Translation services for Welsh speakers must be protected, police chiefs told
Chief constables in Wales must not “shirk their obligations” by refusing to allow the use of Welsh in police interviews, Bar leaders said yesterday.
They criticised several police chiefs in Wales for having challenged the Welsh language commissioner over requirements that people are able to use the language at legal interviews.
Those standards include the duty to provide a simultaneous translation service if the interview cannot be conducted in Welsh.
Bar leaders claim that several senior police officers have recently described the language requirement as “unreasonable and disproportionate”.
The lord chancellor’s standing committee referred the issue to the Bar Council of England and Wales, which has rejected police arguments that consecutive translation should be provided instead.
According to the Bar Council, real-time translation “does not disrupt police interviews”. “In fact, it is less disruptive than the stop start nature of consecutive translation,” they added.
The barristers maintain that consecutive translation “gives bilingual interviewees twice as much time to think of an appropriate answer to questions, thus being even more disruptive to the interview and police officer’s line of questioning”.
The Bar’s report claims that a lack of simultaneous translators in the translation service used by the police forces “is a wholly inadequate reason to justify the use of consecutive translation”.