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ERIC Number: ED435172
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Interpreter Alterations to Pragmatic Features in Trial Testimony.
Fraser, Bruce; Freedgood, Laura
A study demonstrated that court interpreter failure to preserve pragmatic features in the interpreted version of courtroom testimony can potentially distort both the lawyer's question and the witness' response. Pragmatic features are defined as those aspects of an utterance that signal how the speaker intends the message to be taken. While some of the alterations made in translation are relatively trivial, others are serious and may critically influence the jury's assessment of whether the defendant is guilty or innocent. Data were drawn from court colloquies involving English-speaking attorneys and Spanish-speaking witnesses, using audio and videotapes from four trials. Focus of the analysis is on alterations to pragmatic markers, words or phrases that modify the basic message or signal a separate one. Results indicate that addition of pragmatic markers and features to witness answers can make the witness appear less confident of the testimony. When the witness is the defendant, the situation is potentially more critical. In contrast, deleting these same features from a witness response removes disfluencies, making the witness or defendant appear more confident, and he/she may be potentially perceived more favorably by the jury. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A