“That’s not my understanding”
Interpretation in the Ghanaian multilingual court
This study investigates the extent to which mostly untrained interpreters render accurately the voices of participants in Ghanaian district courts, and how the participants orient to shortcomings in the interpretations. Based on 7.5 hours of audio-recordings, we found that 91% of interpretations were accurate. The 9% of interpretations that were inaccurate were of five types: non-equivalence in propositional content, omissions, elaborations, incorrect grammatical forms and literal translations. We also found that on some occasions, inaccurate interpretations are corrected by other court participants, making the interpreting activity a collaborative effort. Judges were the most likely to intervene when an interpretation went wrong, perhaps a reflection of the sense of responsibility felt by them for anything that happens in their courtroom.
Keywords: multilingualism, courts, interpreting, translation, accuracy, Ghana
Published online: 04 December 2020
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