Which possibilities for funding interpreters do exist?
There are possibilities for funding interpreters through public subsidies, namely through funding and support programs by federal states and municipalities as well as state shares in funds for women’s shelters and expert counsel-ling centres. However, such arrangements are not available in all federal states and not in all women’s shelters and counselling centres.
The quality of interpretations, the access to funding possibilities, and the accounting procedures may vary considerably from region to region and from case to case.
For an initial consultation of a women affected by violence or in order to determine which language she speaks, the nationwide hotline “Violence Against Women” can be contacted (see the info sheet of the hotline “Violence Against Women”: Multilingual counselling upon request by a support organisation: https://www.hilfetelefon.de/fileadmin/content/Materialien/Infoblaetter/Hilfetelefon_Gewalt_gegen_Frauen_Infoblatt_Unterstuetzungseinrichtungen_barrierefrei617.pdf)
The following list makes no claims as to the quality of interpretation, the access to funding possibilities, or the accounting procedure.
Fee-based, supraregional interpretation services:
- “LingaTel”, phone-base interpretation service:
- “Videodolmetschen”, video- and phone-based interpretation service:
As yet there is no consistent nationwide arrangement regarding the funding of inter-pretation services. In practice, this leads to a dramatic shortage of professional translations.
As a result, it is often children or non-profes-sional supporters recruited from a wider social context who take care of translations.
It is likewise problematic that, in many loca-tions, public subsidies are not made available for professional interpreters but only for lan-guage mediation. This way the professional standards that are necessary when it comes to a sensitive subject such as violence cannot be ensured.
Moreover, poorly paid team members with the necessary language skills are often additionally hired (for example, as marginal employees on a 400€ basis) or deployed as interpreters in such a way that goes beyond their actual responsi-bilities. In refugee shelters, this task is fre-quently carried out by security guards, so that there is a mixing up of professional roles, which also constitutes a breach of the requirement of neutrality on the side of the interpreter.
Also, interpretation services are often only available for larger language groups (e.g. Arabic or Russian), while interpreters for other lan-guages are hard to find.
Expert counselling centres and women’s shelters have for a long time requested from federal, state and local authorities that ade-quate funding for interpretation services shall be made available in all federal states through-out Germany.