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NRPSI STATEMENT ON THE DECLINING RATES OF PAY OFFERED TO PROFESSIONAL INTERPRETERS | 31 JULY 2019

NRPSI is deeply concerned about the situation involving the Yorkshire Interpreters and Enable2 Interpreting and Translation Services and is in contact with both parties. As the voluntary regulator of the public service interpreting profession, it is the role of NRPSI to do everything within its power to protect public service interpreting standards and the quality of the interpreting services provided to public service organisations and the public. The declining rates of pay offered to professional interpreters is an ongoing issue for the public service interpreting profession and one of the greatest single threats to the standard of the language services provided to public service organisations and the public. Professional interpreters working for public service organisations, like many public sector support services, have been pushed to breaking point by having their fees successively squeezed by public sector cost-cutting measures and the outsourcing of contracts to private agencies who then set their rates of pay at low levels to enable their profit-making imperatives. It would be an understatement to say this current situation for many professional interpreters who specialise in working for the public services is completely unsatisfactory and proving to be untenable. Those public service interpreters who are registered and regulated are highly qualified, skilled and experienced professionals. They play a vital role in ensuring our public services run smoothly and efficiently, which is of benefit to the taxpayer. Yet, in many cases, they are being asked to work for rates of pay that are effectively lower than the minimum wage. Unable to make ends meet, these highly qualified practitioners are being forced to seek work outside of the public sector or leave it altogether. This has resulted in a skills vacuum that is being filled by those who are unqualified, inexperienced and ill-equipped to interpret complex legal and medical information in often emotionally wrought situations. This race to the bottom has to stop and it is with this in mind that NRPSI is meeting with language agencies about their current practices and the fair remuneration of qualified interpreters. To ensure a linked-up approach, we are also consulting with various public service organisations about their language services framework agreements and procurement processes to ensure they are provided with the high-quality language support they require and professional interpreters are fairly remunerated for their expertise.

ENDS

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