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Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication WHAT DO JUDGES NEED TO.

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Presentation on theme: "Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication WHAT DO JUDGES NEED TO."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication WHAT DO JUDGES NEED TO LEARN ABOUT THE PREMISES OF COURT INTERPRETING? 1

2 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication The aim of the project was to investigate Danish judges’ expectations towards court interpreters and lived experiences with practicing court interpreters. A questionnaire was sent to 350 Danish judges working at the 24 Danish district courts (byretter) and 2 high courts (landsretter). In total, 170 judges filled in the online-questionnaire (a response rate of 48.6 %). 2

3 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication 1. Incorrect and inadequate interpreting 2. Off-record dialogues 3. Poor language skills 4. Interpreters who don’t observe impartiality 5. Role confusion 6. Interpreters who don’t possess the necessary knowlege or educational background 7. Use of indirect forms of address 8. Quality 9. Formal requirements 3

4 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication ”The Danish court Administration agrees with the conclusions of the research report of the researchers [Christensen and Martinsen, red.] that there is a need for more and better trained interpreters in a number of languages. The greatest barrier to good courtroom interpreting is a shortage of qualified interpreters. This means that the courts are sometimes forced to rely on the service of people who do not possess the necessary qualifications to act as interpreters. The Administration also agrees with the researchers, that the Administration needs to look into whether it is possible to prepare judges better for the use of court interpreters. Therefore, as from autumn 2012, the Administration will start educating judges in the use of courtroom interpreting services”. (Danish Ministry of Justice16 April 2012, my translation) 4

5 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication The aim of this paper is to present conclusions drawn from the online- survey and to discuss the possible implications for judicial training and education. 5

6 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication According to the Danish National Police, by 11 November 2011 there were 1,984 active interpreters registered in the official interpreter list managed by the Danish National Police, covering approx.140 languages/dialects. Of the interpreters working at the courts, 80% do not have any interpreting qualification. In May 2011, the number of state-authorised translators and interpreters (beholders of an MA in interpreting and trans- lation) was as follows: English (173), German (54), French (41), Spanish (27), Italian (9), Turkish (5), Russian (4), Polish (4), Portuguese (2), Norwegian (2), Arabic (1), Finnish (1), Flemish (1), Greek (1), Dutch (1), Icelandic (1), Romanian (1) and Slovakian (1).. 6

7 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication ”The goal of the interpreter is to facilitate communication between parties in court who do not share a common language so that this communication is as smooth as it would be if the parties did have a common language. Successful interpreting is achieved when the ongoing interaction in court takes place (almost) as if no interpreter was present”. (Danish Court Administration 2003: 1; my translation) 7

8 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication The Danish court interpreter shall relay the content of the source text faithfully, i.e. without changing, omitting or adding anything to the source message, observe impartiality, if possible copy the style of the minority- language speaker, ask for repetition, if he/she believes that he/she did not catch everything said correctly, 8

9 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication ask for clarification, if there is something he/she did not understand, inform the court about possible misunderstandings, inform the court if cultural factors or implications seem to influence the communication, prepare him- or herself for the assignment, e.g. by means of research on relevant terminology, 9

10 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication choose an adequate mode of interpreting, and use direct speech (first and second person singular). The Danish court interpreter shall not provide interpreting for family members and make statements about the case. 10

11 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication Workplace: district court 82.8 % high court 17.2 % Gender: Female 55.9 % Male 44.1 % Age: average 48.2 years Number of years employed as a judge : average 13.2 years 11

12 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication Interpreting experience: In 2009, the judges, on average, had participated in interpreter-mediated court proceedings 12.5 times, however, with an individual range between 0 and 100 Knowledge of the guidelines: 50.3 % did not know theguidelines Preferred form of address: 79.6 % direct speech 13.4 % direct and indirect speech 1.9 % indirect speech 1.9 % do not address the minority-language speaker 3.2 % were unable to answer the question 12

13 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication The use of indirect forms of address face interpreters with a moral dilemma:  To be faithful to the original utterance and interpret the user’s utterance in the same person (e.g. ”where was he last night?”), even though the interpreter knows it was addressed to him/her?  To simply relay the question to the minority- language speaker in his/her own words, thereby adopting direct speech? 13

14 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication □□□□□ 1: The interpreter should relay the content of the original utterance without changing, omitting or adding anything. 5: The interpreter is allowed to make reductions as long as the interpreter is being faithful to the meaning of the original utterance

15 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication15 “It is problematic when the interpreter is not aware that he or she simply has to interpret what is being said – not the interpreter’s understanding of it.” ”Many interpreters are good, but there are also many interpreters, who don’t seem to know that they – roughly speaking – are supposed to act as a ”translation machine” (which is, however, able to deal with linguistic nuances)”.

16 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication An interpreter provides a faithful rendition, if the rendition maintains not only the semantic meaning of the utterance, but also the intention behind it, the style of the utterance and its intended effect. This is typically referred to as a pragmatic translation. In order to maintain the pragmatic meaning of an original utterance, the interpreter might need to make decisions between alternatives, that is, to make choices, and - if necessary - changes. 16

17 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication17

18 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication In court, language is used to achieve specific purposes, e.g. to elicit information or to test the credibility, trust- worthiness and intelligence of the defendant/witness. People are judged not only on what they say, but how they say it. Research (Hale 2008) shows that interpreters rather than replicating the speech style of the speaker, use their own style, because they fear that if they maintain incoherent speech, incomplete sentences or hesitation markers, they are the ones who will be judged as incompetent. 18

19 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication19 “E.g. Arabic/Kurdish and Somali interpreters. Sometimes I have the suspicion that the interpreter does not simply translate questions and answers, but tries to produce meaningful and coherent renditions. However, if the utterance of one of the primary participants is rubbish, I still want the interpreter to interpret the nonsense in order for me to be able to take my own position on the statement. I want to be the one who gives the explanations needed and further instructions, which are then translated by the interpreter”.

20 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication YesNo Ask for clarification87.6 %12.4 % Ask for repetition100 %0 % On their own initiative explain things to the minority-language speaker 37.3 %62.7 % Inform the court of misunderstandings97.4 %2.6 % 20

21 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication21 “ Typically, the interpreter explains something and argues on behalf of the accused/suspect or discusses the answer before it is interpreted into Danish”. “Untrained interpreter (Somalian) who, without any doubt, identified himself with the accused person and obviously discussed with the accused how to best answer the questions”.

22 Tina Paulsen Christensen TRAFUT, Antwerp 2012 Aarhus University Business and Social Sciences Department of Business Communication Judges need to learn that: Meaning is dynamic and must be negotiated through interaction faithfulness is a shared responsibility! 22 Defendant, law, court, judge, sen- tence, conviction, witness, teste- mony, appeal, pleading, accu- sation ……


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