THE boss of a translation company from Tyneside has set an ambitious target to create 150 jobs – but fears changes to the Government’s policies on learning English may get in the way.
Interpreting Translation Line (ITL), based in Gateshead, plans to double its staff of 150 interpreters over the next five years following the recent opening of offices in Glasgow and Manchester.
However, ITL’s founder and managing director Grace Tia Bon Bon fears the government will begin cutting back on contracts with third party translators as it attempts to promote spoken English among UK immigrants.
She said: “I agree that people coming into this country should be able to speak English. However, there is always going to be a need for translators in technical areas such as in court and in hospitals.
“This is a complicated subject, but we have to ensure mistakes are not made in these areas due to communication difficulties. We have ambitious plans to grow and want to make sure equal rights and fairness are protected.”
Despite her concerns, Grace believes that a number of recent contracts, those with Durham County Council and Sure Start Northumberland’s Children’s Information Services (CIS) will help the business strengthen its position.
Gillian Lavery CIS Coordinator at Sure Start Northumberland, said: “There are people living in Northumberland who haven’t got English as a first language. This can act as a real barrier to their efforts to integrate and also hampers their ability to access important services.
“We see our Service Level Agreement with ITL as a major step towards helping those families make the most of the opportunities available to them.”
ITL provides an interpretation service both face-to-face and over the telephone, and has extensive experience in translating advertising literature, brochures and company documents.
As well as its own employees, the business has access to 5,000 self-employed translators in the region, fluent in 83 languages and has provided its services to a number of sectors in the North-East including schools, police forces and doctors surgeries.
Grace left Japan to pursue a career as a language teacher at Newcastle University in the early 1980s before being called on by Business Link North-East to provide translation services to Nissan following the car manufacturer’s arrival in Sunderland in 1984.
She then set up ITL in 1986 after realising the potential of translation in the North-East following the arrival of other Asian businesses to the region.