Select Committee on Procedure First Report


Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from the Clerk of Committees

It is difficult to give an exact cost for providing for providing simultaneous translation for first-language Welsh speaking witnesses giving evidence at Westminster, but I have been able to obtain a quote which should be of some use.

For a three hour session the approximate cost would be in the order of £415. This would include translation at £45 per hour, travel time at £30 per hour and travel costs. It would be based on one translator travelling from Wales and translating from Welsh into English only. It might, I imagine, be possible to save on the travel costs by using translators based in London, but equally their charges might well be higher. There would presumably also be extra costs if it were felt necessary to provide as well for translation from English to Welsh, since I assume that an extra translator would be needed.

You also asked about the rules for simultaneous translation facilities for witnesses with little or no English giving evidence to select committees. In essence such facilities are provided where necessary where necessary; as Clerk of Committees I would expect to be informed and give my approval. Such cases are very rare. The only example I have been able to find was a recent session the European Scrutiny Committee held with the European Parliament's representatives to the IGC. The total cost of this was £825.50 plus VAT plus the interpreter's expenses of about £50.

I should be borne in mind that a large element in the cost of this example was the provision of necessary equipment. Now that some of the new committee rooms in Portcullis House have the appropriate facilities built in, future costs should be proportionately lower.

C B Winnifrith CB

13 November 2000

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