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Departmental Translation Services

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much was spent on translation services for people in the UK who do not speak English by his Department, associated agencies and non-departmental public bodies in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06, (d) 2006-07 and (e) in 2007-08 to date; (187999)

(2) what documents his Department, associated agencies and non-departmental public bodies translate for people in the UK who do not speak English.

The Ministry of Defence holds records of translation work that was centrally contracted out for UK based customers during 2003-04 and 2004-5. However, the records do not specify whether the ultimate customers for the translations were non-English speakers. The following figures represent the costs during 2003-04 and 2004-05 of translation work centrally contracted out by the Ministry of Defence Language Service:

2003-04: £10,812

2004-05: £3,764

These costs are for translations for solely UK-based customers into Welsh, Nepali, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Gujarati. The documents translated consisted of a wide variety of general correspondence, official publications, courts-martial transcriptions, website content and promissory notes.

Since 2005, responsibility for the commissioning of external language services has been devolved across the Department. Equivalent information for the latter years therefore is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.