8.1 Mlundi

| September 2, 2020

Simon Mlundi. (2020). Informal Instant Translation in the Tanzanian Courts: Law Professionals’ Perceptions on the Efficacy of English versus Kiswahili in Adjudication of Justice. International Journal of Law, Language & Discourse 8(1), 25-45.

Abstract: It is widely known that language plays a fundamental role in the administration of justice. Court languages in Tanzania are Kiswahili and English. The English language is used predominantly for recording and writing of judgments in the Subordinate and High Courts of Tanzania. Kiswahili is used for hearing and recording all proceedings in Primary Courts. The magistrates in Subordinate Courts listen to testimonies in Kiswahili and then translate instantly into English when writing court records. This process of translating court hearings on spot has been considered to be problematic among scholars. This study will examine the challenges of informal instant translation of testimonies from Kiswahili to English in the Subordinate Courts of Tanzania. Specifically, it will focus on the perceptions of law professionals towards the efficacy of the English versus Kiswahili in the adjudication of justice. The study was conducted in the cities of Tanga and Dodoma. Data were collected through observations and interviews. It was found that there were a number of challenges faced by magistrates while instantly translating Kiswahili hearings into English for records. There were also contradicting perceptions of law professionals on the efficacy of English versus Kiswahili.

Keywords: Kiswahili, informal instant translation, court language, legal system, adjudication of justice, efficacy of English versus Kiswahili, Tanzanian Court Model


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Category: Volume 8