Nadia’s blog reveals how she isn’t qualified, failed exams, uses the wrong language, “lies” about her travel expenses and describes court staff as “vigilant judicial rats”. She’s still working as a Capita court interpreter!

One story has come to light which shows the full horror of the Ministry of Justice Framework Agreement with Capita Translation and Interpreting: Nadia Tabler’s blog. This one story shows how Capita continues to use unqualified interpreters in courts, an interpreter who openly states she “struggles with legal terminology”, and was thrown out of a court for being “unprofessional”.

Nadia, we understand, lives in the Colchester area. According to her blog on ‘Live Journal’ she was working in a nursing home. She described how she signed up with a new agency (Applied Language Solutions, now Capita Translation and Interpreting).

One entry in her blog said “They (ALS/Capita) have been offering me loads of bookings - each day I receive tens of assignments; to be honest, they need a Lithuanian interpreter and all the bookings are for courts, and my Lithuanian has somewhat rusted without practice.”

She then describes how she started accepting the bookings. So, here we have someone taking jobs in courts in a language she admits she is “rusty” in. She also said that she has problems with written Lithuanian as she did not study the language at school, she was self-taught. She demonstrates her command of interpreting into Lithuanian and the court system in an entry on July 7th, when working in a crown court: “Everybody wears a wig there and they speak the highest level of English. The average Englishman would not understand, and neither would I.”

In other entries she further describes how she gets by. Instead of using Lithuanian, she starts to throw in some Russian. Again, you have to stop here. Lithuanian and Russian are completely different languages and although Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union, it is now the case that many people from there do not understand or speak Russian at all. The risks to justice here are plain to see.

According her Live Journal, Nadia enjoys travelling around England in her new found profession. She even describes how she fiddles her travel expenses. This is from July 20th: “Each such trip (I try to use a train, but I lie that I drive, then they pay more) takes 3 to 13 hours, sometimes I drive for 8 hours. I visited plenty of towns I had never seen before, we went with the whole family to some places, visited the sights before or after my work.”

So, our ‘linguist’ may have been enjoying days out with the family, but sadly some of the defendants she was working with did not enjoy her interpreting in as much that they couldn’t understand it. She confesses in the blog: “A couple of times clients (Lithuanians) were unhappy with my interpreting, one even made a statement to the court demanding that they find another interpreter for the next hearing. One court banished me forever, they said my English wasn’t good enough. I couldn’t interpret one word with four attempts.”

Nadia’s native language is Russian. So why doesn’t she use that instead of stumbling in Lithuanian? The answer, in her words, is fascinating: “because there are hundreds of Russian interpreters, and all highly qualified, experienced, with a linguistic or foreign language background, so I, a jumped-up impostor, do not stand a chance. There is no shortage of work with Lithuanian though, every day dozens of bookings, so one can pick and choose.”

We have tried to find exactly what Nadia is qualified in. She certainly is not and never has been on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters, or taken the Law Component of the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) in either Russian or Lithuanian. Even now, the interpreters working in the courts are supposed to have DPSI qualifications (or part of them) to work under the Framework Agreement, so here we have another ‘Capita’ fail to send qualified people out to work.

Court interpreters are supposed to follow a code of conduct, and that naturally prevents making public comments about ‘work’. Doesn’t bother our Nadia though. For example, in this post, she uses the name of a defendant: “I was all humming and hawing and the situation was only slightly rescued after the defendant - a serial thief called Donatas - encouraged me by saying that he spoke perfect Russian and that I could smuggle in one or two Russian words when I couldn't think of the Lithuanian ones and no one would notice. I was forced to translate this by vigilant judicial rats of the court but they didn't object to it - it was probably too obvious how much I was struggling.”

In other comments, she also discusses sentencing policy and her views on some of her ‘customers’: “there are plenty of those Lithuanian dregs of society here - the stinking heavy drinkers who've let themselves go and who God knows why decided to drag themselves to a foreign country.”

Most of the controversial postings on Nadia’s blog ( mysteriously disappeared only a few days ago. However, we did save some screen shots (in Russian) taken weeks ago so they can be read in full.

Nadia’s candid confessions give us an insight into working as a Capita court interpreter. Unqualified, questionable competence and sometimes using the wrong language to get by. Also enjoying days out around England to boot. How many more Nadias are out there? How many court cases could now be re-opened because the interpreters supplied by Capita simply are not up to the job? If Nadia’s blog is anything to go by, the answer is quite a few.

