Friday 20th of May 2022


La voix de l’interprète, la parole des sans-voix


Caterina Falbo, IUSLIT-SSLMIT, Università di Trieste pdf_icon_30x30



Abstract: As in other countries, in Italy people suspected or accused of crime and witnesses are entitled to the assistance of an interpreter if they

do not speak or understand the language of the proceedings. The right to interpretation and translation is acknowledged as a “meta-right”, 
i.e. a right which allows suspects, defendants and witnesses to exercise their fundamental rights, including the right to defence. The interpreter-mediated interaction taking place in the courtroom is the core of a series of actions which have an impact on the lives of those foreign-language speakers. The paper argues that, on one hand, the rules governing tape recording and the transcription of proceedings contribute to hiding the voice of foreign-language speakers, whereas, on the other, the quality of interpreting services may result in a discrepancy between what the participants in the interaction say and what is actually conveyed through interpreting. Under those circumstances, the dialogue between foreign-language speakers and the judicial institutions sounds like a verbal exchange between “voiceless” and “earless” interlocutors and leads to a fundamental question: what is the value of the "truth" established in the courtroom through interpreter- mediated interaction?


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