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Multilingual courtroom: Changing practices of Interpreter/interpreter user Ludmila Stern, UNSW interaction in international criminal courts
Background Ongoing project Interpreting in War Crimes Trials. From the Nuremberg Tribunal to the International Criminal Court (2000 – ongoing) International courts and tribunals dealing with war crimes and major crimes against humanity Interpreting system contrasting with that of domestic courts
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia 1993 UN Resolution, operates since 1994
International Criminal Court 1998 Rome Statute, operates since 2004
Special Tribunal for Lebanon 2007 UN Resolution and Lebanese government, operates since 2009
International v domestic courts interpreting model • • • Legacy of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (Gaiba 1998, memoir literature): simultaneous interpreting in booths rigorous selection criteria, testing and (desirable) preemployment education/training in-house training in SI infrastructure to support professional working conditions: briefing, preparation, team work quality control (eg, early error identification, role of transcript) contribution of interpreter users (lawyers and judges) to interpreting quality
Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (1945 -46)
Interpretation users • General satisfaction with interpretation and praise by regular interpreter users (judges and counsel) • More recent challenges of accuracy (‘requests for verification’) and occasional interpreter ‘scapegoating’ by transitory users (eg. , accused) • Language services building on previous experience: Nuremberg -> ICTY -> ICC -> STL • Adjusting and fine tuning practices to the courts’ needs
Interpreting challenges Achieving high level of completeness and accuracy required by the court in a fast-moving regulated environment Obstacles: high speed of delivery, overlapping speakers, technical problems, errors with document provision and references How can users contribute to the interpreting quality (completeness and accuracy) and effectiveness of interpreted communication?
Interpreter users Acknowledge the need for changes in their interaction with interpreters Acknowledgement the significance of interpreter users’ input Changes Increased interpreter visibility in court New tactics adopted by counsel and judges
Towards greater interpreter visibility • Understanding that interpreters may need to manage interpreting situation through interventions and interruptions • Situation management and repair tactics by interpreters: requests for repetition, speed reduction, documents provision, self-correction • Application of accommodating tactics (pre-emptive and repair) by users: pace control, overlap avoidance, pausing, referring to document • Benefits arising from explanations given to witnesses, use of Live. Note
Situation management and repair mechanisms available to interpreters ICTY Code of Ethics on interpreter interventions: • inform the court of any doubts arising from possible lexical lacunae (Article 6 Reliability (2)) • informing listeners promptly about ‘technical hindrances such as poor quality sound or illegible photocopies’ (Article 9 Competence (1 c)) • acknowledge and rectify promptly any mistakes of interpretation (Article 10 Accuracy (2 a)) • ask for repetition, rephrasing or explanation if anything is unclear (Article 10 Accuracy (2 b))
Practice Interpreters’ meta-language: – Interventions, additions during hearing: ‘Interpreter’s note’, ‘Interpreter’s correction’. – Interpreters comments on the interpretation in the microphone made ‘for the record’ (eg, ‘interpreter omitted a segment or sentence’). – Requests for repetitions or improvement of delivery Users (judges, counsel) support interpreters’ requests and follow them through – crucial role of the Presiding judge
Ex 1 THE INTERPRETER: The witness is kindly asked to approach the 7 microphone as it is hard to hear him. 8 JUDGE XX: Mr. YY, could you come a bit closer to the 9 microphone. The interpreters have difficulties hearing you. Perhaps 10 move it up. Yes.
Ex 2 8 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness please repeat his answer. 9 JUDGE XX: Could you please repeat your answer, and could you 10 make a small pause between question and answer.
Ex 3 12 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We didn't hear the 13 witness's answer because of the overlapping. 14 JUDGE XX: One second. The interpreters draw our attention to 15 the fact that they did not hear the witness's answer and then you started 16 already your next question. 17 Is that the last portion of the answer which we see on the 18 transcript? After where the witness said that he was simply a refugee, 19 or is it already the answer to the next question? 20 THE INTERPRETER: The answer to the next question. 21 JUDGE XX: Yes. 22 Could you please repeat your answer to the question …
Other support tactics : provision of documents and references when quoting Ex 1 Judge enquires if interpreting booths have been provided with the text of the Prosecutor’ s written summary statement. Judge gives instructions to provide it to the booths. Ex 2 Lawyer indicates document and page numbers in both English and another working language versions of the document for the benefit of the witness (intended for the witness, however benefits interpreters)
Live Note transcript as a mechanism of instant or early error detection and quality control • early error detection and self-correction by interpreter or fellow -interpreter • post-hearing corrections through existing mechanisms (ie, the Head of Interpretation requests the court reporters to insert corrections into the transcript), changes communicated to parties.
