The proposed interpretation centre for minority languages will not require interpreters to be professionally qualified, the government says. This triggered concerns yesterday by ethnic minority rights groups, which suggested a higher standard should be set for the service. At a briefing session, officials from the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau explained to non-profit groups its plan to subsidise the establishment of four ethnic-minority service centres, which included one centralised interpretation centre. Under the proposal, interpreters are required to be fluent in one of the seven target minority languages, proficient in English or Chinese, and have an education level of secondary five or equivalent. 'We are primarily targeting telephone interpretation and simple sight interpretation. We will not require interpreters at the centre to read job applications or other important letters for users, because this is out of our service area,' Hubert Law Hin-cheung, principal assistant secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, said. He stressed that the centre aimed at helping ethnic minorities solve language difficulties in 'day-to-day' situations, adding that establishments such as hospitals and police stations had their own designated interpreters for jobs that required knowledge in the specific fields. But concern groups expressed doubt. 'The quality of interpreters is very important. When problems arise as a result of the interpretation, how will the bureau handle them?' Poon Wing-lok, social services department manager of Christian Action, asked. Arthur Ho Kin-wah, deputy secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, said a lower standard had been set because of an anticipated difficulty in recruitment, but the bureau would consider ways to train professional interpreters in the long term. There had been suggestions that interpreters could be hired from outside Hong Kong, but the bureau considered that the candidates should understand local society.