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The Common Law in Two VoicesLanguage, Law, and the Postcolonial Dilemma in Hong Kong$
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Kwai Hang Ng

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804761642

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804761642.001.0001

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Marshaling the Legal Boundaries

Marshaling the Legal Boundaries

Court Interpreters and Juridical Formalism

(p.120) Chapter 5 Marshaling the Legal Boundaries
The Common Law in Two Voices
Stanford University Press

This chapter describes the mechanism of court interpretation through a detailed look at the Hong Kong common law system. Court interpreters in Hong Kong perform the important role of a linguistic court marshal. The discussion contends that because of the differing pragmatic dynamics between the two languages, the process of interpretation is as much a translation of denotational codes as a repragmatization of raw Cantonese utterances into well-processed English evidence. It focuses on a relatively long episode during cross-examination in an interpreter-mediated English trial that for the most part involved a three-way turn-by-turn interaction among a counsel, a witness, and a court interpreter.

Keywords:   court interpretation, linguistic court marshal, Hong Kong common law, cross-examination

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