Complex collaborations: Interpreting and translating for the UK police

Joanna Drugan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Interpreting and translation are increasingly provided in the public sector via large-scale outsourced framework contracts (Moorkens 2017). In the UK, one of the largest recent framework agreements for interpreting and translation was introduced between 2016 and 2017 in critical contexts for justice, including the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and the police. These agreements involve new types of collaboration between new partners and agents in the delivery of interpreting and translation, who each have different aims, expectations, standards and working methods. This contribution examines these emerging complex collaborations, and is the result of a rare type of complex collaboration between academic researchers, frame- work contract-holders and managers, interpreters and translators, language service providers, professional associations, and users of translation and interpreting services, within the Transnational Organised Crime and Translation (TOCAT) project.
The article reports on original research conducted during the TOCAT project, and outlines and evaluates some novel, complex and ethically challenging ‘translaborations’ in police settings. The collaborations discussed are complex because of the range of parties and actors involved and because of the challenging content and settings in which the police rely on interpret- ing and translation. ‘Translaboration’ is used here to encompass multiple evolving collaborations between different providers and users of interpret- ing and translation, policy makers, trainers and researchers. Important questions of translation quality and ethics in the management of large-scale framework contexts for public service delivery are raised.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • modern slavery
  • outsourced language services
  • public sector interpreting and translation (PSIT)
  • policing
  • translation and interpreting ethics
  • transnational organised crime

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