International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Vol 18, No 1 (2011)

Translatability of Speech Style in Court Interpreting

Jieun Lee
Issued Date: 13 Sep 2011


The court interpreter’s job is particularly demanding because s/he has to provide immediate renditions as close as possible to the meaning and effect of the original utterances, while facing constraints imposed by the institutional setting of the courtroom. Based on naturalistic data from interpreter mediated courtroom examinations and constructed data, namely translations by experienced conference interpreters and translators, this paper puts to the test the feasibility of the norms of faithful rendition of speech style such as hesitations, repetitions, incoherence, inexplicitness, and non-standard language. The results demonstrate that faithful rendition of original utterances is highly demanding and the translatability of the stylistic features of spoken discourse may be limited under time pressures and cross-linguistic constraints. Furthermore, interpreted renditions are inevitably interpreters’ products based on their interpretation of the meaning and style of the original. Interviews with court interpreters and written feedback provided by conference interpreters and translators provide insights into the practical aspects of the faithful reproduction of speech styles from different perspectives.

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DOI: 10.1558/ijsll.v18i1.1


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