1887
Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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Abstract

The question of accuracy of interpretation of foreign language court testimonies is one of utmost importance to the court, to the witness and to the interpreter. The adversarial system uses language as its main weapon in the metaphorical battle, and cases are based on the oral evidence of their witnesses. When witnesses do not speak English, the sole responsibility of making that witness understood to the court rests with the interpreter. In the adversarial system, content of testimony is not the only important issue; delivery, style, register are just as important. This is why the idea of ‘literal’ translation has been the preferred option to the legal profession. However, literal translation does not ensure accuracy of interpretation. This paper aims to emphasise that interpreting accurately means interpreting pragmatically. It points out that although different languages may have semantic or literal equivalents, such equivalents may not have the same connotations or may not be appropriate in the same contexts. Interpreting pragmatically means interpreting in a way that the same intention and the same force of the Source Language (SL) utterance is conveyed in the Target Language (TL) utterance, so that the same reaction is achieved in the listeners of both languages. The paper draws on examples from authentic data taken from interpreted proceedings to illustrate the argument.

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1996-01-01
2019-11-17
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