Letter: Translators in the courts

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article of 8 May, "Lost in translation", rightly highlights the problems of communication across language and culture which may deny non-English speakers equal access to justice and social services. However, since the creation of the National Register of Public Service Interpreters in 1994, users and providers of public services are able to locate qualified and experienced interpreters who are specialised in local government, health care or police and court interpreting. Also, since 1994, colleges throughout the UK provide courses leading to the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting, which the Institute of Linguists awards.

The problem is no longer to provide qualified interpreters but to persuade the public services to stop using friends and relatives and to use the national register.

Edda Ostarhild

Chief Executive,

Institute of Linguists

London N5

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