How is the recent MoJ Framework agreement really affecting linguists?

December 23, 2011 by totalityservices

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I recently had the chance to chat with a Polish interpreter who is registered with the NRPSI and successfully passed the demanding DPSI last year. Whilst she had been trying to build up her business as a freelance interpreter and translator, the Ministry of Justice’s announcement regarding the provision of translation and interpreting services to Applied Language Solutions in July 2011 has really thrown a spanner in the works.

It was interesting to hear in person how the MoJ’s decision to award the agreement to ALS after a 12 month procurement process has affected the working lives of language service providers. The creation of this framework agreement is essentially to save money, public money at that, and to streamline the provision of translation and interpreting services in the justice sector. In essence when the justice sector is in need of a freelance linguist they will contact ALS and will be matched with an individual from their pool of translators and interpreters. This process is supposed to be quick and less expensive in the long run.

The interpreter I spoke to said that she had noticed a significant drop in demands for her services due to the framework agreement, and that if she wanted work for ALS she would have to register with them at a cost of £200 or so. When you’ve invested both time and money in recently registering with the NRPSI an additional expenditure is far from welcome. She is currently looking for other work to fill the gap.

However, the NRPSI remains standing and as it has long been recognised for its regulatory role it is still an important and viable ‘qualification’ for freelancers to have when trying to get work. Clients will see that the individual in question has passed the stringent selection criteria, and that they abide by a code of conduct. People not on the register will not have this quality and standard guarantee. The NRPSI has assured it’s registrants that the public service sector will continue to use interpreters on the register for this reason.

As we have commented previously on the MoJ’s decision, as an interpreting service provider we recognise the DPSI as a seal of approval, and will continue to use the register as a source for freelancers. We can only hope that the framework agreement won’t push established and reputable linguists out of the profession to leave way for cheaper providers which could potentially put the vulnerable people relying on the language services at risk.


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