Following on from the furore over veils, Gordon Brown now thinks immigrants "should speak the language of English". I do hope this is not a direct quote, as it suggests that Gordon Brown should possibly learn to speak the English language too.I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. There is nothing worse than dealing with foreigners, whether as victims, offenders or witnesses. No, I am not racist, I am time-ist. I hate anything that takes an unreasonable length of time and waiting for interpreters, making appointments with witnesses, then waiting while the interpreter alters the victim's detailed account into his or her own words, writes it out again and then does his or her own statement promising that the translation is accurate, takes an incredible amount of TIME.Dealing with offenders is slightly better, but where both victim and offender speak the same obscure language and there is only one interpreter from that nation in the south of England, it can cause a problem (you cannot really use the same interpreter for both as they could pass messages/contaminate the account).
We have a couple of excellent interpreters in the Blandmore area, and some less good ones. Here are some real life experiences I have had:
I once found the best Somalian interpreter in the world. We sat and took the statement for about two hours and every three minutes the interpreter read what he had written back to me, simultaneously translating it into English so I could check we were heading the right way. At least, so I thought. When I finally said, "Are you really translating so quickly as you go along?" he said, "No, the statement is in English." I viewed it and sure enough, he had written in English. "But how is the victim going to read it and sign it?" I asked. "I will translate it into Somalian now." "But... shouldn't it be the other way around?" "I always do it this way." Hey ho, as long as I end up with two statements I am happy.
There is a top-notch Urdu interpreter who travels many miles to tend our prisoners. A typical interview with her will go something like:
PC Bloggs: When I turn on the tape you will hear a bleep.
Interpreter: [speaks for three minutes without pause, exchanging nods and confirmations with the prisoner].
PC Bloggs: What were you saying?
Interpreter: I was explaining the tape procedure and legal aspects.
PC Bloggs: But... I do that on the tape, and how do you know what I'm going to say?
Interpreter: It's the same every time.
PC Bloggs: OK, but we'll have to do it on the tape again.
PC Bloggs: Did you hit the other guy?
Suspect speaks for at least a minute.
PC Bloggs: Is that all he said?
PC Bloggs: OK... how did the other guy get injured then?
Interpreter: I don't know.
PC Bloggs: What did you just ask him?
Interpreter: I said I don't believe him.
PC Bloggs: Can you just say what I ask, please?
PC Bloggs: And tell me what he says?
Interpreter: You are fussy.
PC Bloggs: Well?
Interpreter: I don't know what he said. We speak different dialects.
PC Bloggs: Then how have you been interpreting for the last hour?
Interpreter: Largely guesswork. I can make out a few words.
PC Bloggs: Interview terminated!
Suspect: Why are we stopping?
PC Bloggs: You speak English?
Suspect: Yes, I am bilingual. They only asked me what my first language was.
PC Bloggs: Please kill me now.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Copyright of PC Bloggs.