Training for judges, barristers and solicitors

The company has commissioned the International School of Linguists to produce a series of short educational videos for legal professionals so they can get the best out of interpreters.

The ISL already delivers an acclaimed training programme for its expert linguists who play a vital role in the smooth running of court cases involving limited English speakers.

Larry Gould, chief executive of thebigword Group, said: “Interpreters are highly skilled and trained and carry out complex and challenging work to a very high standard in the UK courts.

“But they cannot do this alone and sometimes support and understanding is needed from judges, barristers and solicitors.

“We hope our new training programme will provide invaluable practical advice for legal profession-als to get the best out of the interpreters they are working with, whether it is face to face, on video or by telephone.

“We are making this investment to ensure that justice is delivered in the best possible way in the UK.”

The training programme will introduce and explain the main types of interpreting – consecutive, simultaneous and sight translation – and how they differ in need and delivery.

It will suggest some helpful steps to take before court sessions, such as providing as much information as possible in booking notes to help interpreters make the necessary preparations, making sure interpreters can clearly hear all parties in court and testing that interpreters can actually understand the language used by the limited English speakers.

During proceedings, legal professionals are encouraged to maintain eye contact with the person in question rather than the interpreter.

They are also advised against using acronyms, complex terminology and reeling off vast amounts of information.

Legal professionals should allow time for interpreters to explain what they are doing or ask ques-tions. They should also be aware of cultural differences.

Importantly, interpreters should not be asked for opinions, such as if they think a defendant is telling the truth. They are present purely to facilitate communications.

The International School of Linguists is filming the training videos in courtroom sets with actors to illustrate its messages as clearly as possible. They will be short in duration given the demanding schedules of most legal professionals.

The school was founded in 2010 to raise the standards of linguists through training and testing and provides a range of innovative and bespoke programmes.

Its community interpreting certificates were shortlisted in the Training Journal and Learning Technologies awards last year.

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