In a fair trial, a person who does not speak or understand the official language of the proceedings has the right to be assisted by an interpreter in order to participate in the proceedings. This right applies at all stages of the proceedings and primarily concerns the suspect or accused person who, without the interpreter's assistance, would not be able to exercise her/his right of defence. Recently, in Europe the right to linguistic assistance has also been granted to the victim of a criminal offence. In such a codified and binding institutional framework, characterised by a significant asymmetry in terms of the power and knowledge of the parties involved, the interpreter plays a crucial role, as s/he makes it possible to overcome language barriers, thereby restoring the conditions for adversarial dialogue and re-establishing equality of arms between the opposing parties. It is in this specific context that we shall examine a guiding principle of a fair trial, interpreters’ neutrality, to discuss its nature, challenges and implications. Our analysis will complicate this precept applying it to the function of the judicial interpreter and lead us to question its functioning "in situation" as well as its relevance as a normative and ethic standard that also calls for impartiality. The considerations and issues raised are thus in line with research on dialogue interpreting, whose aim is to study the "absence of bias" of the interpreter in a context of communication and institutional interaction.

À propos de la neutralité de l’interprète judiciaire

Elio Ballardini
2019

Abstract

In a fair trial, a person who does not speak or understand the official language of the proceedings has the right to be assisted by an interpreter in order to participate in the proceedings. This right applies at all stages of the proceedings and primarily concerns the suspect or accused person who, without the interpreter's assistance, would not be able to exercise her/his right of defence. Recently, in Europe the right to linguistic assistance has also been granted to the victim of a criminal offence. In such a codified and binding institutional framework, characterised by a significant asymmetry in terms of the power and knowledge of the parties involved, the interpreter plays a crucial role, as s/he makes it possible to overcome language barriers, thereby restoring the conditions for adversarial dialogue and re-establishing equality of arms between the opposing parties. It is in this specific context that we shall examine a guiding principle of a fair trial, interpreters’ neutrality, to discuss its nature, challenges and implications. Our analysis will complicate this precept applying it to the function of the judicial interpreter and lead us to question its functioning "in situation" as well as its relevance as a normative and ethic standard that also calls for impartiality. The considerations and issues raised are thus in line with research on dialogue interpreting, whose aim is to study the "absence of bias" of the interpreter in a context of communication and institutional interaction.
Elio Ballardini
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/737163
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