The Association of Translation Companies (ATC) has issued a press release in response to the worrying trend of sacrificing quality to drive down costs of language services.


The Association of Translation Companies (ATC), the professional body representing language service providers in the UK, has promised to continue working closely with Government to safeguard standards in the provision of public sector interpreting and translation services.

The ATC made its pledge following recent media allegations concerning the delivery of a contract, said to be worth around £60 million, awarded to one of the Association’s members by the Ministry of Justice.  The contract went live on 1st February.

Many frontline public services such as the police, courts and health services use significant numbers of face-to-face interpreters to assist people in need whose native tongue is not English.  With recent turbulent international events such as the unrest in the Middle East, demand for such services may increase in the UK placing further pressure on the public sector purse.

Commenting, ATC Chairman Roy Allkin said: “The ATC recognises that the Government needs to reduce costs and present good value for money at this difficult time, but at the same time we must warn against any dilution in the quality of language service delivery.

“We worked very closely with the Ministry of Justice to help develop the quality criteria to be used in the framework agreement, so we take very seriously any allegations that these may not have been met, although with such a complex contract some initial teething problems may have been anticipated.

“Given that there is always going to be a tension between the desire to contain costs and achieving the highest standards, the Association is passionate that quality should never be compromised.

“We will be approaching the Government to discuss how we might take the quality and value for money agenda further across the public sector – not just the Justice system.

“All members of the Association have to comply with rigorous quality checks before they are admitted, and they must commit to operating their business in compliance with our strict code of professional conduct.  At present we have received no complaints that there has been a breach by one of our members.”


The Association of Translation Companies is the world’s longest established professional body representing the interests of language service providers in the company sector.