PSA accreditation: It has nothing to do with the medical model

PSAThe NRCPD has sought answers from the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) as to whether they could apply as a voluntary register to be accredited. We still have no clear answer but is this really a move towards what some perceive as aligning interpreting to a medical model?

Our history as an emerging profession of Sign Language Interpreters has lead us from the DWEB (Deaf Welfare Examination Board) interpreters to CACDPs first register in the 1980s which mostly consisted of those already working with Deaf people – social workers and Teachers of the Deaf. In the late 1980s funding was sourced and the Citi Services course became the first training course for interpreters. We were moving away from the helper model towards a more professional route into interpreting.

At the same time models of Deafness went from the medical model to social model i.e. there is nothing wrong with the individual that needs to be treated but rather that it is society that causes barriers. Then to a cultural model in which Deaf people have their own culture and language.

If only the government saw Deaf people that way. What we have had since 2010 is an tidal wave of outsourcing of interpreting services which has seen the lowest bidder win contracts across all sectors. This has been especially bad with cash strapped hospitals, mental health trusts and primary care services. Many NRCPD registered interpreters can no longer get any medical bookings now. Many Deaf people are not provided with registered interpreters when attending appointments. The examples of interpreters being used are few and far between. Just see the Our Health in Your Hands work for surveys and, for real life examples, the BSL Act Spit the Dummy campaign. Contract holders often send BSL users to hospitals to interpret who then tell Deaf people they left their yellow badge at home (the NRCPD one).

Outsourcing contracts to providers who are able to get away with not using registered personnel is going back in time and it goes against the government’s health and social care agenda. The only antidote to this is to ensure that all medical services book a NRCPD Registered Interpreter for Deaf people at their appointments. We know the damage it does if they do not. See the RNID’s A Simple Cure report, the TEA report. See the current work by OHIYH. See SignHealth’s long awaited Sick of It report, launching soon.

To ensure only NRCPD Registered Interpreters are used in medical settings is not going back to a time when the medical model is the prevailing paradigm. Sign Language Interpreters will not have to change their behaviour whilst interpreting nor will they be recognised as only being used for appointments. It is merely a step towards providers only being allowed to book Registered Interpreters rather than the situation now where Deaf people sign consent without knowledge of what they sign, struggle to understand how to take medication, their diagnoses, their prognosis and any treatments prescribed.

Whether PSA accreditation will actually get us a step closer to statutory regulation is unknown. Yet. PSA takes responsibility for both overseeing statutory regulators as well as voluntary registers. It requires registers to undertake audits, to make themselves more fit for purpose. The PSA can only improve the NRCPD and strengthen our position in getting ourselves seen as professionals and ensuring Deaf people have appropriate access. At medical appointments.

We will still work in the media, in courts, at police stations, at art galleries, at wedding and funerals, in work places, at conferences and anywhere else that Deaf people are present and want to gain access in a culturally appropriate way, in sign language. Let’s not confuse models of deafness with one of the areas in which we work. Or used to. With some work by the register we may well work in medical settings once more.

BBC: See Hear Interpreting Special

In the face of growing threat to the Sign Language Interpreting profession in the UK and the lack of access Deaf people are experiencing in the light of budget cuts, the BBC’s Deaf community programme, See Hear, has produced a special about Sign Language interpreting. Since 2010 the interpreting profession in the UK has been threatened with changing market forces, BSL agencies being squeezed out of that market and the subsequent loss of expertise. The changes have now filtered through to the rest of the UK with more devastating effects.

The programme features, in no particular order, an interview with me as owner of this blog; Kate Furby, an interpreter based in London; ASLI representatives: National Chair, Sarah Haynes and Working Group Chair, Bibi Lacey-Davidson; Paul Parsons from the NRCPD explaining interpreter registration and the complaints process; interpreting students from Wolverhampton University who are concerned about rising debts and whether they will be able to find work once they graduate; Terry Riley who is Chair of the British Deaf Association and feedback directly from the Deaf community talking about what they require from interpreters and their views on standards of interpreters.

Much of the focus is on a decrease in the standards of interpreters, the effect of one stop shop contracts with spoken language agencies and how community interpreting and Deaf access is in jeopardy by agencies’ use of unregistered, untrained signers.

The programme was first aired on Wednesday 23rd May on BBC2 at 1pm. It is available on the BBC’s iplayer until the 27th June 2012: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01j8chn/See_Hear_Series_32_Episode_8/

If you have any comments about the programme that you would like to share here please leave a comment on this blogpost. The effects of outsourcing have been affecting Deaf people’s access for over two years and interpreters are starting to leave the profession as some can not earn an income. The subsequent affects could make access even less likely. This is certainly an issue we all need to talk about more.

