The Linguist

The Linguist 56,4 – August/September 2017

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 9 of 35 JUDGEMENT DAY Feelings of suspicion, fear and even hatred towards a client accused of terrorism need to be controlled 10 The Linguist Vol/56 No/4 2017 FEATURES I received a phone call from the police out of the blue (excuse the pun), asking if I might be available at 2am the next day. Somewhat surprised, I asked if he meant 2pm, but he assured me that the time was correct. He then gave me directions to the building in Greater Manchester where the job briefing was to be held. Briefing; what briefing? He was less than forthcoming and promised that all would be revealed the next day. I had previously interpreted on early-morning raids with the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) and UK Border Agency (UKBA), involving identity and benefit fraud, and assumed that this job would be similar. At 1am, I forced myself out of bed and into my work clothes, and drove to the briefing venue, which was ablaze with lights. Inside there were scores of uniformed police officers and detectives, as well people in plain clothes. I felt a vague stab of anxiety: what on earth was going on? I was escorted into the building by the Interpreter Liaison Officer (ILO), who introduced me to an interpreter who spoke a language different to my own and looked as bog-eyed and confused as I did. We were then introduced to UKBA officers, who had just arrived from London. The briefing began at 3am. All of the undercover officers were asked to stand to one side of the room so that their identities wouldn't be revealed on the video of the briefing. Instructions were then given regarding a raid that was due to take place at 5am – the aim of which was to 'lift' two suspected terrorists from a local address! Now fully awake, my fellow interpreter and I were driven by the ILO to a back street near the target property. The scene that greeted us was like something out of a James Bond film: armed police everywhere! What I remember most was the strange silence; not even a curtain twitcher in sight. Becoming the voice of terror Sue Leschen describes an unsettling assignment interpreting for a suspected terrorist IMAGES © SHUTTERSTOCK

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