Through the analysis of the discourse of an interpreter-mediated expert witness examination in a Korean criminal courtroom, this paper examines challenges in obtaining evidence from an expert witness through unskilled interpreters and the related complexity of participation status during the multiparty interactions, namely the courtroom examination. This paper, drawing on the participation framework theories, demonstrates how all participants are engaged in negotiation and interpretation of the meaning of the expert testimony. The two unskilled interpreters, who are primarily responsible for interpreting, collaborate with each other in order to achieve communication when they face problems or difficulties in the other’s interpreted rendition. However, despite the collective efforts to accurately obtain and understand the expert evidence accurately, such efforts are not always successful in the absence of skilled interpreters. Based on these findings, this paper argues that a team of unskilled interpreters is not sufficient to accomplish the demanding task of interpreting expert evidence, and further, the court needs to be meticulous about the quality of courtroom interpreting which have potential implications for achieving just legal outcomes.
- Court interpreting
- Expert witness
- Participant role
- Untrained and unskilled interpreters