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Courts: Interpreters

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL478, tabled on 24 May 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 18 May (HL Deb, col 558) that interpreters "will be removed from the register if they fail to reach the required standard", what are the detailed components of "the required standard".

Answered on

8 June 2021

The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high- quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The contracts have a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. These are

set out in our contracts, which can be found at the following link:

Our qualification and experience requirements and associated quality assurance arrangements provided by The Language Shop (TLS), have been carefully considered and have been designed so as to maintain the quality of interpretation provided under the contract, meet the demands and requirements of the Ministry and other contract users and encourage new entrants to the profession.

The Ministry of Justice will shortly be undertaking work to develop the next generation of Language Services contracts.

For the period 01/01/2019 – 21/05/2021, 169 language professionals have been removed and 40 language professionals have been sanctioned as a result of a Spot Check or In-Person Assessment.

The required standard comprises a number of different elements

All interpreters are required to meet the qualification requirements set out in the contract between the MoJ and the language service supplier. The requirements vary depending on the complexity of the bookings and the language in question. The specific requirement in each case is set out here:

TLS review the qualifications at the point of carrying out an assessment of an interpreter and will remove the interpreter if the supplier fails to demonstrate that they hold the correct qualifications.

All interpreters are required to comply with the MoJ code of conduct at all times. Any serious breach of the code of conduct, observed through an assessment by TLS or identified and confirmed through a complaint investigation, will result in removal from the register.

Interpreters also have to demonstrate competence in language proficiency, interpreting/professional skills, and subject matter knowledge. Interpreters are regularly assessed to ensure their interpreting meets the requirements of the assignment, being observed across each of the three competencies.