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Interpreting for court for the first time
Thread poster: Zeen

Zeen
Local time: 08:55
May 4, 2012

Hi everyone,

I've sort of gotten myself in a mess and now the anxiety is killing me. I'm a qualified DPSi interpreter with very, very limited experience, actually consider none.

A while ago I became a member of NRSPI and all the jobs I've had through them have been for courts so each time I said no even though I really do need a job. That's mainly because I have no confidence in my interpreting abilities and I just think I'll freak out and it'll be a living nightmare.

But then I tell myself I've got to start somewhere so this time I had a call from the court I said 'yes' and now I'm thinking this is a bad idea.It's going to be this upcoming Wednesday.

Shall I just send a colleague instead or go for it anyway. I suppose what I'm looking for is some advice, anything to calm myself down would be helpful. Anything to read, your personal experience from the first ever interpreting job?

Thank you.icon_smile.gif


 

Cécile Andrade
United States
Local time: 03:55
Member (2010)
Portuguese to French
+ ...
You have to start somewhere... May 4, 2012

and we all have gone through the fear factor and lack of confidence. Review your terminology database (you should know by now what type of case you're interpreting) get as much information on that and prepare yourself accordingly, bring a note pad for numbers, names, dates... everything should go real well. Good luck to you.

 

Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
English to Polish
+ ...
More details? May 4, 2012

What court is it?
Magistrates or crown court?
Is it a trial, sentence, preliminary hearing, commital or perhaps an extradition, or virtual court?
Do you know what the charge is?
Are you interpreting for the defendant or a witness?

I would be happy to give you advice but please be more specific.


 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:55
Italian to English
+ ...
Sending a colleague May 4, 2012

Hi Zeen,

I'm sure you're aware of what is going on in the UK courts at the moment so I won't go into that. If you're not, please contact me for an update.

What I did find worrying was your suggestion of sending a colleague; did you mean suggesting the name to the Listing Officer, or just sending someone else along instead? I'm sure it was the former but would strongly advise against the latter if you are the person who has been booked.

Please let me know off- forum if you would like the links to the various NRPSI fora.

Cecilea7 has given you sound advice should you wish to go ahead.

Let us know what you decide. Enjoy the bank holiday.

Suzi


 

John Farebrother  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
French to English
+ ...
just do it May 4, 2012

cecilea7 wrote:

and we all have gone through the fear factor and lack of confidence. Review your terminology database (you should know by now what type of case you're interpreting) get as much information on that and prepare yourself accordingly, bring a note pad for numbers, names, dates... everything should go real well. Good luck to you.


Prepare your terminology and you'll be fine.


 

Zeen
Local time: 08:55
TOPIC STARTER
this is the information May 5, 2012

Ania Heasley wrote:

What court is it?
Magistrates or crown court?
Is it a trial, sentence, preliminary hearing, commital or perhaps an extradition, or virtual court?
Do you know what the charge is?
Are you interpreting for the defendant or a witness?

I would be happy to give you advice but please be more specific.


Here's what they've told me so far:

It's crown court hearing, fraud case, interpreting for the man charged and he speaks some English. Also I was told that the hearing itself may only last half an hour.

To everyone else who replied, thank you. It's really appreciated.


 

Zeen
Local time: 08:55
TOPIC STARTER
No I'm not aware of what's going on in the UK courts May 5, 2012

Susanna Garcia wrote:

Hi Zeen,

I'm sure you're aware of what is going on in the UK courts at the moment so I won't go into that. If you're not, please contact me for an update.

What I did find worrying was your suggestion of sending a colleague; did you mean suggesting the name to the Listing Officer, or just sending someone else along instead? I'm sure it was the former but would strongly advise against the latter if you are the person who has been booked.

Please let me know off- forum if you would like the links to the various NRPSI fora.

Cecilea7 has given you sound advice should you wish to go ahead.

Let us know what you decide. Enjoy the bank holiday.

Suzi


I was thinking of suggesting the name but I got the call yesterday that they'll confirm on Tuesday whether or not I'm the person who will be interpreting. So it's all very confusing atm. Ughh I wish I had never agreed.

