Evaluation of court interpreting: A case study of metadiscourse in interpreter-mediated expert witness examinations

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Abstract

The present paper examines the metadiscourse of court interpreting, with a focus on the evaluative language used in relation to interpreting of expert witness testimony. The study explores interactional resources such as hedges, boosters, attitude markers, self-mentions and engagement markers, employed by participants in the interpreter-mediated South Korean courtroom examinations of three English-speaking expert witnesses. Extracts analysed for this paper, involving a total of four interpreters, are taken from two court cases (four extracts each from a civil case, featuring experienced conference interpreters, and a criminal case, with unskilled interpreters). In courtroom settings, where the interpretation of expert testimony is frequently contested, this study demonstrates metadiscursive representation of stance management during professional communication, which is closely linked with facework and rapport management. The analysis indicates that hedging is far more frequently used than boosters, and that various attitude markers and engagement markers are used in evaluating interpretations and ensuring their accuracy. Legal professionals and interpreters alike display their evaluative, affective and epistemic orientation in the interdisciplinary professional discourse, and personal interaction, of the courtroom examinations analysed here.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-194
Number of pages28
JournalInterpreting
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Court interpreting
  • Evaluation
  • Expert witness
  • Metadiscourse
  • Stance

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