International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Vol 20, No 2 (2013)

Interpreting, video communication and the sequential reshaping of institutional talk in the bilingual and distributed courtroom

Christian Licoppe, Maud Vernier
Issued Date: 17 Dec 2013


This article presents the first naturalistic study of courtroom interpreting with a video link and a remote defendant appearing from his prison, based on extensive video recordings and ethnographic observations made during pre trial hearings in France. Working within a video-ethnographic and conversation analytic perspective, we focus on the production of the prosecuting counsel’s argument, which usually occurs in a ‘monologue-like’ fashion in the co-present courtroom, with dockside simultaneous interpreting proceeding alongside it. In the socio-technical assemblage that characterises the bilingual distributed courtroom, we document here how the production of the counsel’s argument opens up to various forms of conversational cooperative sequences and to the production of embedded sequences leading to increased opportunities for participation. Roles become somewhat blurred, while the production of the prosecuting counsel’s argument acquires a multi-voiced character. Though not defined as such from the start, the work of the interpreter emerges from such environments as a kind of extended stretch of ‘long’ consecutive interpreting.

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DOI: 10.1558/ijsll.v20i2.247


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