Interpreters: Undervalued, Under-respected and Under-employed

There are many reasons as to why I started this blog. Mostly it is because in the face of a changing market I felt interpreting had become undervalued. The profession was changing as a result and was affecting not only interpreters but also access for the Deaf community.

The hot topic between interpreters whenever they meet is usually are you getting enough work right now. Mostly, we’re not.

With spoken language agencies taking a lot of the health, council and legal contracts, there are interpreters out there who are now struggling to find work. It is not that the work has disappeared. Deaf people haven’t. It’s just a fact that Registered Interpreters are being used less. We are under-employed.

Over the years I have heard interpreters and Deaf people say community interpreting should be done by the best interpreters but is often done by the least experienced. Why do a GP job when you can interpret a conference? Of course all access is important for Deaf people but it is some of the most vulnerable Deaf people that need access to community interpreters. By ‘community’ I include medical, legal, mental health, social services, housing…

A community interpreter has to be prepared for anything. They need a large toolbox of skills to be able to give access to a Deaf person who may have minimal language skills, poor educational background, learning disabilities, mental health issues, a different sign language if a recent immigrant or maybe very little sign language at all. A Deaf relay interpreter is not always at hand.

Can an unregistered inexperienced signer have the confidence to know that the Deaf person left knowing how to take their tablets and that they understand their condition, symptoms or lack of them? Did they facilitate communication in a mental health appointment so that a Care Co-ordinator or Psychologist could do their job and know that their patient was safe? Is a Looked After Child really safe if a Social Worker does not get full access to what is happening at an appointment? Does the Deaf parents’ child get taken away if an Interpreter is not there to communicate for Mum and Dad? Do they then end up in court proceedings and would they have access to the justice system?

It takes years to train as an Interpreter and get the appropriate skills to deal with the above scenarios. The more you understand the intricacies of community interpreting the more you understand an experienced Interpreter is not an option but a necessity.

Why then have spoken language agencies been awarded some of these contracts? Do they really say they can provide interpreters for the unit costs that are being quoted? A colleague did some mystery shopping with some spoken language agencies and found, in horror, many were willing to accept her for work without seeing a police check, insurance or even any qualifications. Some were not only prepared to put someone with a level 2 (GCSE equivalent) or 3 (A-Level) qualification but some did not even ask for any qualifications at all. That is right. You can now be employed to be a Sign Language Interpreter without knowing any Sign Language. And get paid for it. This is how some NHS trusts and councils are spending their interpreting budgets.

I feel respected by other professionals for my skills. I think we rarely get this respect from Commissioners of services. Paying for a Registered Interpreter means other professionals can do their jobs properly and therefore safely. There is value for money in this alone. It is an utter waste of public funds that contracts are not effectively monitored, FOIs reveal some organisations are paying the same per interpreter booking but for people with GCSE language skills. Could you interpret a medical appointment with GCSE Spanish? On the other hand Registered Interpreters are struggling to find work. We are officially under-employed.

The implications of this are immense. We may see a profession that sheds its most experienced members, people may stop training (why pay for qualifications when you can get work at the hospital with level 2) and community interpreting will become community signing. Deaf people will not get access to services, including the most vulnerable Deaf people who need it the most.

Interpreters. We are being undervalued, under-respected and under-employed. But it isn’t just about us as Interpreters. We are just the ones that get to see most of these changes first. Sometimes that means we are the first to shout about it. Not just because we earn money from interpreting but because Deaf people are our family and friends. Most really good interpreters are part of the Deaf community too. With the really horrific stories that are coming out now about a lack of access, a lack of understanding by authorities and worse, mishaps, misdiagnosis and fatalities it is only a matter of time before all of this becomes more public. With community interpreting being decimated by commissioners and government policies what it really means is that Deaf people are being undervalued and under-respected too.

Police Procurement: Obtaining Less Value for Money for Interpreting Services

The deadline for the Home Office consultation is today. It is entitled Obtaining Better Value for Money from Police Procurement. This is the second consultation following on from the first which closed in September 2010. I did not necessarily have the knowledge I needed to fill out a consultation of this kind 18 months ago. I suspect many interpreters feel the same about this consultation. I suspect some interpreting agencies are too busy to consider responding to a consultation about the police when the tendering process for the framework agreement has long passed. And they may be trying to work out how to stay in business or whether to bother going for a NHS tender with a ridiculous unit cost per hour for interpreting services.

