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Interpreting reported speech in witnesses’ evidence

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Drawing on the discourse of interpreter-mediated examinations of Korean-speaking 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.
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Keywords: court interpreter; court interpreting; courtroom examination; evidence; reported speech

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 4, 2010

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  • International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting
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