone, insisting they need two interpreters on hand.

I believe in justice and fairness but maybe this is taking it a little too far, and for it to halt court proceedings, never mind the costs of the time when having to start and restart a trial, but all the costs of having two translators when they are not needed. It’s also a little suspect that only the Spanish interpreters need two.  What does everyone else think?