Police Interpreting: A View from the Australian Context

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

University of Canberra, Australia

Abstract

In the global village of today, more people have been moving and migrating than ever before creating a need for better communication. Thus community interpreting rose as a specialization serving the needs of members of the community who are unable to communicate with the system. Within this broad field of interpreting the specialist area of legal interpreting assumed a high position. However, legal interpreting is commonly understood to mean only court interpreting. This tends to obscure that fact that a great deal of ‘legal interpreting’ takes place outside the court. Before a matter goes to the ‘public’ court room, interpreters have spent days and perhaps weeks assisting in the investigation of a matter. This is the field of police interpreting. Although it takes place ‘behind the scenes’ it nevertheless deserves the attention of academics. The context of police interpreting has for too long been closed off to the public. However, political, economic, and human rights concerns are now putting more pressure to open up the field for more investigation.

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