Thursday, February 03, 2005

Apocrypha (6)

In a multi-cultural area the courts use interpreters all the time - in fact it is a requirement of the Human Rights Act. The usual languages are no problem, and there is an increasing demand for Eastern European languages, but we are occasionally stumped by a really out-of-the-way one, such as Twi, a Nigerian up-country dialect. There are fewer than a handful of accredited interpreters for that one.

For the profoundly deaf there are sign language interpreters. We saw a case a while ago where the defendant and one witness needed signing, so an interpreter was booked. He was a cheery young man who took to his task with enthusiasm. In fact at one stage he was animatedly waving his arms in all directions while explaining an abstruse legal point to the man in the dock. A colleague pushed his notepad across, on which he had written:- "Tell him to keep his voice down".

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