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EC plans Translation & Interpreting Rights

EC plans Translation & Interpreting Rights

All EU governments will be obliged to provide full interpretation and translation for criminal suspects under European Commission plans.

The idea is to help people "exercise their fair trial rights anywhere in the EU when they cannot understand the language of the case" said a statement.

The Commission cites the examples of an Italian tourist involved in a car crash in Sweden who was not allowed to talk to an Italian-speaking lawyer during his trial, and the Polish suspect denied access to written translations of evidence used against him in a French court.

Such "unexpected barriers" could lead to unfair convictions during legal proceedings in other EU countries.

The proposal - requested three months ago by EU ministers themselves - is the first step under the new Lisbon Treaty towards setting common EU standards in criminal cases.

The Treaty allows the EU to adopt measures "to strengthen the rights of EU citizens, in line with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights", said the statement.

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High Translation costs for Multicultural N. Ireland

The impact of foreign immigrants on the translation costs for Northern Ireland's courts has been revealed today. The Court Service had to fork out almost £200,000 to hire 946 language interpreters during 2006, according to figures released by the Government.

The figures give one indication of the dramatic changes happening in the increasingly multi-cultural Northern Ireland as workers flood in from far and wide, boosting what is a thriving economy. They reveal 936 translators were engaged to work in criminal court cases during 2006. The most often featured languages were:

1. Lithuanian 344.

2. Polish 209.

3. Russian 90.

4. Portuguese 63.

5. Mandarin 43.

Read more: Ulster Courts 

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