Google Translate as court experiences interpretation difficulties

Posted on April 1, 2012


Google Translate has been used by staff in court and lawyers as problems communicating with foreign defendants arose recently. A new service for interpreting has been introduced but appears to have experienced some problems in the transitional period. In addition to allowing friends and family of the defendants to assist with translation, Google Translate has also been used by the courts to provide understanding.

The contract for interpretation services had been awarded to Applied Language Solutions, which began 30th January 2012. Initial problems include a translator who travelled 564 miles just to spend eight minutes in the courtroom, defendants having to remain in prison as a number of interpreters have failed to attend hearings for bail and court staff having difficulty communicating with defendants, having to rely on Google for assistance.

According to the Ministry of Justice, the situation has shown improvement, especially as the contractor was asked to improve the service as a matter of urgency. Measures have now been implemented to ensure that performance improves. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said:

“The interpretation and translation framework with Applied Languages Solutions was agreed last year following consultation and introduced in courts, tribunals and prisons across England and Wales on January 30, following a successful pilot in the North-West region.”

The spokesperson also stated that almost 3000 bookings were fulfilled in a week which covered most of the bookings. Google services are used by a large number of people to gain valuable information. Changes made to these services may impact on a company’s SEO campaign, making some SEO jobs more complex.


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