The consulation summary states that it will only be of interest to police authorities, unions and staff and businesses who contract to the police so has not been widely publicised. That sums up the attitude for me of a government ‘consultation’. It has become a byword for lip service, for pretending to listen, for ignoring the results whether it has been held locally or nationally.

Back to the consultation. There is already a framework agreement, there has already been pressure for police authorities to sign up to the agreement and many already have. The danger we have here is the consultation is about updating legislation. The proposed amendments to Regulations under Sections 53 (equipment) and Regulations under Section 57 (services) of the Police Act 1996 that would require specified equipment and services to be provided for police purposes through the use of specified framework agreements.

Translation and interpreters come under updates to the services part of the act. Other services include: some utilities, customer surveys, certain training services and certain consultancy services. Nothing else is so specialised as interpreting and no other involves ignoring other pieces of legislation namely: The Equality Act 2010, Article 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and EU directive 2010/64/EU 2010 on the right to interpretation in criminal proceedings. These laws state registered interpreters should be used, that no delays in provision should occur and interpreters should be of a sufficient quality or they must be replaced.

I have entered this legal argument into my consultation response alongside the explanation that this framework agreement does not obtain better value for money but rather reduces it. We have seen adjournments and delays in the courts and at tribunals. This is hardly going to improve no matter what precautions are put in place. It is an unsustainable contract and that is the simple fact of the matter.

Even though there is a perception that court work is the most important of all types of interpreting it is a myth. Interpreting at a police station is far more important. It has been drummed into me that ‘it all happens at the police station’. Having now done a smattering of police jobs and a lot of court work (before I started my boycott) I understand why the police station is far more important. It is where it all starts. It is where evidence is collected. It is where for cases it is make or break. If the interpreter makes mistakes at the police interview, whether this is for victim or suspect, it can mean abandoned court cases and expert witnesses being employed – do you really want another interpreter scrutinising your work and potentially having to agree in court that your work has been sub-standard.

Interpreting for the police can be the most important work you will ever do as an interpreter and where it has to be the most accurate. The proposed amendments to legislation means that the police have to use an agency which has not provided quality interpreters in courts and quite regularly does not manage to source one at all.

This is going to mean even more wasted public money. No, the Police Act 1996 should not be amended to regulate that police authorities should procure interpreting services. There is plenty of good practice and money savings initiatives by the forces who have resisted pressure to go over to the framework agreement, namely the London Met and Cambridgeshire Police forces.

What we need are best practice models, initiatives involving local interpreters, liaison with existing regulators – NRPSI and NRCPD. We need a way to future proof this profession and uphold standards in the face of a government who wishes to procure everything including specialist services to the now proven non-specialists and in the process waste millions of public money.

Survey Launched for BSL Users on Access to Healthcare

Following on from the back of hard work done by ASLI‘s Professional & Consumers Working Group, more organisations have joined in to create a campaign: BSMHD, BDA, Action on Hearing Loss, Sign Health and Signature.

There is a survey for BSL users on their access to health care (deadline 20th April): http://www.surveymonkey.com/BSLHealthcareSurvey

Please do let any Deaf people in the UK know about the survey. Deaf people have felt the effects of the government’s mission to outsource interpreting services over the last few years. Many Deaf people have never had adequate access to health care for years which outsourcing has certainly not helped.

This survey aims to collate the experiences of Deaf people on the ground, those who are really effected by the drive for profit, the deterioration of standards, the loss of work for registered interpreters and ultimately the reduction in access for Deaf people.

Whilst this blog reports on issues generally from an interpreter’s perspective of the effects of outsourcing, what the organisations involved need is hard evidence of what the reality is for Deaf people in the UK trying to access health care. If you have good feedback about your local service please fill out the survey too. In the post code lottery of outsourcing and who your local interpreting contract ends up with, it is more likely you have experienced less than adequate services.

Please fill out the survey today. Have your say and pass it on.

Using a Professional is the Only Safeguard – Part 2

This blog is part 2 of 2. Following on from part 1, where the term profession was discussed, let’s go back to why interpreting is being outsourced in the first place.

Services are being outsourced to save money. Services that are deemed as being a ‘Back Office Function’.

This phrase is being repeated by the Ministry of Justice, by commissioners nationwide, by Ministers and by David Cameron.

Back Office Function. What is a Back Office function? Logic dictates it is a function that exists back of house probably in an office. This would include administration, IT, facilities management, ordering of equipment say.

