Give me some advice to the script

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Dec 9, 2017 13:56
Give me some advice to the script

This is the script for the presentation I will do on Dec. 21st. Unfortunately, I can't upload the power point slides here, but I'll be happy if you read and give advice to the script.

Current Situation and Issues of Legal Interpreters
  Hello, everyone! Today, I’ll talk about “Current Situation and Issues of Legal Interpreters.” Have you heard the word ‘legal interpreter’ or ‘court interpreter’ or ‘法廷通訳’ or ‘司法通訳’ ?
First of all, I’ll explain what is a legal interpreter. There are three persons. One says “Hello!” and the interpreter says “こんにちは.” Then this person understand what he says. This is a usual interpreter. Legal interpreters are interpreters in court, legal court. For example, a prosecutor, 検察官, says “殺人により起訴” and a legal interpreter says “Litigation over homicide” then the accused, 被告人, understand what he says. Does everyone understand?
  Next, I’ll talk about why I chose this theme. It was an article on Japan Times, December 24, 2016.
200. Does anybody know what this number mean?
This is form the article I talked. Errors committed by a court interpreter found in the recent trial of a former member of the Japanese Red Army extremist group underlines the importance of ensuring the accuracy of translations in trials involving foreign defendants or witnesses. The evaluation found some 200 errors and omissions regarding the testimony of three Indonesians given on Sept. 29 and 30. 200 mistakes! That made me surprised and I started to be interested in legal interpreter. Moreover, in this class, I found how difficult it is to communicate using foreign language, because I sometimes don’t know how to say it in English though I know how to say in Japanese. Adding to this reason, we are in law class, so I think we need to know about the fact of legal interpreters.
Legal interpreters are, in particular terms, different from usual interpreters, so next I talk about characteristics of legal interpreters.
1. Interpreters must be on neutral positon, not on prosecutor’s position, not on attorney’s position.
2. Technical legal expertise and system
In a court, they use technical terms like ‘in conspiracy,’ 共謀, ‘plaintiff, ’ 原告, ‘stay of execution,’ 執行猶予, and so on.
3. Systematic correspondence
The order of questioning is decided.
4. Strict accuracy
Using easier words or more difficult words, summary is not allowed.
5. Disparity of cultural power
For instance, the way to apologize is different from each country and this sometimes makes it difficult to tell accused’s feelings, so one side has advantage.
In Japan, as you know from the article, there are some issues.
1. Lack of training courses for legal interpreters
2. No certification standards
3. Arbitrary selection and registration of interpreters by the judges
4. No ‘check interpreter’ system
5. No instruments for making interpreters responsible for their interpretation
6. Flawed judicial system
To find solutions to these problems, let’s compare with other countries. There may be some hints.
First, America. America has a wider cultural and linguistic representation than Japan. They stress the necessity of “certifying interpreters based on the results of criterion-referenced performance examinations” A certified interpreter is “an individual who has passed an oral and written examination”. The exam is performance-based interpreter testing, which is based on rigorous testing practices
Next, Germany. As you know, Germany is one of EU countries and there are treaties between EU countries. This is key point. This makes it easier to deal with judge between EU countries. In EU, such treaties are often used. In Germany each state determines its requirement and procedure of certification system, but Non-certified interpreters are allowed to be court interpreter. Certified interpreters are allowed to write official papers. All states must enact law about legal interpreter. They premise ‘personal aptitude’ and ‘technical aptitude’.
Third, Catalunya in Spain, which is one of Multi-cultural country. Those cannot understand Spanish, which is lingua franca in Caralunya, is permitted to use their autonomous community’s language. There are certification systems but certification is not necessarily required. The most unique point is that they decide a interpreter by inviting a bid. The department of justice, 司法省 asks whether there are companies and persons who want to do interpreters’ job and companies and persons apply for the bid, then who offers the highest quality do their job. This urges competition and enable them to deal with variety of languages in court. In Japan, however, making a bid is a difficult way because of the lack of the legal interpreter. In some minor language, limited people have to do their job. There is no space of choice.
Then, how legal interpreters in Japan should be ? We live in a global world and many many people are moving around the world. A lot of people come into Japan.
This is the rate of crimes committed by foreigner in Japan. The rate has sharply increased and now still in about 3%. The number of foreigners who need interpreter is not a few.
Because of globalization, crimes are also globalized. Terrorism has expanded more than two countries. It started in America, then happened other place at the same time and terrorism group become more powerful. In this case, the idea of EU treaty is effective.
In Japan, Saiban-in, citizen judge system has enacted since 2009. In a serious affair, you need to tell what foreign accused say not only to professional judge but also citizen judge.
Based on these data I introduced, in conclusion, I have four ideas to improve Japanese legal interpreter system.
1. Creating a certification system
There are non-official certification systems but it doesn’t provide us clear standards. We need to create it.
2. Providing more learning materials
To do a legal interpreter’s job, you should learn but some people want to be legal interpreters have difficulties to learn and give up becoming. This is ‘法廷通訳ハンドブック’ published by Japan legal interpreter association. You need more such materials.
3. Introducing a professional code of conduct
This is a point of ethics or moral. Legal interpreter need to know how professional should be.
4. Increasing training opportunities, like study session, role playing and so on
In case of terrorism, however, the ideas limited in Japanese system are not enough. We need to make up something like global treaty. Not only in Japan but also whole over the world. International cooperation is vital. The style of cooperation will be treaty, agreement, declaration of the rights and may be other style as never before.
The last of my presentation, I express my gratitude to professors and friends who gave me great advice and listeners. Thank you for listening.