27th July 2017 was an exciting date for the Transnational Organised Crime and Translation project team. After months of preparation, the draft Guidance on working with interpreters and translators and linked training materials are now ready to test. They were put into practice for the first time today by two highly experienced trainers at the Home Office in London. A group of immigration officers and seconded police officers participated in the training and generously supported the research by returning questionnaires beforehand, allowing us to observe the training live, then taking part in focus groups and interviews immediately afterwards. Their decades of experience in working with interpreters and translators in the frontline of investigating cases of human trafficking made for a rich series of discussions and detailed suggestions as to how training might enhance future practice.
We are really grateful to all the participants and above all to the two Home Office trainers whose long experience and energetic approach were invaluable.
We learned a lot today. It was great to start to ‘triangulate’ our research findings – in other words, to corroborate the evidence we’ve been gathering during interviews with dozens of interpreters over the past two months. It’s been fascinating to hear about the same challenges from the point of view of the interpreter and now the investigative interviewer.
Perhaps most exciting/nerve-wracking of all, we have secured agreement to observe real interpreted investigative interviews over the coming months. This will add a further crucial perspective – that of the suspect, victim or witness of crimes of human trafficking who relies on the interpreter or translator to communicate.
There’s still time to take part if you’d like to help make our understanding as broad as possible. If you’re an interpreter, translator or investigative interviewer working in this area in the UK, please do get in touch if you’d be willing to take part in a brief phone interview by emailing [email protected] or using the Contact form on this website.