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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Cost of interpreters in Irish courts tops €20,000 a week

Stock picture: Getty
Stock picture: Getty

Mark O'Regan

Yoruba, Lingala, Tagalog, and Bengali are among the exotic languages which have pushed the cost of interpreters in the Irish courts to more than €20,000 a week.

Interpretation services cover hundreds of languages and dialects, with linguistic expertise required to interpret sworn testimony by defendants and witnesses. They must also interpret legal submissions and judges' rulings.

These services are across the civil and criminal system and cover the District, Circuit, High and Supreme Courts.

Now the latest records obtained by the Sunday Independent show that the Courts Service spent a total of €1,048,328 on interpreting services in 2016.

In 2015, the figure stood at €952,083, while in 2014 the bill came to just over €1m.

In total, more than €5.6m has been allocated to this area in the past five years.

Yoruba is spoken by the Yoruba people who live in south-west Nigeria and southern Benin and total around 35 million.

Lingala is a Bantu language spoken throughout the north-western part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Tagalog is spoken by millions in the Philippines.

Other languages interpreted in the courts include Zulu, Yue Chinese, Vietnamese, Uzbek, Urdu, Thai, Tamil, Somali, Pashto, Punjabi, Nyanja and Moroccan Arabic.

Sunday Independent

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