Any intelligent being would surely not class interpreting as a Back Office Function. No. Surely it is a specialism. To be done by people who know how to do so. People. Wait… professionals who have been trained and have experience before being let loose in a courtroom.

Interpreting as a Back Office Function? It’s illogical.  Outsourcing is now going way beyond what would normally be termed Back Office Functions.

Strange given the track record of disasters whenever the British government attempt to outsource. Capita got the name Crapita for good reason after disasters such as people nearly getting evicted when systems failed and did not pay out housing benefit claims in time. And bear in mind this is the company that has bought ALS and where the buck currently stops for interpreting services for the MoJ. As one publication has pointed out Capita should stick to back office business functions.

So why is the government taking the risk of outsourcing for areas others than more traditional business functions?

1) Crony capitalism.

This is endemic and epitomised in the coalition government’s support of big business over small or medium enterprises. This is despite what is touted in its reports. None of the framework agreements or procurement hubs now favoured by statutory organisations make it easy for the smaller enterprise to win contracts. Where the small enterprise is the specialist sign language agency, they lose out.

Sign Language interpreting services are becoming sub-contractors to the bigger spoken language agencies. Assignments are regularly being sub-sub-sub-contracted. By the time the interpreter is paid there is little left. Everyone up the food chain needs to make their buck. The result of which, at the other end, is that the statutory organisation comes away with little savings and interpreters travel the breadth of the country when there was a registered interpreter next door to the hospital sat at home unpaid.

2) Back door privatisation.

We have the Conservatives in government. They wish to privatise everything.

3) Ministers and senior civil servants need answers.

Outsourcing is an easy answer to coming up with savings rather than appropriately conducted research and consultation, with the caveat that information gleaned from consultation should be heeded. The word consultation has become a misnomer in the UK. It has come to mean you will speak up then be ignored.

Ministers have often said they lack skills in running large departments. One author suggests this is indicative of an eroded civil service with an overreliance on expensive consultants or specialist advisors rather than looking inward to creating those skills and utilising them.

As Peter Handcock CBE, Chief Executive, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) before the Justice Select Committee said so eloquently:

“So it is partly the process of letting a new contract and putting it in place, but, but we need to do, frankly we need to do much much better understanding the potential risks before we roll these things out.”

An admission of the lack of understanding. Has the government taken any advice on the subject of interpreting services? It seems they have ignored much of what interpreters have been telling them through the various consultations.

Therein lies the explanation of why interpreting is now being seen as a Back Office Function. And what of the effect of this policy, why does it go so horribly wrong, especially where professions are concerned?

Unit costs get ever cheaper in the bidding war for a contract. Unless there are safeguards and standards in place enforced upon the contract provider the temptation is to employ the cheapest personnel and disregard quality.

Sign Language interpreters have seen it happen already in most NHS trusts around the country. Chaos caused by large scale employment of untrained interpreters by sub-standard agencies (usually spoken language ones, though some sign language specialist agencies are also to blame). Yet the NHS and the MoJ are paying for these services.

A colleague did some mystery shopping amongst some new agencies that had won NHS contracts in and around London. Scarily, they wanted to accept her on their books without checking any qualifications, any registration. They did not even ask for insurance or a police check. Some didn’t even care if she actually knew any sign language.

When contracts are awarded to these agencies, the provision of interpreters then becomes tokenism, paying lipservice to the Equality Act 2010. These are specialist services that are commissioned, monitored and evaluated by non-specialists without the necessary in built safeguards, which you would have if professionals were employed. Services commissioned from those that call themselves specialists but are not. Of course outsourcing interpreting services was bound to fail. And fail it has.

The government, local and national, has made a categoric error in outsourcing interpreting services across the public sector. With regard to the MoJ, when this is the kind of service you are paying for you are not saving £18 million. You are losing £300 million.

Using a Professional is the Only Safeguard – Part 1

This post is part one of two. The first part will explain generally what a profession is and make distinctions between what some may consider a profession and what is truly a profession. The second post will consider the current comments of government surrounding the MoJ and other contracts to further highlight the fallacy behind outsourcing for those that should be considered professionals and the risks the government are incurring with this strategy.

The term profession is often bandied about. Anyone can call themselves a professional: marketeers, IT personnel, plumbers.

Let’s be clear. There is something beyond these albeit worthy roles. This is about a professional. One who has a Code of Ethics or Professional Conduct, a CRB check, has a high level of training, alongside specialised knowledge and skills, belongs to an organised regulator and has responsibility to a community and is concerned with its welfare above all else.

