Hi there dear readers!
In about a month the tender for interpretation services published by the Dutch Ministry of Justice will expire.
If you are not familiar with the issue, the Dutch Ministry of Justice has created more room for less qualified legal interpreters (level B2), which of course outraged qualified colleagues (level C1) who have been on strike since January. More information can be found here and here.
It is very sad to see a common pattern with what happened in the UK and Ireland a while ago. I had blogged about the fact that both Ireland and the UK had switched from using qualified legal interpreters to outsourcing interpretation services to big translation companies. In both cases there were pretty terrible consequences: (the so-called) interpreters were not able to understand what was being said, thus failing to provide a good service and in turn slowing down the whole system.
I have tried to identify what these 3 countries – UK, Ireland and the Netherlands – had in common when those (risky) decisions were made:
– shortage of qualified legal interpreters vs the number of cases, hearings, etc.
– shortage of money by the Ministry of Justice
– belief that outsourcing most of the work (looking for interpreters, contacting them, etc.) will lead to a more cost effective management of interpreting services
– trying to standardise payments to the same hourly rate, regardless of language combination, type of assignment, travel time, etc.
– belief that “excellent” interpreting is ok, but “good enough” is ok too. On a personal note, I would be terrified to sit in a court and have to rely on someone whom I can’t trust completely
Have you heard of similar cases somewhere else? Examples of good practices are also worth sharing!
Thanks in advance for your comments!