The Linguist

The Linguist 55,1

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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Page 4 of 35 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016 The Linguist 5 The latest from the languages world UK immigration services "adjourn" plans to cut contractors' fees following an effective campaign Government U-turn over interpreters' pay The Home Office has "adjourned" its plans to cut interpreters' pay following a campaign by stakeholders. On 20 November, the Government department emailed its 2,000 contracted interpreters to inform them of a pay decrease from 1 January. There had been no consultation and no prior warning. The cuts affected the enhanced first-hour rate, which accounts for travel time and costs. A campaign group quickly formed, threatening a mass boycott by interpreters contracted to work for the Home Office's Interpreter Operations Unit, which includes UK Visas & Immigration, HM Passport Office, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement. Within five weeks, following a meeting with the campaign group, the department seemed to capitulate, stating: "We keep our costs under constant review to ensure the contractors we employ offer the best value for money for the taxpayer. Following our meeting with the interpreters on 21 December, we intend to defer implementation of this change at least until 1 February 2016 to allow us time to give proper considerations to the views and opinions expressed." NEWS & EDITORIAL In January, they announced: "The decision has been taken to adjourn the planned rate change at this time with a view to commissioning a fundamental review of Interpreter Services, including the Interpreter Rates of Pay within the scope of the review." Home Office interpreters are not legally allowed to strike, but they can refuse assignments. Due to the specialist nature of the work, and the need for security vetting, they cannot easily be replaced at short notice, so the planned boycott would have been debilitating for the UK immigration services. Their rates have effectively been frozen since 2002 and they are expected to travel up to three hours each way to assignments, yet the proposals would have cut the first-hour rate of £48, or £72 at weekends, by a third. According to the fair pay campaign, it would not be feasible for them to work under these conditions. The pool of experienced, vetted interpreters would therefore be reduced, putting at risk the right to a fair hearing. CIOL had also co-signed a letter from the umbrella group PI4J (Professional Interpreters for Justice), outlining their concerns. From July, the UK Government plans to stop funding an important programme promoting foreign language learning in England and Wales. After 10 years of supporting young language learners, Routes into Languages will close at the end of the current academic year. The project is organised into consortia of universities nationally, with the University of Leeds alone engaging more than 2,300 young people annually through campus events and school visits that have been proven to inspire them to study languages at GCSE, A-Level and university. There are concerns that the closure will affect take-up of languages post- 14 and in Higher Education. A petition, which requires 10,000 signatures, has been set up to lobby the Government to reconsider (see 111879/sponsors/qJz7T9VHYT2KzyPwo9). Routes fights for survival A boost for foreign drama A new streaming service dedicated to foreign language TV launched in the UK in January. Delivering subtitled box-sets on demand, Walter Presents capitalises on a huge rise in the popularity of foreign-language shows following the success of series such as the Nordic thrillers The Killing and The Bridge. A partnership between Channel 4 and Global Series Network, the new service offers more than 600 hours of TV shows via Channel 4's free digital hub All 4, with its flagship Deutschland 83 airing first on Channel 4. A free app has been launched that enables users to read a book in two languages at the same time. The Parallel Books app for iOS displays two language versions of the same book via a "chewing gum" overlay that can be hidden, and keeps the two versions in sync as you read. The books are free to access and available in multiple languages. See Read together © SHUTTERSTOCK

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