Item Details

Interpreting for the police: issues in pre-trial phases of the judicial process

Issue: Vol 7 No. 2 (2000)

Journal: International Journal of Speech Language and the Law

Subject Areas: Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/sll.2000.7.2.212


During the investigative phase of the judicial process, interpreting for those who do not speak the language of the courts is often carried out either by bilingual police officers and other employees of the police department, or by relatives and friends of suspects or detainees. In any of these cases, the norms of professional court interpreting can easily be violated. A review of appellate cases coming from California, Florida and New York reveals that when the police make use of unqualified interpreters during their investigative interviews or interrogations, frequently the Miranda rights of detainees are jeopardized. Issues of hearsay also arise in such cases. The use of ad hoc interpreters in police investigative work is questioned by the author.

Author: Susan Berk-Seligson

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