1.3 Ng

| September 3, 2020

Eva Ng. (2011). A Survey of Court Interpreters’ Use of Direct versus Reported Speech in the Hong Kong Courts. International Journal of Law, Language & Discourse 1(3), 36-63.

Abstract: The findings of my ongoing data-based study of courtroom interpreting in the Hong Kong courts reveal a deviation from the generally held principle which requires professional interpreters to interpret in the first person. It has been observed from the data that when interpreting the speech of legal professionals, the interpreters would invariably avoid speaking in the first person. The shifts are so uniform in the sense that they occur only in one direction—a phenomenon which theories previously advanced fail to explain. This has led me to the hypotheses that interpreters in the Hong Kong courtroom are reluctant to assume the voice of the legal professionals because of their consciousness of the power asymmetry between lay-participants and legal professionals in the courtroom and that the practice has little to do with the content of an utterance. In order to test my hypotheses, an online questionnaire was conducted with court interpreters. The results of this survey seem to contest the widely held view that the use of reported speech is a distancing tactic used by the court interpreter to disclaim responsibility for what was said by the speaker, but lend support to my hypotheses.

Keywords: first-person interpreting, third-person interpreting, direct-speech, reported speech, power asymmetry


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Category: Volume 1