Need advice on court interpreting in the UK
Thread poster: Firas Allouzi

Firas Allouzi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:47
English to Arabic
+ ...
Apr 19, 2012

Dear all,

I am a DPSI qualified interpreter, and have been interpreting for a short while now for solicitors mainly consecutive and I am doing very well. Now I have my first booking for court interpreting, immigration hearing at King's Court.

I am quite confident about my interpreting skills but have no experience in court interpreting and a bit anxious that I might be betrayed by new terms used in the court that I am not aware of or should be aware of. I have been also booked for future assignments in the same court, one of them is for 6 hours!

I appreciate if you could give me any advice for immigration hearings: terms usually used in the courtroom, how to address the judge (if I needed to), when to do consecutive or simultaneous, can I get a brief before the hearing starts, preparations... etc.

I highly appreciate your time and suggestions. Thank you in advance.


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Donald Rutherford  Identity Verified
German to English
court advice Apr 19, 2012

I have never interpreted in court but I have served on a jury and the best advice I can give is to get there early and talk to the clerk of the court.

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Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:47
English to Polish
+ ...
Research Apr 19, 2012

The internet is full of resources on this subject.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/230/contents/made

would be as good a starting point as any.

If you have never been to court, any court, I suggest you spend a day in a busy magistrates or crown court and sit on a few cases, and you will quickly get an idea what it's all about.

It really isn't half as scary, daunting or out of this world as you might have heard


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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:47
Italian to English
+ ...
Not half as scary Apr 20, 2012

I'm not sure these interpreters would agree:


http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1491805_court-official-left-in-tears-after-outburst-at-rochdale-sex-gang-trial

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17709440


You are wise to be cautious,


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Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:47
English to Polish
+ ...
DPSI standard Apr 20, 2012

Suzie, the topic starter says he is DPSI qualified.

I therefore assume (yes, dangerous practice) professionalism is not an issue here, just lack of real court experience.

We all had to start somewhere. Firas has solid foundations for doing well!


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Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:47
English to Polish
+ ...
consecutive / simultaneous Apr 21, 2012

Just to answer one of your specific questions, when to use consecutive and when simultaneous.
This will hopefully become very clear within a few minutes of you being in a court room, but the 'rule' is this: when the judge, defence counsel, prosecutor, witnesses, court clerk speak and you are sitting in the dock next to the defendant you interpret simultaneously, as none of these people will pause and wait for you to finish interpreting. Sometimes, if the judge is particularly considerate he or she might glance at you every now and again to try and assess whether you are keeping up.
You whisper everything that is being said in the courtroom to the defendant as it is being spoken, i.e. simultaneously.

When it is the defendant's turn to be examined and cross-examined in the witness stand and you are standing next to him, you wait for him to say 1-2 sentences in your language, and then you interpret it (consecutively) to the whole courtroom. This cannot be done simultaneously as everybody in the courtroom must hear clearly without any interference, what is being said, so you and the defendant cannot speak at the same time as your voices would drown each other out.

I hope this helps.


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~Ania~  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:47
Polish to English
+ ...
Just curious... Apr 21, 2012

Hi Firas,

How did you qualify for your DPSI if you haven't mastered basic terminology used in a court room?

Anna


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Firas Allouzi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:47
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
''A little learning is a dangerous thing'' Apr 21, 2012

I think I have misrepresented myself and have been misunderstood.

The questions I asked were not based on lack of knowledge but mainly for the purpose of reassurance. I thought by seeking advice from experienced colleagues in court interpreting would add something new to my knowledge of the field. For instance, unusual situations or terminology or anything else that comes only with long practice and experience. Even if it was basic knowledge of the practice, I wouldn't mind because it will only add to my confidence. INSTEAD, I receive private and public messages with a tone I do not appreciate at all, at all! And this post transformed into a platform for criticism rather than offering advice.

In addition to my DPSI, I hold MA in Twentieth-Century Literary Studies from Durham University, BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature, and a BA in Law. This is how I qualified for DPSI with flying colours. I hope this satisfies your curiosity ''Ania.''

I won't be replying to any public or private messages, so let's leave it here.


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urbom
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:47
German to English
+ ...
visit your local magistrates' court Apr 21, 2012

If you have a free morning or afternoon, you might pay a visit to your nearest magistrates' court and sit in the public gallery in one of the courtrooms just to get a feel for the general atmosphere.

If you're unsure where you should sit, just ask the usher, but the public gallery is usually very near the entrance to the courtroom.
http://www.watersidepress.co.uk/acatalog/The_Magistrates_Court_layout.html
Make sure your mobile phone has been switched off before you enter!

Here is a useful guide (aimed at students, but I think it'd be appropriate for any layperson) explaining how to visit a UK court.
http://www.oup.com/uk/orc/bin/9780199599165/01student/activities/court/
Scroll down that page for a list of how to address judges.


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John Farebrother  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
French to English
+ ...
sounds like you have everything you need Apr 21, 2012

Firas Allouzi wrote:


In addition to my DPSI, I hold MA in Twentieth-Century Literary Studies from Durham University, BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature, and a BA in Law. This is how I qualified for DPSI with flying colours. I hope this satisfies your curiosity ''Ania.''

I won't be replying to any public or private messages, so let's leave it here.



I would suggest you brush up on immigration hearing procedures and terminology, to ensure nothing takes you by surprise and to help you to feel confident. I'm sure it will be a simple matter to find everything you need on the internet.


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urbom
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:47
German to English
+ ...
immigration tribunals open to the public Apr 22, 2012

Sorry, I should have referred specifically to immigration tribunals in my previous reply, as that is where your first assignment is likely to be. Immigration hearings are also open to the public, unless a party has applied for a case to be heard in camera.

http://www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals/immigration-asylum/hearings

Daily listings are available here: http://www.tribunals.gov.uk/ImmigrationAsylum/DailyCourtLists/dailycourtlists.htm

If you've got a free morning, just head over to your nearest hearing centre and speak to a member of staff about sitting in on some hearings.


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~Ania~  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:47
Polish to English
+ ...
Sorry I spoke! Apr 22, 2012

1) Lots of colleagues have offered you useful advice and you have not even acknowledged their replies or bothered to thank them.

2) I was merely asking a question because I know how much hard work it takes to pass exams. You really don't know what you are going to get in the exam so you have to learn it all "just in case". I did not mean to upset you.

3) Unfortunately, there is no substitute for experience. The colleague who suggested sitting in a court room and observing the proceedings offered you very good advice. I would take a notebook and make a record of any unfamiliar terms or idioms. Then look them up at home.


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