A case study of interpreter-mediated witness statement: police interpreting in South Korea

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Interpreters play an important role in police interviewing witnesses from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. In the cases where interpreters lack professional attributes such as interpreting competence and impartiality, it is very likely that the interpreted evidence and statement will not be a faithful reproduction of original utterances. If attention is not paid to possible alterations by interpreters to the original utterances of the witness and duty of care is lacking in the procedure of obtaining statement from witnesses through such interpreters, the official legal record may not be an accurate one. Drawing on the data of a video-recorded interpreter-mediated police interview in South Korea, this paper examines issues arising from the lack of understanding of the role of interpreters, which may have implications for criminal proceedings. The findings indicate that in addition to interpreter training, more efficient police training in the adoption of best practice guidelines in interviewing through interpreters is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-205
Number of pages12
JournalPolice Practice and Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Police interpreting
  • impartiality
  • interpreter-mediated witness statement
  • interpreting competence
  • training


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