- In order to know whether your court interpreter is doing a good job it is necessary to understand the four modes of court interpreting currently used.
- As there is a correlation between accuracy and the length of interpreting time, it is recommended that interpreters have a break every 30 minutes, or that two interpreters are used during long court processes.
- The current working conditions for interpreters do not allow them to meet the expectations of the legal profession. However, legal practitioners can assist by making informed and appropriate requests regarding interpreters.
From the look of it, an interpreter’s job may seem easy. However, court interpreting requires a high level of language proficiency, interpreting skills, concentration, stamina and aptitude.
Four modes of court interpreting
In order to know whether your court interpreter is doing a good job, it is necessary to understand the four modes of court interpreting currently used by practitioners in Australia. These include consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, dialogue interpreting, and sight translation.
In consecutive interpreting, the interpreter listens to 150-300 spoken words, takes notes and interprets when the speaker pauses. In order for the interpreter to perform this mode, the speaker needs to pause after approximately a paragraph. These word limits (i.e. 150–300 words) apply for the consecutive interpreting sections in the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (‘NAATI’) professional test. This mode is used to interpret speeches and, in legal settings, audio visual links.