Interpreting reported speech in witnesses' evidence

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20 Scopus citations


Drawing on the discourse of interpreter-mediated examinations of Koreanspeaking witnesses in an Australian courtroom, this paper explores court interpreters' renditions of reported speech contained in witnesses' evidence. Direct reported speech is generally preferred in the courtroom because of the evidentiary rule against the admission of hearsay. However, Korean-speaking witnesses who are not familiar with this rule and with the discursive practices of the court tend to use indirect reported speech. This paper examines how Koreans' general preference for indirect reported speech is handled by court interpreters. The findings suggest that the tendency among Korean interpreters to convert indirect into direct reported speech in English renditions may have implications for the accuracy of interpreted evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-82
Number of pages23
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I would like to thank Senior Research Professor Christopher N. Candlin, two anonymous reviewers and the editors of this journal for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper. I also thank the Linguistics Department of Macquarie University for funding this research project.


  • Court interpreter
  • Court interpreting
  • Courtroom examination
  • Evidence
  • Reported speech


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