Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 4.6 (B)

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(B)  Consecutive Interpretation follows a statement after the speaker has stopped speaking.[20] The speaker pauses, to allow the interpreter to interpret what has just been said.  This form is primarily used in court to interpret questions and answers verbatim in their entirety.  This type of interpretation is used for witness interpreting: first the witness testifies in the foreign language, then the witness pauses.  The interpreter then translates the foreign-language testimony into English for the benefit of all present in the courtroom.  “Consecutive interpretation is the preferred mode for interpretation of a party or witness on the witness stand because it allows for the attorneys, judge and jury to focus their attention on the witness, his body language, and other non-verbal cues, rather than the interpreter.  In addition, consecutive interpretation is often considered the best mode for achieving legal equivalency.” [21]

[20] See United States v. Bennett, 848 F.2d 1134, 1140 n.7 (11th Cir. 1988); Khamfeuang Thongvanh v. State, 494 N.W.2d 679, 681 (Iowa 1993).

[21] Court Interpreters in Criminal Proceedings: Appointment, Qualification and Effective Utilization, Chap. 6 in American Bar Ass’n Comm’n on Immigration, Judicial Immigration Education Project, A Judge’s Guide to Immigration Law in Criminal Proceedings 6-19 to 6-20 (P. Goldberg & C. Wolchok, eds., 2004).