Language rights in danger

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This chapter provides a discussion of communication problems that arise in a multilingual legal context. We analyse witness interview reports and interviews from both the UK and the US in order to assess the difficulties that non-English speakers can face in an English-speaking justice system. The problems encountered indicate the need for the provision of adequate language support and improved professional training that will focus on particularly problematic lexical and grammatical contrasts for translation. We argue that people’s language rights can be endangered as a result of the difficulties we discoverd, even for speakers of a major language (such as Spanish). We conclude that for the purpose of equality in access to justice these problems need to be addressed by both scientific and professional communities involved.


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