Shortage of Court Interpreters Delays Cases In UK

December 03, 2012

By Ofer Tirosh

According to Mail Online, over one hundred court cases in the United Kingdom have been abandoned due to a serious lack of translators. This issue has caused the court system to begin relying on Google Translate which is problematic in and of itself. Anyone who has ever used Google Translate can certainly understand how small errors could lead to big problems in criminal trials, especially serious offenses such as murder.

The problem arose when the court systems began outsourcing translation services in January, leading to a shortage. With interpreters unavailable, suspects in some cases were released back onto the streets. It was estimated that 182 trials in Magistrate Courts were abandoned due to the interpreter issue. This number does not include all affected trials including those that were delayed due to not having translators available.

The interpreter issue began earlier this year when the courts in the UK went from using local interpreters for court cases to using interpreters at a contracted firm, due to a motion from the formmurer Justice Secretary. Over 5,000 complaints have since been filed against the firm for failing to send interpreters to over a fifth of court cases.

The interpreter scandal was supposed to save the UK approximately £18million per year, but instead will likely end up eating money instead. Translation services are certainly one area where you get what you pay for. Call me crazy, but cutting costs on translation services for important criminal cases just seems like a bad idea to begin with. You can read more about this scandal at;

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