Denan Translations
Denan Translation Services | News Details
In the mind of a court interpreter
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
“A professional / good court interpreter should not need to read the documents of the case to be able to translate during the hearing”. Would you not think so? Well, this is one of the most wide-spread myths around the profession of a court interpreter.

The possible combinations of diverse features of the people who will be present in the court room during the hearing, with respect to their personalities, school or social education or even ethics, are endless. Having this in mind, let us assume we agree on the following statements and take them as starting points:
  1. The legal profession is a form of science; it has its own specialized connotations, wordings and word usages that build the attorneys’ daily life, yet are (probably even completely) unknown to persons coming from different backgrounds.
  2. It is imperative for all involved parties that they comprehend the essence of what a defendant or a witness is saying.
The interpreter will be somewhere in the middle and his effort will focus on this position he holds. Legal terminology used by attorneys when they communicate with each other is transferred to the audience in a language they can understand while – naturally – the meaning remains unchanged.

Is it not more often than not the case, that the interpreter is required to read an Exhibit and translate it verbally (the so called “sight translation”)? Is it not common, that the parties decide to agree on the usage of predetermined, specific terms? Even though court interpreters are trained accordingly and are familiar with the general object of a trial and with legal terminology, having access to material that is relevant to the specific case prior to the date of appearance before Court, can only lead to a positive outcome: it ensures the consistent use of correct terms, and it makes it clear that the interpreter is a member of your team.

Even if the transmission of confidential information is something that worries you, it is important that you know that both confidentiality and respect of personal information are top-priority values of any professional court interpreter. If, however, you would feel more secure think about committing your interpreter by asking him to sign a confidentiality agreement. Besides, even if such cooperation comes up only once, on that particular day, you are partners!


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101Α, Ag. Omologiton Avenue,
1080 Nicosia, Cyprus


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