Teachers will tell you the supply teacher is all but gone in the UK. Rather than employ a qualified teacher to plug any gaps in timetables it is the new employee at the front of the class: one who is on a Registered Teacher Programme (RTP), who is not as yet qualified to teach. Or worse, sometimes it is the Teaching Assistant who is left holding the fort.

Psychologists will tell you that work previously done by highly qualified and trained Psychologists is now being done by those trained in IAPT: Improving Access to Psychological Therapies. You now need to pass a one year course to deliver CBT.

Nurses will tell you a lot of their work is now done by Health Care Assistants.

There are many similarities between the above three professions and interpreting, whether spoken or for sign language. You should be bound by a Code of Ethics or Professional Conduct, have an enhanced CRB check, professional insurance, be accessing supervision and be registered with the appropriate professional body in order to work. In fact all the criteria mentioned at the start of this article.

What is different with interpreting and what Sign Language interpreters have been discussing for a long time is the lack of legal protection. Were interpreters to be legally protected, it would be illegal to work as an interpreter unless you were a registered professional in the same way you can not legally work as a doctor if you are struck off the medical register held by the GMC.

Why? This goes back to the list of what it is to be a professional and the responsibility we have to the community we serve. Over the last 25-30 years we have witnessed and heard terrible stories of what happens when you do not have a registered interpreter. We have fought as a profession to raise and safeguard those standards and to continue to develop the profession.

We have heard about the level 2 ‘signer’ work in a court room (the equivalent of conversational French). We have heard about the police tape that got pulled apart by the defence team due to the sub-standard interpreting causing the eventual collapse of a case. We know the all too familiar stories of mishaps, misdiagnoses, even deaths. We all know the students who leave schools and colleges without qualifications because they didn’t understand the ‘communicator’. These aren’t the stories of yesteryear, the bad old days before we had a register and better qualifications, though both of those points are moot. These are fast becoming today’s stories.

You would not allow a Health Care Assistant to draw blood or dispense medication. You would not allow an IAPT practitioner to diagnose someone with schizophrenia. You would not allow a Teaching Assistant to deliver A Level Physics or PSHE. This creates rather than mitigates risk. Risks to standards, to service delivery, to people.

When you allow an untrained, unregistered interpreter to work in a hospital, a courtroom or a police station you play with risk, you create risk. And nobody present can monitor that.

It is why we have Codes of Ethics for professionals. Interpreters, in the same way as other professions, cannot always be monitored. They are responsible for monitoring their own actions and behaviours, to be responsible for themselves and those they serve. Codes of Ethics were borne out of the Hippocratic Oath, the fundamental principle of which is do no harm.

Employ someone who is not a professional, you no longer have those safeguards. No matter what monitoring has been added to the contract the commissioner is not omnipresent. Even if they were they would not be qualified in assessing whether that person was competent and had successfully completed their duties. Does the commissioner, judge, solicitor, doctor, nurse have access to the languages the ‘interpreter’ purports to know? Is someone unregistered really someone you can trust?

The only safeguard is simply to use a professional, one who is appropriately trained and registered. In the UK, where a framework agreement exists for interpreting that safeguard has been all but removed.

One Stop Shopping

Outsourcing or One Stop Shops. Words that strike fear into the heart of the Sign Language Interpreter. A word that means the work that they previously did direct or though one agency for a council, a hospital or a court now has to go through a larger spoken language agency.

This seems nonsensical to the jobbing interpreter, but ultimately makes sense to the statutory organisation. The logic or process goes like this: we use many interpreters for many different languages. British Sign Language (BSL) is a language. Our staff do not know how to book interpreters so we will employ an organisation who can do this for us. We will save money by employing an agency to cover our interpretation and translation needs (which will include those difficult to source sign language interpreters)…

We will go through a lengthy procurement process where agencies will try to outbid each other to win a contract at a unit price that is ultimately unsustainable. Organisation will expect said agencies to put something in their tender about quality but really it is tokenism for we will only be awarding a contract on the basis of costs. We will award contract to cheapest provider regardless…

Spoken language agency will not understand how to source a BSL interpreter and will sub-contract a specialist agency. They will think they can pay BSL interpreter the same as a spoken language interpreter and when they start the contract will get a big shock. Specialist BSL agency eventually agrees to reduced price sub-contract as all previous work they did is now being outsourced to spoken language agencies who have little understanding of deaf people and BSL interpreters. Specialist BSL agency still wants to survive in market where they get less work. BSL agency asks BSL interpreter to work for less fees. BSL interpreter, if accepting fees, finds they are working for a lot less than before. BSL interpreter is then providing profit for two separate contracts. BSL interpreter considers leaving the profession as they can not survive as an interpreter and must consider another career. Deaf people get less experienced and maybe unregistered interpreters as a result.

