Grantham magistrates’ court had to adjourn three separate cases due to the absence of interpreters.

 

Both the case of 19-year-old Marian Szabo, of Hudson Way, who stands charged with assault by beating, and of Berta Laci, 24, of Bridge End Road, who is accused of driving over the alcohol limit, were adjourned because there was no Hungarian interpreter. Szabo will next appear on May 7, and Laci on April 9, with the defendants remaining on unconditional bail.

 

Meanwhile Henryk Czachor’s case could not go ahead because there was no Polish interpreter. The 32-year-old from Grantley Street is charged with assault by beating, and is on conditional bail not to contact the complainant or attend the street where they live, until his next court date on July 29.

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German comedian and broadcaster Henning Wehn explores the fast-growing use of ELF - English as a lingua franca. Around the world there are an estimated 800m non-native speakers of English and the number is growing all the time.

Through talking to French, German, Brazilian and even American expats based in the UK, Henning discovers that just having the English vocabulary and grasping of grammar doesn't really help foreigners understand the nuanced, elliptical way that the British speak their own language.

From Japanese estate agents to French web entrepreneurs, non-native English speakers are baffled by the way the natives communicate using humour, obscure idioms based on cricket or rugby, and the understated codes of class and status.

Henning talks to academics and consultants in the fast-growing field of ELF and learns that it is rapidly developing a grammar and structure of its own - often not understood by those who have grown up speaking English.

LISTEN TO THE PROGRAMME HERE

Producer: Keith Wheatley
A Terrier production for BBC Radio 4.

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Private Eye, N 1389, 3rd - 16th April 2015, p. 29

Private Eye 1389

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The trial of five Czechs accused of trafficking men into Britain has been adjourned after concerns were raised about one of the interpreters.

Two men and three women, members of an extended Roma family, are facing a jury at Plymouth Crown Court for allegedly housing compatriots in their homes for economic exploitation.

But the court was told this afternoon that the case would have to be postponed until tomorrow.

One of the men who was allegedly trafficked, Josef Bukovinsky, is giving evidence from behind a screen.

Judge Paul Darlow said to the jury: “We have very serious concerns as to the quality and fairness of the interpretation we are being offered.

“That complaint has come from a number of different independent sources, in that the interpreter who is interpreting Josef’s evidence is not doing so professionally and fairly. We must have absolutely reliable interpretation.

“The long and the short of it is that another interpreter has to be organised for the witness.”

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In a recent speech outlining Britain’s anti-extremism strategy entitled A Stronger Britain, Built On Our Values, the home secretary, Theresa May, identified five “British values” that “are the means by which we have made our multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious society succeed”.

It is telling that nowhere in the speech did she acknowledge that Britain is, always has been and is likely to remain a multilingual society.

May returned to a well-rehearsed trope for politicians from across the political spectrum that to be British is to speak English. She now joins former Labour home secretary David Blunkett – who famously equated not speaking English at home with “the schizophrenia which bedevils generational relationships” – in putting language at the centre of the debate about the role of language in modern Britain.

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