Praise for Norfolk translation service

JON WELCH A Norfolk translation service has been hailed as a model of good practice by Hazel Blears, the secretary of state for communities and local government.

JON WELCH

A Norfolk translation service has been hailed as a model of good practice by Hazel Blears, the secretary of state for communities and local government.

INTRAN (Interpretation and Translation for Norfolk) is one of only six organisations highlighted in Ms Blears' report as taking an “innovative approach”.

The multi-agency partnership, in which Norfolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Norfolk County Council are major stakeholders, provides free and confidential services to users, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing or whose first language is not English.


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The largest interpretation and translation partnership in the UK, INTRAN received 5,500 requests for interpreting and translation services in 2006/0, up by about 1,000 on the previous year.

The Government guidance, co-commissioned by the Audit Commission and the Commission of Integration and Communities, credits INTRAN for its unified approach to providing translation (written) and interpretation (verbal) services.

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The INTRAN partnership consists of 32 agencies, including the PCT, County Council, all seven district councils, Norfolk Police, health and housing services.

Some 88 languages are spoken within the increasingly diverse Norfolk population. The county has Britain's largest population of Portuguese migrants outside of London, and has a fast-growing Eastern European population, including migrant workers from Russia, Poland and Lithuania.

Jennifer Downie, INTRAN manager for Norfolk PCT, said: “By providing a shared service for expert translation and interpretation services, running costs are reduced, the best services are commissioned, access for people can be increased and new pressures on local services are identified quickly.”

Harry Humphrey, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for human resources, finance, property and corporate affairs, said: “It gives Norfolk one of the most cost-effective interpretation and translation services in the whole country and we are part of a regional initiative looking to roll out a similar service throughout the whole of the East of England.”

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