Interpreters earn 6-figure salaries. Who says?

There have been endless reports on the chaos in courts throughout the country following the new agreement between the Ministry of Justice and ALS for the provision of interpreting in court. (See BBC report). As a result, petitions have gone round, and a demonstration took place in London this afternoon from the MoJ to the Commons.

In anticipation of this protest, Today’s programme this morning reported that Minister of Justice Crispin Blunt claimed that interpreters earned a 6-figure income. Where does this information come from? Does anyone know?

Only this week, the ITI and the CIOL published the “2011 Rates and Salaries Survey for Translators and Interpreters”, which states that “the median gross income for full-time freelancers is … £31,000”, for translators and interpreters together. That’s before tax, national insurance, and the cost of running your own business. Six-figure income!?

Since the aim of this contract is to save money and it’s actually doing the opposite, there will come a point when the MoJ will have to face the music and revert back to using the national register. And the sooner the better! Meanwhile, the mess proves that there is more to interpreting than being able to chat in a couple of languages.


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