Court interperting procedure
Thread poster: Liene08

United Kingdom
Local time: 09:18
Latvian to English
+ ...
Oct 21, 2013

Dear colleagues,

I would really need your advice and would appreciate your time if you could give me some tips.
I have been working as a public service interpreter for NHS, social services and I have also done some interpreting between solicitors and clients in prisons, etc., but I have never done court interpreting. On Wednesday I have my first assignment in court and I am feeling rather nervous about it. It will only be for one hour and the hearing type is mention in Magistrates Court. I also have another assignment for Friday, which will be for a whole day in Magistrates court.

I would like to know a few things about court interpreting in the UK to be able to prepare myself. Could you please tell me about the procedure in the court. Is it mainly simultaneous or consecutive interpreting? What about taking the interpreter's oath- does that also have to be interpreted for defendant? Do you take notes during the interpretation?

How did you prepare for your first assignment in court? Where could I find the terminology that is frequently used in courts?

Please give me some tips and answers to the above questions. Your help would be very appreciated. Thank you ever so much.



Gül Kaya  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:18
Turkish to English
+ ...
DPSI Oct 21, 2013

If you have the DPSI then these points would have been covered during your course and you should have received training on them since they are pretty much fundamental to the issue at hand. I would be very wary of going into a court if you are mentally unprepared since there really is nowhere to hide.


Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:18
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
... Oct 21, 2013

Gül Kaya wrote:

If you have the DPSI then these points would have been covered during your course and you should have received training on them since they are pretty much fundamental to the issue at hand. I would be very wary of going into a court if you are mentally unprepared since there really is nowhere to hide.



Local time: 09:18
French to English
+ ...
Training Oct 21, 2013

I agree with the comment above. Court interpreting requires specialised training in interpreting techniques, when and how to use them; legal vocabulary and jargon (including Latin terms); knowledge of procedures and conventions.
If you are lacking in such training you will find yourself out of your depth very rapidly.
Asking a few questions on a forum will not give you confidence - proper training (and on ly that) will!


Local time: 10:18
English to Latvian
+ ...
Neko daudz nevaru palīdzēt, bet vismaz dažas lietas Oct 21, 2013


man nav lielas sajēgas par tulkošanu tiesā, jo nekad to neesmu darījis, bet, loģiski spriežot, tā varētu sastāvēt no chuchotage (kad runā tiesnesis) un no konsekutīvās tulkošanas, kad runā apsūdzētais. Man nav ne jausmas, vai apsūdzēto tulko pēc pilnas atbildes vai teikumu pa teikumam, bet skaitļu un vārdu pierakstīšana vienmēr noderēs. Ja runāšana ir garāka, tad pieraksti ir specifiskāki, tos parasti tulkošanas studijās iemāca (vai vismaz ierāda pamatus), te man jāpiekrīt iepriekšējo komentāru autoriem. Nevaru arī viena komentāra ietvaros neko ieteikt, par to daudzi raksta zinātniskus darbus. Jāatceras, ka daudzi angļu juridiskie termini latviski nemaz nav pārtulkojami, jo Latvijas tieslietu sistēmā tiem nav ekvivalenta, latīņu terminus netulko. Lai veicas! Katrs kādreiz ir bijis iesācējs.


United Kingdom
Local time: 09:18
Latvian to English
+ ...
Thank you. Oct 22, 2013

Thank you for taking your time and responding to my questions.

mjbjosh Lielum liels paldies Jums!!!


United Kingdom
Local time: 09:18
Albanian to English
+ ...
Training for Court interpreting Oct 23, 2013

Dear Liene

I am the Secretary of a professional body representing the interests of interpreters working within the Criminal Justice System, having been a public service interpreter myself for 25 years.

It is the responsibility of every professional interpreter to ascertain the level of skill and knowledge required for a particular assignment before accepting it, and to accept only work which is within their competence to perform.

The policy of our Association is that only qualified, experienced, vetted and registered public service interpreters should be used in Court. The reason is simple: the stakes are very high. In the criminal courts, a person’s good character and even their liberty may be at stake. Even a simple mistranslation may lead to an innocent person being convicted, or a guilty person going free. Just imagine how you would feel if such a thing happened due to your interpreting.

Court interpreting is not just a matter of translating words from Language A into Language B. A Court interpreter requires a sophisticated knowledge of legal terminology, legal concepts and the legal systems of both countries. Sometimes a legal term which exists in one culture has no exact equivalent in the other, but the interpreter must still communicate the concept. It follows that if the interpreter is unfamiliar with the concept in the first place, there is no possibility of an exact transfer of meaning.

The fact that you have asked for guidance from colleagues shows that you are keen to do a thorough job, and that, I believe, is to be encouraged. I think you have identified a skills gap and I hope you will want to take steps to rectify that. The best preparation you can undertake in order to become a professional public service interpreter is to take a course leading to the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) which is the standard qualification in our sector. A good course will teach you about Court procedure in the UK as well as interpreting technique, professional standards and ethics and terminology. You can find more information about the DPSI at

There are a number of highly qualified and experienced Latvian interpreters working in the sector and work providers should be encouraged to contact them via the NRPSI website or through our own call centre, APCI Response.

Best wishes

Alan Thompson
Association of Police and Court Interpreters


Skallagrimson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:18
Latvian to Russian
+ ...
Glossary of Legal Terms Oct 23, 2013

Labvakar, Liene!

Palasi šo mājas lapu: Glossary of Legal Terms |

Magistrates' Court |

Good luck!



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