AN exodus of expert staff from the police translation services unit to higher paying government jobs has prompted an internal review. The unit's staff of more than 500 is responsible for translating legal documents and acting as interpreters in interviews. Chief police interpreter Victor Wong Sing-lee admitted yesterday that the unit had experienced problems in recent years with lower ranking interpreters leaving the police force to take up jobs in other government departments where they received pay risesof up to 30 per cent. ''Government jobs don't usually have the shift work that is associated with working for the police force,'' Mr Wong said. ''Promotion prospects are not so good in the police, because there are only four ranks for interpreters and it takes a long time to get ahead.'' In the first nine months of this year, 42 recruits left the unit for jobs which were mostly in the Government. Most recruits to the translation services unit have undertaken some form of tertiary study but are paid on a scale that acknowledges them as only having completed high school. On this scale they receive $10,295 a month in the police force but in other government departments can earn about $15,000 a month. Most of them take up jobs as Chinese language officers or court interpreters. Some leave to work in the private sector. Mr Wong said the review of wages and work conditions, which was expected to be lodged with the chiefs of staff by the end of the year, was being carried out in an effort to retain talent. ''We need to make it more attractive for these people to stay with the police force, and we will be doing that by recommending a system which would offer more incentives in terms of promotion prospects.'' He said that in the short term no more money was likely to be available to entice people to stay in the force. ''Our review is the first step in improvements which will hopefully result in better pay, but our immediate goal is to improve the grading structure.'' The recommendations of the review are expected to be introduced by early next year.