A Stimulating Conversation With Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche

See on Scoop.itInterpreting in Africa

I have just finished reading Found in Translation, the new book  which has just come out by Nataly and Jost, and is already lined up for a third printing!  I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in the T&I sector.

See on mariacristinadelavegamusings.wordpress.com

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Politicsweb – Language rights in South African courts – PARTY

See on Scoop.itInterpreting in Africa

The right to a fair trial in South Africa is entrenched in section 35(3) of our Constitution and includes – very importantly – section 35(3)(k) which assures the right to be tried in a language that the accused person understands. This is essential to enable those charged with crimes to defend themselves adequately and answer properly to any charges levied against them by the State.

The protection of this right in South African constitutional jurisprudence follows international legal principle. For example, Article 14(3)(a) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that in the determination of any criminal charge  everyone shall be entitled “to be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him”.

Our Constitution also goes further – in keeping with international legal and human rights standards – that if those who are charged with crimes do not understand the language in which their case is being tried, they have the right to have the proceedings interpreted into a language they do understand. This means that judicial authorities in South Africa must provide adequate interpreters and translators throughout the hierarchy of our court system in order to give effect to this right.

This is important specifically in light of the fact that South Africa has 11 official languages, as well as a diverse range of communities. Two recent cases – both of them alarming, considering the constitutional imperatives concerning language use in our courts – illustrate that proper access to justice may depend on the consistent implementation of this right.

Multilingua Africa‘s insight:

This is why we have court interpreters in South Africa – we should really appreciate the work they do!

See on www.politicsweb.co.za

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Translating informed consent forms shouldn’t just be lip-service

Over the years, I have had to deal with many requests for the translation of informed consent forms and questionnaires, and it astounds me that researchers often see translation as peripheral to the process of acquiring informed consent. South Africa’s African languages do not have a developed technical register, and so to achieve proper understanding, the best strategy is often to use an English loan word plus an explanation or paraphrase. But researchers tend to want an exact translation, without realising that borrowing an English word is meaningless if your audience doesn’t actually understand English! To my mind, to achieve proper informed consent and not just tokenism, researchers should work with translators to produce an original ICF in plain English, and check whether the text is appropriate before requesting translation. One US organisation approached me (many years ago, I admit), and when I explained all this, they said, “No, we just want a word for word translation that the patients can sign.” Needless to say, we didn’t accept the job.

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