Prisoners Abroad works with detainees in over 90 countries, of which only a handful use English as their official language. This means that in the majority of cases we work on, people face being tried in a language they don’t understand, often with lawyers who speak no English, and with little or no access to competent interpreters. In some cases, people have reported being asked to sign documents with no translation whatsoever, which is a great cause of concern.

Prisoners Abroad is extremely fortunate to have a team of nearly a hundred volunteer professional translators on our books, covering over twenty different languages, who give up their time and expertise to help our clients understand key documents that could potentially make all the difference. Let’s hear from Masako about her experiences of being one of our amazing volunteer translators:

In the very first case I got involved with, my task was to translate a transcript of a witness giving evidence in court, so that the client could check the witness's statements for accuracy.  Some eight months later and just before Christmas, I received a heart-warming email from the caseworker to tell me that this woman had been acquitted unconditionally, much to the delight of her family, and to the surprise of her lawyers, who said that  for an appeal to succeed in Japan - where the conviction rate is close to 100% - was unprecedented.

I feel privileged to have been able to play a small part in proving the woman's innocence in this case.  Everyone I have dealt with at Prisoners Abroad is always very appreciative, which is why – after all this time - I am still on their book of volunteers.

Another volunteer, Yosuke, who worked on the same case said:

It was a pleasure to work with your organization knowing that I can help someone for a good cause, in my own little way. 

When the email came through to say that the person had been acquitted in the Japanese courts - that was terrific news!

Read what else we've been getting up to in May to celebrate our volunteers

Thank you so much to our volunteers!