Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions About Judicial Interpretation

Listed below are some common terms and nomenclature that are specific to the field of Judicial Interpretation.

What terms are used in court interpretation?
There are several terms used that are unique to court interpretation, the most common ones are listed below.

What is the definition of a non-English speaking person?
"Non-English speaking person" is the term used in the text to refer to any person who is unable to communicate in English or who has a limited ability to communicate in English and refers to English as a second language and those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

What is Source language?
Source language is the language of the original speaker.

What is Target language?
Target language is the language of the listener, the language into which the interpreter is communicating the meaning of the words spoken in the source language.

How is interpretation different from translation?
Interpretation means the unrehearsed transmitting of a spoken or signed message from one language to another. Translation refers to written language.

What are the different modes of court interpreting?

There are several modes of court interpreting and translation:

1. Consecutive Interpreting
The interpreter interprets blocks or chunks of information, often taking notes to assist in rendering the interpretation, then read back out loud.

2. Simultaneous Interpreting
Simultaneous interpreting is rendering an interpretation continuously at the same time someone is speaking. Simultaneous interpreting is intended to be heard only by the person receiving the interpretation and is usually accomplished by speaking in whispered tones or using equipment specially designed for the purpose in order to be as unobtrusive as possible.

3. Summary Interpreting
Summary interpreting is paraphrasing and condensing the speaker's statement. This mode of interpreting should not be used in court settings.

4. Intermediary interpreting
Intermediary interpreting involves more than one interpreter to reach people who have idiosyncratic speech characteristics or who employ gestures or other signing varieties beyond the understanding of the primary interpreter. Intermediary interpreting should be undertaken with a trained primary interpreter, assisted by the
secondary interpreter. Secondary interpreters may be deaf people holding the Reverse Skills Certificate (RSC) awarded by the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, family members or friends of the person needing special communicative assistance, and professional service providers.

5. Sight Translation
The interpreter reads a document written in one language while translating it verbally into another language without advance notice.

How many interpreters will I need?
It depends on the to the purpose or the setting in which interpreting occurs. More than interpreter may be required because there will be more than one interpretative function to be carried out in a court proceeding.

What are the most common functions of interpreters?
1. Proceedings Interpretation
Proceedings Interpretation is for a non-English speaking litigant in order to make the litigant "present" and able to participate effectively during the proceeding. This interpreting function is performed simultaneously and the interpreter's speech is always in the foreign language and is not part of the record of the proceedings.

2. Witness Interpreting
Witness interpretation is interpretation during witness testimony for the purpose of presenting evidence to the court. This interpreting function is performed in the consecutive mode; the English language portions of the interpretation are part of the record of the proceeding.

3. Interview Interpreting
Interview interpreting is interpreting to facilitate communication in interview or consultation settings. Interview interpreting may occur in conjunction with court proceedings or before or after court proceedings. Most of these take place during an interview or consultation between attorney and client (sometimes referred to as
"defense" interpreting) and between a non-English speaking person and bail screening or probation personnel.