Interpreting

What it is(n’t)

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Additionally, the trial judge gave a cautionary instruction to the jury to alleviate any problems which may have been created by interpreter: #2 … “…Obviously, an Interpreter is not a participant in the trial. An Interpreter really only acts as a transmission belt or telephone. In one ear should come in English and out comes Spanish, …”

United States v Cesar Rosario Anguloa, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (20 Jun 1979), 598 F.2d 1182, at [18: n5].

As cited in:

“In 1979 in United States v. AnguloaI [i.e., US v Anguloa 598 F2d 1182 No. 78-1183 (1979)], the Court instructed the jury following the replacement of an incompetent interpreter that ‘[a]n Interpreter really only acts as a transmission belt or telephone’; a former Australian Supreme Court judge, in turn, stated that ‘[t]he interpreter should look upon himself rather as an electric transformer, whatever is fed into him is to be fed out again, duly transformed’ (Wells 1991, in Hale and Gibbons 1999: 207 [WAN Wells, An Introduction to the Law of Evidence (S Australia; A B Caudell, 1991); S Hale and J Gibbons, “Varying realities: patterned changes in the interpreter’s representation of courtroom and external realities”, Applied Lingistics, (1999) 20(2): 203-20.]).”

— Krzysztof Kredens and Ruth Morris, “Interpreting outside the courtroom: A shattered mirror?’ Interpreting in legal contexts outside the courtroom”, in Malcolm Coulthard and Alison Johnson (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics, (2010) [Routledge, 2013], pp 455-469, p 468.

  • See also: (as indexed on AustLII:) Hale, Sandra — “The Challenges of Court Interpreting: Intracacies [read: Intricacies], Responsibilities and Ramifications” [2007] AltLawJl 30; (2007) 32(4) Alternative Law Journal 198, where the Australian judicial officer is described as “an Australian judge” (note 4).