Time for a real life example… One of the biggest culprits is Language Empire and Remark Interpreting. Language Empire has a contract to provide interpreting for ATOS. ATOS has the contract for the Government’s Department of Work and Pensions medical assessments. ATOS carry out assessments to decide if the claimant should be allowed incapacity benefit or if they are fit to work. There are problems for disabled people in general with these assessments. MPs themselves have stated the assessments are flawed. The ATOS machine rumbles on… so who do they employ to do the interpreting? Language Empire. An agency who is so ignorant of BSL it calls it British Special Language. The images of hands on its ‘BSL’ page are not of any recognisable signs and they state they have ‘special disability interpreters’. Nobody actually knows what this means. Their webpage has caused BSL interpreters much mirth but complete dismay at their ignorance.

The worst is yet to come. A deaf-led agency has now started to sub-contract for Language Empire. At least the RNID (now Action on Hearing Loss) when sub-contracting for The Big Word stood up for BSL interpreters and helped The Big Word understand the BSL interpreting profession. This organisation has done nothing for interpreters or the deaf community it proposes to serve. They continue to try to source BSL interpreters at greatly reduced cost for what it’s contractors call British Special Language. This particular agency states one of their aims as supporting and enhancing the lives of Deaf, hard of hearing and blind individuals.’ I don’t think so.

Meanwhile we hear of regular reports of yet another council, organisation or government department outsourcing or looking for a ‘one stop shop’. When the agency is not reputable, the cost to the organisation generally remains the same but the quality drops off. With BSL usually representing something around 2% of a contract, the interpreter or deaf person loses out. What used to cost an organisation £100 – £160 per booking average direct, now costs the same or worse (Freedom of Information requests by interpreters show this to be the case due to sub-contracting).

The fact costs have barely been saved is not important. It’s the ramifications to the profession and subsequently deaf people that matters. Spoken language agencies generally do not understand the NRCPD registration system for sign language interpreters. These agencies are more likely to employ someone with level 1 or 2 in sign language (equivalent to a GCSE or A Level in French) thinking this is acceptable. It may be if we were native BSL users but as interpreters, by the nature of the job, we are mostly people that can hear, and we tend to have English as our first language. Therefore, most people with a basic qualification in BSL do not have enough fluency to interpret anything but someone buying a cup of coffee much less a medical appointment. Would you try to interpret consent for an operation to a French man if you had GCSE French?

Every qualified registered interpreter has been to an appointment where the deaf person said but that’s not what the interpreter said last week. Take the case recently of an elderly deaf man who thought he was having a minor operation on his shoulder. The hospital had provided an ‘interpreter’ the week before to sign the consent forms. When the registered interpreter arrived a week later the patient was shocked to discover he would be having a a major operation that day under general anaesthetic. What will it take to stop this… A malpractice lawsuit? A death? Rumour has it that already happened but unless someone actually does anything about it, the government outsourcing machine continues, the big agencies profit and deaf people lose out.

An Anonymous Introduction

There are many reasons for starting this blog. I’m a Sign Language Interpreter in the UK and part of a profession that is currently experiencing many difficulties. We are faced with changing market forces, the long-standing ignorance of why interpreters are necessary and statutory organisations, whose main concern, in this current economic climate, is to cut costs rather than look at equality or value for money.

This blog seeks to address some of the misinformation about Sign Language Interpreting in the UK by giving interpreters a way to air their views publicly but anonymously. We are bound by a Code of Conduct in our day-to-day work. It is right that we are but sometimes we may feel we can not speak out. We can post on public forums but may leave ourselves open to criticism and personal attack. Interpreters Anonymous provides a way for people to post opinion pieces to air these conversations and opinions we wish to be made public without fear of recrimination.

If you would like to write a guest post please send an email to interpreteranon@gmail.com. Your post will be considered in the strictest confidence and published anonymously. See the disclaimer page for the policy on guest blogs and comments.

Any opinions expressed are solely those of the blog post author and do not represent the views of any organization that the post author is affiliated with or with the opinions of any other author who publishes on this blog. For blog disclaimer and comment policy see the separate disclaimer page.