Court interpreting

Court interpreting is an integral part of a trial as well as presence of the attorney.  Though on the other hand if to speak about a profession of the court interpreter in Ukraine, it in a conceptual stage.

If you look at the beginning of a profession origin, there was no system on accreditation of court interpreters and just before the beginning of work no documents were required from interpreter which would prove knowledge of language. Attention should also be paid to the fact that at that time nobody knew precisely what exactly the court interpreter was supposed to translate and do. This is precisely why very often there were conflict situations between judges, attorneys, defendants / accused and interpreter. Today the profession is clearly regulated, and only interpreters having the necessary documentary confirmation of the knowledge and professional qualities are allowed to work in court.

The interpreter working in court, must be well knowledgeable in law, know the language and be able to communicate. Besides, the interpreter should possess high level of self-checking and understand the importance of accurate interpretation. Requirements to Court interpreting are rather strict and, therefore, the court interpreter should solve many problems for achievement of language and culturological equivalence. One should not forget that during the work in court the interpreter repeatedly finds himself/herself in contradictory situations, faces moral dilemmas and, therefore, should behave faultlessly.

The term court interpreting is applied to rather wide range of kinds of interpretation and it is not necessarily interpretation which takes place in a courtroom. Interpretation in police station, in prison, in immigration department, etc. can also be attributed to this kind of interpretation. The main objective of the court interpreter is to provide mutual understanding between the applicants, the accused / client and the court, at all stages of judicial trial / investigation. In any situation and under any circumstances should the court interpreter render so to include everything that was told, thus they should try to preserve tone and style of language, and it is strictly prohibited to change everything told somehow or to add anything.

By the nature of their activity court interpreters face people of different nationalities, age groups, religious and cultural outlooks.  For this reason the court interpreter should possess a rich lexicon and have an eye for subtleties of cultural and religious issues. Therefore, except for linguistic skills court interpreters are required to understand legal procedures. Thus they have to keep the impartial attitude and confidentiality. The high-quality interpretation in court means not only satisfaction of customer's inquiries, but compliance with certain ethical standards to provide the accuracy of legal process.

Besides, judgement hall is the battlefield where the main weapon is eloquence and virtuosity of the word. But if the one who cannot speak fluently the language of judicial proceedings participates in this battle, the main objective of the court interpreter is to make this person the full participant of such battle. The interpreter hereto bears responsibility not only moral, professional and legal, but also assumes personal responsibility before the defendant about the accuracy of his/her message. It is necessary to remember that the court interpreter is distinguished by strict obligations of etiquette: the interpreter should render accurately the message, by omitting movements and facial expressions of the speaker. If the message cannot be rendered completely, the interpreter should inform the court about it.

The court interpreter as nobody else should understand importance of confidentiality. In addition, the court interpreter a priori has to adhere to the strict minute, and in some countries interpreter may be also required to render all kind of help to colleagues: the interpreter should be solidary and avoid disputes to hold ground in each specific case and should not lose face of profession in general.

But whatever one may speak, the main requirement in a profession of the court interpreter is preparation. Ideally before trial the translator should familiarize himself/herself with materials of case, penetrate into details and examine the lexical and terminology database demanded for these concrete judicial proceedings. According to regulations, the court interpreter should instantly inform on those cases when he/she cannot participate in court sessions owing to ethical, moral, religious or other beliefs.

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