Interpreters in Sweden for asylum seekers and other migrants have been accused of major misconduct with one interpreter telling an asylum seeker not to “smear Islam.”
Interpreters in Sweden fall into two categories, those with official government authorization and those without, but that authorisation can be stripped in cases of abuse or misconduct as faulty interpretations can greatly affect asylum claims, trials, and other cases.
According to a report from Swedish television broadcaster SVT, there are high standards to strip the authorization of an interpreter and those that have had their authorization stripped were accused of serious misconduct such as engaging in multiple scams. In one case uncovered by the broadaster, a translator is said to have told off the migrant he was supposed to be translating for after the individual had spoke critically of Islam.
The broadcaster notes that as many as four out of five complaints made against interpreters are usually ignored totally and written off, while those who have their authorization removed are still able to work as interpreters. Some unauthorised interpreters have even received jobs from the Swedish state.
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Magnus Bengtsson, an employee at the Swedish Migration Board, had previously admitted to the SVT that while the migration board prefers authorized interpreters, particularly for important cases, it also employed unauthorised interpreters as well due to high overall demand.
After reviewing cases in which interpreters had been reported for misconduct, the broadcaster found one case in which an interpreter was accused of engaging in 47 fraud scams, another where an interpreter ruined a trial of a person accused of murdering a child, causing a mistrial, and a case of an interpreter linked to an anti-semitic radical Islamist group.
A lack of interpreters following the height of the 2015 migrant crisis may have led to police in the city of Helsingborg having to release a teen who was suspected of murdering another teen because they were unable to find an interpreter in 2017.
While the bar is high for removing authorisation of most interpreters, that was not the case for one interpreter in 2016 who was suspended for criticising mass migration and claiming that Arab migrants lied in order to get asylum in the country.
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