Applied Language Solutions – finally, something is to be done (hopefully)

Until now I have resisted the temptation to write about the British Applied Language Solutions / Ministry of Justice court interpreting contract – I felt that so many others had said all there was to say. For a tongue-in-cheek account, see Rainy London Translations’ post which contains lots of interesting links.

However, today, when I saw two tweets, I just had to put pen to blog, as it were.

The first tweet linked to this report: http://www.linguistlounge.org/index.php/all-articles/court-and-tribunal-interpreting-reports/493-stand-in-and-a-beautician-act-als-interpreters-in-a-murder-trial

I find the report scarcely believable, but in the light of recent events, I suspect that, sadly, shockingly, it is probably true.

The second tweet linked to a Law Gazette article published yesterday saying that finally a Select Committee has been appointed to head an inquiry into the service provided by ALS. The deadline for submissions is Monday 3 September. I will be very interested to see what happens.

Now I know this blog has an international readership, so all this might seem rather parochial to those outside the UK, but in the interests of starting a discussion – what do you think about the following:

  • Will this scandal increase people’s awareness of professional interpreters’ skills and lead to more appreciation of their work?
  • Or will it turn everyone into an armchair expert whenever they are in the presence of an interpreter and point out all the “errors” (without taking into account the fact that they are taking split-second decisions, may be in less-than-perfect working conditions, etc. etc.)
  • Or… something else!

Do let me know what you think!

9 thoughts on “Applied Language Solutions – finally, something is to be done (hopefully)

  1. To avoid confusion please refer to the company in question as Applied or Capita. ALS is our registered trademark and we are not they. Thank you.

    • Victor,
      While I can understand your concern, the fact is that Applied Language Solutions are known in the UK as “ALS” (& indeed refer to themselves as such on their own website: http://www.appliedlanguage.com/ e.g. “MoJ Framework

      ALS provides qualified and experienced interpreters and translators to the Ministry of Justice across the UK. Find out more about how to register to work with us.”)

      Moreover, they are frequently referred to as ALS in the national press in the UK (as they have been getting a lot of bad press recently- see here, for example: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/mar/02/interpreters-courts-protest-privatised-contract.

      Apart from Applied Language Solutions, there was also a company called ALS (UK) Ltd (which is currently in Liquidation), which actually specialised in translation services too ( http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/65582c0bd02c98bbd8c19e4e23bffa4a/compdetails )

      I suppose what I’m trying to say is that you are not the only “ALS” around (although you may have the trademark in the US).

      On the bright side, though, the danger of confusion is probably slight, as I suspect few people would confuse a translation company based in NY with one providing the interpreters to the British Ministry of Justice. 🙂

      All the best,

      Richard

      • I appreciate both your response to our request and your reassurance. ALS is not however only based in New York City but throughout the US and has affiliates in Europe, Asia and throughout the Americas.
        Thanks again for your kindness.

      • Dear Victor,
        I didn’t mean to suggest that ALS is “only” based in NYC- my point was that you referred to you having the “trademark”, which you may hold in the US, but do not hold in Europe (to the best of my knowledge).

        The related point was that in the UK “ALS” is known to refer to Applied Language Solutions; whether we use it or not, that is the association that people will have. In a way, it is just as well for you to know this- you will not be able to change the fact that people in the UK will initially assume that ALS is Applied Language Solutions, but being aware of that means that you can address that point in any of your marketing, drawing a clear distinction & pointing out that you are not to be confused with the British company ALS.

        All the best,

        Richard

  2. Pingback: Stop press – Official forum to collect evidence on UK court interpreting scandal « From Words to Deeds: translation & the law

  3. Pingback: UK Justice Select Committee Report published « From Words to Deeds: translation & the law

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