Nadia kindly responded to requests for comment prior to publication of this article. In an email, she said “I felt rusty in my national language which I had not used for a few years but do you realise that before I came to the UK my employment required me to be a multilingual translator/interpreter at the Ignalina Nuclear Plant where a single error could cost many lives. Also I am not unqualified in UK, I received my DPSI in 2007 with distinctions.” She was, however, unspecific in which language and subject.

Nadia acknowledged that the blog posts are genuine and she had deleted them, she added “ I am entirely behind you in your efforts to improve/restore working conditions for us interpreters but unfortunately my imaginative blog is not gospel and should not be used for this.”

As for Capita’s claims that it is thoroughly checking the qualifications of the people it sends to interpret in court, we know that they recently booked Nadia to work for them. Nadia has no recognised qualifications to work as a Lithuanian interpreter.

(The English text in quotes taken from the blog was translated from Russian by a group of professional Russian translators. The full articles were translated but were too long to include here;  they may be made available to interested parties on request.)

Comments (7)

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  • Indigo
    And it is very easy to wrap ALS around one's finger with qualifications. (Not sure whether it is still the case, but was a year ago for sure). Their legal team had never had the sight of a genuine Met Police Certificate. A 7 year old printout of a Met Police test result with a few components failed would do the job in convincing them that the test is PASSED. They either can't or won't tell the difference. And they dont know that even the passed components of Met Police test become invalid after passage of three years' time if the failed ones have not been retaken. Sad... And it is true that all the additional languages they assign their interpreters to do not require any proof of interpreting expertise in them. One can simply supply a 20 year old letter in gibberish attesting some competence in understanding a second language and be allowed to add it to profile, accept bookings and try how it goes in courts.
  • Indigo
    After recent qualifications auditing ALS team kept their unqualified interpreters but on a lower tier, i e 2 or 3. I dont want to come across as sarcastic, but one day after all the mistakes are made, their unqualified interpreters would become OK. Isnt it so? It is just a matter of practice, right?!

    I could not really believe that the above mentioned Nadia has ever confessed in her blog to being UNQUALIFIED. In my experience unqualified interpreters simply wont admit to it. As they wont admit to dodging tax or having no right to live and/or work in the UK.
  • Indigo
    It is TRUE and still the case that some of the ALS interpreters are UNQUALIFIED. For rare languages like Turkish, for instance, are in high demand. There is a shortage of Turk interpreters willing to attend tribunals, for example. Because the pay is crap, excuse me for my French. And it is true that haggling a handsome travel deal (time and expense) IS A MUST. Only a lazy fool would miss a chance to take advantage of the current situation. When ALS are desperate they ll pay anything. And this is a fact. It is only a hearsay, but there were rumours that one Turkish NRPSI who recently joined ALS secured himself a £700 deal for travel (tkts and time) for a day's trial in Manchester coming from London. Most of Turks do not have any UK qualifications relating to interpreting, let alone DPSI in law. But that is kinda irrelevant to ALS.
  • Yelena
    And this Capita interpreter is back in courts! A serious case tomorrow at Ipswich Crown Court:

    T20127221 ERMIDYS Pandelys
    FRANCIS Steven
    KPI 20.3.13 TW 4.2.13-22.3.13 & Bail App for all defts,Interp Nadia Tabler ALS
  • Yelena
    Dear roysad,

    How can a blog be totally private when it was in the public domain until 25th October 2012 when Nadia by her own admission in another open blog article said she got totally shocked and had to hide her posts? She published her blog for people to read, you didn't need to have a LiveJournal account, her blog was linked to her Twitter account and her Twitter account had nearly 2,000 followers. Great publicity! Were any of the followers her clients by any chance until she deleted the account, again - a few days ago?

    Where does the Code of Conduct come into place here? What on earth was Nadia thinking when she published this stuff for all the world to see? Thankfully it has seen it...
  • roysad
    Very clever Nigel Payne,quoting only what suits you eg :-
    Ommited "if you care to look at the dates you will see that for my first couple of jobs only, yes" I felt rusty in my ......"Just 1 example of how you, and others, have mis-quoted out of context from a blog that was thought to be totally private but has apparently been hacked.
    How about her reply to your emailed query about family days out ? no mention of her schizophenic son who could not be left unattended !!!. It's recorded in your email reply to her.
    I also suspect the 'Qualified Interpreter' who translated her private blogs had no real native understanding of the Russian language in respect of basic sarcastic humour.
    Regarding her train journeys, have you ever read ALS terms & conditions ? They clearly stated would only pay travelling expenses for car travel. After her initial acceptance of this ruling, which did give her an 'apparent profit' to travel by train she negotiated with ALS to pay train costs if appropriate.
  • Yelena
    I was reading the written evidence submitted to the Justice Select Committee yesterday and she is mentioned there too, with even more quotes: (CI27)