Journal Article

Interpreting Inexplicit Language during Courtroom Examination

Jieun Lee

in Applied Linguistics

Volume 30, issue 1, pages 93-114
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0142-6001
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-450X | DOI:
Interpreting Inexplicit Language during Courtroom Examination

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  • Linguistics
  • Language Teaching Theory and Methods


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Court interpreters are required to provide accurate renditions of witnesses’ utterances during courtroom examinations, but the accuracy of interpreting may be compromised for a number of reasons, among which is the effect on interpretation of the limited contextual information available to court interpreters. Based on the analysis of the discourse of Korean–English interpreting in Australian courtrooms, this article examines how inexplicit language used by Korean-speaking witnesses affects the accuracy of court interpreting. Such use of inexplicit language is a consequence of differences between the lexico-grammatical system of the witnesses’ language (Korean) and that of the court (English), as well as being due to the witnesses’ lack of familiarity with the courtroom discourse. This study demonstrates that the way the court interpreters cope with inexplicit language may result in inaccurate rendition of the evidence, and thus have legal implications for court proceedings.

Journal Article.  8328 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Language Teaching Theory and Methods

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