Justice CommitteeWritten evidence from Saadia Ahmad

I am a freelance qualified and experienced interpreter and translator with 13 years of experience. I have worked in the Court service for a long time.

1. I successfully applied to register with Applied Language Solutions in October 2011.

I have various Diplomas from Institute of Linguists and passed police tests as well.

2. I sat all their oral and written tests in October, December and in January 2012 but to this day they have not checked my assessments and they have not given me my results. In spite of repeated written requests they have not replied to my requests. The fact is they never had these assessments checked.

Therefore all the other interpreter’s assessments have not been checked either. So the new interpreters/or the people who recently registered with ALS but do not have interpreting qualifications are being sent to courts without any assessments and not knowing who has passed and who has not.

This is a deception for the Criminal Court system. This is also breach of their contract in which they said that only qualified interpreters will be sent to courts:

(a)The new interpreters do not have any qualifications.

(b)Even if they sat the tests the tests have not been checked.

(c)I have been charged £120 for tests but tests not marked.

3. In the recent case of an interpreter Mubarak Lone sent to court at Winchester where the trial was halted, it was not the interpreters fault that he attended court as he believed that he had sat the tests so he is qualified that is why he was on their list.

4. There is no fair system of vetting or CRB checks. Some interpreters are being scrutinized beyond CRB (Criminal bureau Checks) and most interpreters do not have any vetting at all.

5. When I went for assessments they asked me to fill in vetting forms. To this day they have not provided me with my vetting results in spite of repeated requests. I have made these requests under the Freedom of Information Act but still not received any reply.

6. They treat interpreters as worthless commodities. They are rude. When we, the interpreters ask for information they don’t reply to us. They don’t reply to our phone calls, e mails.

If we ask them more than once they threaten us with police action .Interpreters have no rights with this company .there are no rules or fair procedures. When we complain about something they don’t respond to any of our complains. They tell the court that an interpreter has been sent but actually they have not found any interpreter for that job so no one has actually been asked .

7. This contract has been obtained by lying and they keep covering up their lies by not providing information to interpreters.

8. The accounting system is flawed. Once we finish a job the system does not let us close the job for 24 hours and when we do close the job it gives us EXTRA money for the 24 hours although we have not worked for those hours. If interpreters are not honest they can accept that payment without raising the enquiry.

9. They have control to our jobs details they can change as they like. There is no fair, honest invoicing system which will lead to losses to the Public and Ministry of Justice.

10. There is no system what so ever. Left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. What ever they tell to interpreters turns out to be a lie. Then they say that the last person who told you something has left the Company so we are not responsible. No matter who is working for the company is responsible for their actions, i.e. the actions of their employees.

11. They tell lies after lies.

I wish to attend the enquiry in person so I can bring proofs with me.

August 2012

Prepared 5th February 2013