The Linguist

The Linguist 59,1 - February/March 2020

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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reduced in most interpreting scenarios. No-break interviews and court sessions are becoming normalised. The National Register of Public Service Interpreting (NRPSI) Code of Conduct, for example, states that the interpreter should ensure the provision of adequate breaks, and withdraw from the assignment if breaks are not provided and they are unable to interpret accurately. The interpreter should never be left alone with the person they interpret for. Your personal security and the integrity of the assignment must be protected. Poor practice should be reported to the usher, agency, court manager and representative bodies when appropriate. When interpreting with the police, the interpreter should begin with a statement explaining that they are impartial and present solely to facilitate communication. They should insist that officers speak directly to the person in question and allow the interpreter to do their job, rather than saying 'Can you ask him if…?' or 'Can you find out whether…?' Under no circumstance should the interpreter be left alone with the person they are interpreting for, yet this happens constantly. Many officers are surprised when @Linguist_CIOL FEBRUARY/MARCH The Linguist 31 OPINION & COMMENT Legal interpreting and best practice There are daily revelations confirming the shocking decline in standards of court and police interpreting since the onset of outsourcing and privatisation, as described by Sue Leschen (TL58,5). Unregistered bilinguals without formal interpreter qualifications are everywhere. Some have been observed failing to even interpret a single word of proceedings. Many can be seen outside courtrooms loudly exchanging contact details and giving "legal advice" to the people they are supposed to be interpreting for. Our campaign for protection of title and for the mandatory use of regulated and registered interpreters must be stepped up. But for the moment, our focus should be on bringing good practice back into the system. So what is best practice and how can fellow registrants fight back against the normalisation of bad practice? In court, an interpreter should not sit with or enter into discussion with the person they are interpreting for prior to the hearing. When working as a court interpreter, they should not interpret during pre- and post- hearing conferences unless specifically directed by a judge. Regular interpreter breaks are vital but are being drastically Editor replies: The letters from Paul Tomlinson and Philippe Muriel raise an important issue about the extent to which The Linguist should report on the realities of the language industry – good and bad – or whether we should stick, instead, to leading by example by focusing on best practice. Are articles that describe unprofessional practice, and present a reasonable response to it, helpful to readers, or does this damage the industry by undermining professionalism? Is there a balance to be struck? It would be interesting and useful to hear readers' views. you follow them out and explain why this shouldn't happen. It is for the officer(s) to take the statement and not the interpreter. When visiting a private address, the appointment should begin in the police station and the officer should go with the interpreter to the appointment. Interpreters should not be asked to go to private addresses and be left standing in the street, risking their personal safety. Austerity might be ending; as budgets are increased, education and training as to the role of an interpreter must be provided for police officers and court officials – the latter should not be introducing the interpreter to their 'client'. Each court system and police force should have a small committee of representatives of interpreters and local court and/or police professionals to liaise on such matters, highlighting problem areas and suggesting solutions. Such committees were in existence prior to outsourcing but rarely exist nowadays, if at all. Let's campaign to bring them back. All associations involved have an enormous education task ahead in relation to police, courts and some colleagues. Let's not shirk the task. Paul Tomlinson Correction In the last issue, we incorrectly stated that Reza Navaei was Chair of CIOL's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) Committee. He is, in fact, Deputy Chair and James Farmer is Chair. IMAGES © SHUTTERSTOCK

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