Pardon me for my ignorance but what is NRSPI fora?

Thank you for your time anyway.icon_smile.gif


 

Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
English to Polish
+ ...
Crown court May 7, 2012

If you have never been to a crown court then a few things to be aware of.

This is the court where 'everybody wears wigs' which can in itself be intimidating for a first timericon_smile.gif

Make sure you are dressed in a sombre suit, think your own funeral rather than a Christmas party in a posh hotel.

You will be asked by the usher whether you take an oath or an affirmation. The oath is for religious people, and you hold the Bible, Koran or another holy book in your hand as you say the words.

That is the formula every interpreter is asked to say before they start interpreting, it goes more or less like this: I swear by Almighty God/solemnly declare that I will interpret in these proceedings to the best of my skill and understanding. This will be given to you to read out loud. You are then supposed to turn to the defendant in the dock and translate this oath/affirmation to them in your own language.

At the end of saying the oath/affirmation it is a good idea to state your name and the language you will be interpreting to the judge/court clerk.

After oath/affirmation you join the defendant in the dock and you simultaneously interpret everything that goes on.

When it's the defendant's turn to give evidence you stand next to him and you consecutively interpret everything he says.

All this can be a lot of fun and very rewarding if you know what you are doing. So just relax and enjoy your day!

Good luckicon_smile.gif


 

Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
English to Polish
+ ...
One more thing May 7, 2012

Just on an off chance that you get caught up in the spills from 'the current court interpreting situation' when you attend your assignment.

There have been several incidents recently of the old system interpreters approaching interpreters working in courts and bullying/harrassing/intimidating them to find out who they work for, what language they work in, what previous experience they have had, etc.

It is tiresome and irritating and it just might happen to you if you are unlucky. Do not be phazed by it. It's just one of the occupational hazards in the UK at the moment I am afraid.


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
Hebrew to English
Stop scaremongering! May 7, 2012

Ania Heasley wrote:

Just on an off chance that you get caught up in the spills from 'the current court interpreting situation' when you attend your assignment.

There have been several incidents recently of the old system interpreters approaching interpreters working in courts and bullying/harrassing/intimidating them to find out who they work for, what language they work in, what previous experience they have had, etc.

It is tiresome and irritating and it just might happen to you if you are unlucky. Do not be phazed by it. It's just one of the occupational hazards in the UK at the moment I am afraid.


Ania, I'm quite astonished by your attempted scaremongering. None of what you describe has happened and I feel you are severely misrepresenting the situation.

The questions people are asking are very valid when you consider the situations that are occurring. It's not an "occupational hazard" as you call it.


 

Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
English to Polish
+ ...
It happens May 7, 2012

I promise you it happens.
I was on the receiving end only last week.
I only write from experience. It is unsettling and unnerving.
It annoys not only the interpreters, the court staff are not too impressed either.
I would be very happy to give you details, names, courts, dates and times. Which of course I won't do publicly.


 

Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
English to Polish
+ ...
Incidents May 7, 2012

After one such incident, observed by a listings officer, she asked me if I wanted to make a complaint, because the person who approached me is 'a pain in the neck'. Her words, not mine.

 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
Hebrew to English
Two sides to every story May 7, 2012

For the other side Zeen, please see here:
http://www.linguistlounge.org

and for a fuller overview of the situation, see this thread:
http://www.proz.com/forum/interpreting/203314-privatization_of_legal_interpreting_services_in_the_uk.html

By the way, maybe I missed a trick, but Zeen never made it clear that they were employed by the agency who shall not be named.


 

Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
English to Polish
+ ...
Call from the court May 7, 2012

Zeen wrote:

this time I had a call from the court I said 'yes'


No agency involved, so no need to mention the unmentionable.

Good old linguistlounge.org

Do you really think it promotes 'the cause' or is it a spectacular own goal?


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
Hebrew to English
Outlet for truth May 7, 2012

I think it's a useful outlet for the facts to be brought to light, which is why I suggest Zeen to visit the site post haste.

If the agency who shall not be named are not involved here, why are you trying so hard to promote their cause? (a lost cause)....why did you bring it up?

[Edited at 2012-05-07 09:11 GMT]


 
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