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Departmental Translation Services

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 5 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of his Department’s translation and interpreting work is outsourced through framework agreements with commercial providers; and if he will make a statement. (189160)

Under the Race Relations Amendment Act (2000) and the Disability Discrimination Act (1995), the Department has a responsibility to make appropriate provision to communicate with customers who do not speak English or Welsh, or who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, or who provide the Department, at our request, with legal or official documents written in a foreign language.

The Department for Work and Pensions provides a national range of translation and interpreting services across all of its agencies that include, but are not limited to, the following:

Use of multi-lingual staff, who are willing and able to interpret or to undertake an interview in a foreign language

Face-to-face individual interpreters and signers for local office customers

English to Welsh translation for documentation which is partly done by the small in-house Welsh Language Unit and the remainder by external providers

Ethnic Translation Services of a large number of written documents in a wide range of languages

Written English and Welsh to Braille translation and Braille to English and Welsh translation

Formatting of printed documents into easy-read format

Telephone interpreting service (multi-lingual)

In order to deliver these services on a national basis the Department for Work and Pensions has established a number of framework agreements via full open tender processes with a number of external providers.

All of the above services are outsourced except for a small number of multi-lingual staff who offer their services on an as required basis within their local office.