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Thread poster: Ramses Cabrera
Court interpreting: first or third person?

Ramses Cabrera
Local time: 15:04
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 29, 2013

Dear colleagues from Proz.com:

I would like to know in which grammatical person court interpreters speak when interpreting the defendant during a hearing, for instance.

Thank you for your attention. I look forward to your replies.


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Jeanie Eldon  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
German to English
+ ...
As if you were the defendant Jan 29, 2013

Always in first person.

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Hugo  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:04
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
Always in first person Jan 30, 2013

As Jeanie points out.

And whenever you need a clarification/repetition, etc., you refer to yourself as 'the interpreter'


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lee roth
United States
Local time: 11:04
Romanian to English
+ ...
basic rule, Jan 30, 2013

and avoid the ”he said”, ”she said”

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:04
Member (2013)
Russian to English
+ ...
Always first person. Jan 30, 2013

This is what has to be done so that the transcript is in the first person. There are no exceptions to that rule.

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Vincenzo Di Maso  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:04
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Court Interpreting Jan 30, 2013

I always used the First Person when interpreting in Court, until a judge (!!!) pointed out that interpreters shoud use the Third Person. I found it definitely odd, and fortunately that was the only case! Of course I had to respect her instruction, but figure out my displesure.

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Ramses Cabrera
Local time: 15:04
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the information Feb 7, 2013

Dear colleagues of Proz.com,

It is always a pleasure to receive information from you. I had already thought that first person was probably the answer to my question. After all, it is clearly simpler to state the information to be interpreted as if you were the defendant, witness, et cetera. I found it very interesting that it was a requirement for the transcript. I did not realize that.

However, I was told that over time interpreters tend to use - when possible - the third person if the are interpreting for the defendant in order to "put some distance between both parties", so that the interpreter does not identify with him.

What do you think?


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lee roth
United States
Local time: 11:04
Romanian to English
+ ...
Never ! Feb 8, 2013


Ramses Cabrera wrote:


However, I was told that over time interpreters tend to use - when possible - the third person if the are interpreting for the defendant in order to "put some distance between both parties", so that the interpreter does not identify with him.



Once, during a federal criminal case, the defendant started cursing the witness, the prosecution and the judge and, without a blink I (the interpreter) started cursing the witness,prosecutor and judge ! In our language curses are very colorful and not in a neutral tone like "F you" but very specific using the first person " I stick my .... in your ....".
Courtroom people are aware that the interpreter does his job, therefore there is no need to "put some distance between both parties".

Lee

[Edited at 2013-02-08 04:25 GMT]


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Ramses Cabrera
Local time: 15:04
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I see the point Feb 8, 2013


lee roth wrote:

Once, during a federal criminal case, the defendant started cursing the witness, the prosecution and the judge and, without a blink I (the interpreter) started cursing the witness,prosecutor and judge ! In our language curses are very colorful and not in a neutral tone like "F you" but very specific using the first person " I stick my .... in your ....".
Courtroom people are aware that the interpreter does his job, therefore there is no need to "put some distance between both parties".

Lee

[Edited at 2013-02-08 04:25 GMT]


I actually see the point in your actions, and, as far as I know about this field of interpreting, it seems that is what's expected from the interpreter. However, I understood the putting-distance-between-both-parties part as some sort of "personal preference". As in, the interpreter does not want to feel sympathy for any of the people involved in the proceeding. I think it sometimes must be hard for interpreters to always remain stoic regardless of what is happening during the trial. That said, if you can pull off such a feat as the one you said, you definitely deserve my most sincere congratulations.

By the way, if I may ask, what happened to the defendant you mentioned?

Thanks for the info. I find all this really helpful. I myself intend to work as interpreter in the future.


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lee roth
United States
Local time: 11:04
Romanian to English
+ ...
he was held in criminal contempt Feb 9, 2013

and given an extra 1-3 years in prison.

As a court (or judicial) interpreter one must be prepared for such events.
I remember my first case where I used foul language. It was a case in which the asserted victim claimed that she was the victim of rape by the mayor of the township. After her testimony, her father took the stand and when asked about the mayor, he blurted out ...." yeah! He's a young guy chasing p......sy !" I said that with a straight face in a courtroom full of females (Judge, prosecutor, defendant's attorney). At the end of the trial, the judge came to me and said "excellent job!"
Therefore, do not be afraid to interpret in first! It is your job to do so.

Good luck !


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:04
Member (2013)
Russian to English
+ ...
You absolutely cannot use third person in any courts in the US. Feb 9, 2013

I don't know anything about court interpreting in any other countries. The judge must have meant something else -- when you ask for clarification as an interpreter, you are supposed to talk in the third person; "The interpreter would like a clarification", not: "I would like a clarification of the term used", for example.

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Court interpreting: first or third person?







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