It could be argued that court interpreting is one of the most important services required by the translation sector. When a trial is taking place that involves native speakers of more than one language then an interpreter has to be included in that trial. When this interpreter is provided by a reputable company and is fully qualified to uphold the position, then this is no cause for concern. However this isn’t always the case.
There have been several examples of when a court interpreter has failed to do their job properly; in the cases where this has been spotted it has caused considerable unrest for the trial. In even more dramatic circumstances, an error might not be spotted and a serious miscarriage of justice could take place.
During a murder trial in 2012, the legal process was brought to a shocking halt as at some point during the trial, the court interpreter admitted that he wasn’t qualified for the position and was actually taking the place of his wife who had been unable to attend. His actions caused the trial to have to be postponed, a move that cost tens of thousands of pounds.
Further problems have also arisen in the courts as, in extreme cases, solicitors have been forced to use Google Translate to communicate with foreign nationals. Although the Google Translate tool provides immediate translation, the level of accuracy is still far from perfect and should not be trusted in such an important setting.
More and more frequently in the news we hear stories of interpreters in legal cases mixing words or entire sentences up, through no intentional fault, just poor practice. It is evident from the increasing ethnic diversity in court rooms that immigration is adding to the growing demand on the legal system.
This obviously spells good things for the continued boom of the translation sector, however this growth is only sustainable and to be considered a success if service providers are doing their jobs properly.