Item Details

The impact of court interpreting on the coerciveness of leading questions

Issue: Vol 6 No. 1 (1999)

Journal: International Journal of Speech Language and the Law

Subject Areas: Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/sll.1999.6.1.30


Leading questions comprise a powerful weapon in the tactical arsenal of attorneys because such questions to a great degree control the outcome of witnesses’ answers. This paper addresses two research questions. First, ‘What characterizes leading questions, from a linguistic point of view?’ Second, looking at leading questions in a context of foreign-language interpreting, it asks, ‘What impact do court interpreters have on leading questions?’ The findings reveal that in judicial proceedings where court interpreters are at work, the coercive force of leading questions systematically tends to be weakened by interpreters. Of all the factors hypothesized to affect the accuracy with which leading questions are interpreted, only mode of interpreting (simultaneous versus consecutive) and type of judicial proceeding (trial versus hearing versus deposition) were found to be significant predictors.

Author: Susan Berk-Seligson

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