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Work as an interpreter or translator for freelance payment for individuals and organizations such as the police, social services, the courts and medical personnel with second language speakers employment:
If you have a second language such as Arabic, German, Polish, Chinese, Russian or Serbo-Croatian or can do sign language for the deaf then you can do this interpreter work in a variety of areas:
Working For The Police
Legal interpretation could include working for the police, a solicitor or lawyer, a legal team, the court or the legal aid or crown prosecution service. Register an interest at your local court and police station.
You will normally need to provide several references and demonstrate that you can understand and effectively communicate an understanding of the foreign language as well as a good command of English. This is normally for the written as well as the spoken word.
Second Language Speakers
The legal system needs a bank of second language speakers and you can help by joining. You will normally be paid for your time during working as an interpreter and usually receive a refund for expenses such as travelling or loss of earnings from your regular job.
Translation employment is not guaranteed and can be irregular. You may be called upon at short notice and have to do unsocial hours like through the night or at weekends. The information you have to interpret may not be pleasant and may involve quite nasty crimes or the witness of such a crime.
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You should ensure the person is speaking the same dialect as you to prevent misunderstandings and mis quotations. This is especially important for the many African and Chinese dialects. Some trials have had to be abandoned because of such a situation.
Do declare at an early stage any interest in a case or a relationship with a defendant or an accused.
Interpreting work for the police or the courts does require a high standard in interpreting services in order to uphold human rights and the right to a fair trial. For example you will need to have an understanding and compliance of the PACE codes.
It should be remembered that freelance interpreters are responsible positions and that there is a big difference between community and public service interpreting. In order to do this you should be a professionally qualified. Those who wish to be employed in Criminal Justice should be a Registered Public Service Interpreter (RPSI) which means you are qualified, security checked and registered. Organisations exist to deal with malpractice of the rules and to advise people. For example one such organisation is the Professional Interpreters Alliance.
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In the Criminal Justice Sector there is an agreement issued by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform which sets out the obligations for Criminal Justice agencies with regard to regular and freelance interpreter jobs. The National Agreement can be found at
The National Agreement serves to underpin certain legislation such as Articles 5 and 6 of the ECHR and PACE Code C. There are a number of cases currently sub judice that relate to criminal charges being brought against persons who impersonated in criminal proceedings. It is a skilled and demanding profession that should be left to the professionals. For more information about the qualifications related to the languages sector visit www.iol.org.uk
In many jobs there will be a time when a document, book, letter or even conversation needs to be translated. For example a French patient who comes to the UK for specialist care may need his or her medical notes translated by someone with French as a second language. This would have to be done in the hospital because of patient confidentiality.
However another example of work as interpreter may be a Dentist who is using the latest piece of dentistry equipment - but the instructions are written in Polish. He or she will gladly pay someone on a freelance basis to work as a translator and type out the instruction manual in English. This can be done at home.
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If this has not answered your questions or you need some more advice then please e-mail me. I would also welcome any advice to increase the information to make it more useful to others. I would also appreciate it if you were to send our link to your friends, forums and social media.
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Other situations needing one could include translating Arabic literature or letters sent to individuals.
Income earned should be declared to the inland revenue on your income tax annual self assessment form. Expenses such as mileage, if not paid by the employer, may be able to be offset against this on your expense sheets. Any equipment like a dictaphone, computer or printer, etc should also be claimed, though only as a percentage if used for personnel reasons.
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