Criminal Defense of Immigrants
§ 4.7 B. Written Translation
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“Interpreting” and “translating” both involve the transfer of information from a source language to a target language. Translation refers to the written form of this process while interpretation denotes the oral form. A person may be highly skilled at making written translations, and yet not be able to interpret orally between one language and another. It is a mistake to assume that because a person has one skill, s/he is also competent to perform the other. A person who is able to communicate conversationally in a foreign language may be entirely illiterate in that language. Where a written translation is necessary, counsel should ensure the translator is literate in both languages.
 Source language,” as utilized by interpreter professionals, refers to the language of the original message. When a witness answers questions in Mandarin, and the interpreter renders them into English, Mandarin is the source language.
 “Target language” is the language into which the message is being translated. In the above example, English is the target language.
 See United States v. Mosquera, 816 F. Supp. 168, 175 (E.D.N.Y. 1993) (Weinstein, J.). Most of the law discussed in this chapter concerns interpretation, rather than translation. For a case ordering translation of documents, see id.