Interpreters co-operative set to break language barriers

The UK's first co-operative of interpreters aims to break language barriers in an ethical way.

The UK's first co-operative of interpreters aims to break language barriers in an ethical way.

London-based RICOL has been established as a co-operative by a group of three experienced interpreters with support from the Co-operative Enterprise Hub. 

Anca Ionescu, Project Manager at RICOL, said the co-op provides high quality services at fair rates for both clients and linguists. She explained why they decided to set up the organisation: “We thought we would do something for ourselves. Together with some colleagues of mine we decided to take this route and started to enquire about how to set up a co-operative. The Enterprise Hub offered us amazing support and guided us on every step."

They also contacted a co-operative of interpreters in Madison, USA to find out more about the model and how it worked in this sector. The  structure enables them to work collaboratively and at the same time have a say in how the enterprise is run.

“Co-operative principles lie at the heart of what we do. Good communication saves time and money and fosters effective working relationships. Co-operatives are also more ethical. Everybody can be satisfied on the level of quality and fairness,” said Ms Ionescu.

Although they have been operational for only a couple of months, the three members of RICOL have big plans for the future. They have a large list of associates who have registered through the website and after probationary period they will be able to become members of the co-op. 

“We received very good feedback and are feeling really enthusiastic about it. We had a fantastic response from linguists from all over the world.” 

The co-op is offering various services such as interpreting, proofreading and translation, editing, transcription, voice over and subtitling. They are also offering language training for both private and corporate clients. 

Ms Ionescu, who also took part in last year's Co-operatives United, said that by attending the event she managed to make new contacts and find out more about co-operatives from all over the world. “The conference was fantastic, I came out with a lot of hope and the whole atmosphere was extremely positive,” she said, adding that RICOL is keen on working with other co-operatives.

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