Lessons to be learnt – public procurement of PSI in the UK

Christopher Stone and Yvonne Folwer shared about the crisis in the change of how legal interpreting was provided in courtroom settings in the U.K.  In the UK, the system was privatized and given over to one company.  Here is an article from the Guardian talking about the change of contract.
More information from the Professional Interpreters for Justice which is leading the campaign to terminate the contract.
Sign Language Interpreters have slightly better conditions because there is equality legislation in the UK for Deaf and disabled persons.
Three tiers of competency – with different compensations led to lower skilled .
National interpreters, with the DPSI certification, who decided to boycotting the courts decided to monitor quality because the government and agency administering the contract couldn’t or wouldn’t do it.
The Ministry of Justice – had little accountability with the contract – actually cost more money by privatizing.

  • Cases may be procedurally straightforward, but linguistically complex
  • Tiering of interpreter is dangerous
  • Interpreters need to be contacted directly, not invited to apply for a specific job

Equality is expensive.
Interpreters are like “the family silver “- some of society’s most valuable assets.