When linguistic and cultural differences are not disclosed in court interpreting

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20 Scopus citations


This paper explores the role of the court interpreter in cross-cultural and cross-linguistic communication in the courtroom. Drawing on the analysis of the discourse of witness examinations interpreted by Korean interpreters in Australian court proceedings, this paper argues that in the absence of cultural and/or linguistic explanations by the interpreter, evidence given by witnesses from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds may not be accurately or fully interpreted, and this can have potentially serious consequences for the witness in the adversarial context. The discussion highlights the significance of interpreters' disclosure of linguistic and cultural issues which are related to the accuracy of interpreting during court-room examination and suggests that 'conduit' interpreters may in fact adversely influence adversarial court proceedings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-401
Number of pages23
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Court interpreter
  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Crosslinguistic communication
  • Roles


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