ICC – building on ICTY experience NT/ICTY interpreting model: – SI in booths, team work, turn taking – Selection, testing and in-house training of interpreters in ‘situation’ languages – Preparation and briefing of interpreters – Interpretation quality monitoring and safety nets
New challenges – interpretation in ‘situation’ languages Different ‘situation’ languages in each case (‘situation’): – – – Swahili (incl. Congo Swahili) Acholi (Uganda) Lingala (DRC) Sango (CAR) Zagawa (Darfur) Logistical challenges in locating potential interpreters, pretesting, testing and recruiting interpreters , .
New challenges (cont) • Culturally and linguistically distant languages, lack of conceptual and lexical equivalents (eg, legal in TL) • Need to coin new terms, eg. , legal and courtroom phraseology • TL output longer than in SL through the introduction of new terms and concept explicitation. • TL output longer than SL through speech attribution (eg, ‘Prosecutor’, ‘Defense’) for the transcript
New challenges (cont) Interpreting relays : eg. Lingala ->French -> English: delays and potential information loss Challenges for French-English interpreters and court reporters – initial unfamiliarity with the phonology and deceptive cognates in varieties of French and English Ethical considerations, eg, euphemistic treatment of cultural taboos
Training interpreters in ‘situation languages’ – Educational requirements during selection and recruitment, pre-testing – Compulsory 6 -9 months in-house interpreter training for specific (court) – training in the main courtroom modes and skills – relevant knowledge acquisition – authentic materials, preparation in genres, techniques etc. – participation in the coining of the new terms with the terminology development – summative testing and accreditation
Pre-emptive actions arising from ICTY experience Interpreters’ roles and tasks outlined in the ICC Regulations (prior to the commencement of trials) Terminology unit: prior to the start of trials, ongoing; challenge in coining legal and other terms, and courtroom phraseology in languages with more recent [or no] literacy) (Anne Aboh-Dabis 2008) Staff psychological services for secondary post-traumatic stress - some
ICC interpretation users are aware of – linguistic and cultural distance between European and African languages – interpreting relay-induced delays and requirements for pauses – their role in enabling communication (control of speed, overlap avoidance, documents provision) Sources of awareness: – Personal practice and learning experience – Awareness raising (education/familiarisation) by STIC (Translation and conference interpreting Section) and some pretrial briefings
ICC – interpreter interventions and accommodating tactics by court Interpreter interventions: Ex : Booth identifies itself before making a request: ‘Lingala booth: Please ask witness to slow down’ Provision of written materials to interpreters Ex : Presiding judge reads a statement in English in open and closed sessions – interpreters provided with the English version.
New pre-emptive tactics 5 -second ‘golden rule’ Reminding counsel and explaining to witnesses reasons behind the 5 -second rule and slower pace =>benefits interpreters => defining role of Presiding judge for the implementation of accommodating tactics
Reminder to court participants and alerting witnesses Presiding judge: Give 5 seconds after a question is put to you and before you answer. We call it our 5 -second golden rule… It’s difficult and you might speed up. I’ll have to interrupt you. Please don’t take offense, it is for practical reasons. The court officer next to you will make a sign. Do you understand our ground rules? ” Transparency about the interpreting process allows to reach victims and witnesses Benefits interpreters
Impact of interpreting and accommodating tactics on courtroom interaction – how does the interpreting process and use of accommodating tactics affect the procedure? – what is perceived as being lost through interpretation? – how do lawyers reconcile the requirements of accurate interpretation (completeness, accuracy of content and style) and the requirements of the legal process?
Counsel’s and judges’ voices (ICTY and ICC) • interpretation and delays are part of communication in international environment • some regrets about the loss of natural dynamic • delays due to interpretation have an impact on crossexamination and the promptness of the objection • LOTE may not have the same array of linguistic tactics peculiar to the English-language examination questions (eg, tag question, coercive question, intonation rise and fall) – compensation through different tactics (ICTY) + delays • ICC – acceptance of working together as a team
Special Tribunal for Lebanon – pre-emptive steps