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Translation And Interpreting Services

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's expenditure on (a) translation and (b) interpreting services was in 2002; and how many companies were asked to tender for such work. [103535]

The FCO runs an in-house translation and interpreting service to meet the high level needs of the FCO, No. 10 and other Government Departments. It comprises a small number of in-house translators exercising quality control who supervise a large pool of experienced and trusted on-call translators and interpreters. For security reasons, this unit does not invite tenders for work in the open market. However, the pool translators and interpreters are self-employed, many operating as sole trader companies. Entry to the in-house team is via open competition, advertised periodically.The expenditure through the in-house service in 2002 was:

  • translation—£497,311
  • interpreting—£258,456

Internal departments in the FCO and missions overseas are free to purchase all or any of their translation and interpreting requirements either from the in-house service or in the wider external market. No separate information is available regarding the expenditure on such services not purchased through the in-house service.