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Que Problema? How Accurate is that Translation"

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Volume: 6 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1991) Pages: 18-22,51
E L Rees
Date Published
6 pages
This article presents an overview of the requirements for proficient Spanish translators in the criminal justice system.
Proficiency depends on native ability in one language and native or near native command of another language with a high degree of cultural literacy in both. Because of the numerous regional and dialectal variations, an attorney should confer beforehand with the translator, in the presence of the client, and explain the proceeding, the nature of the charges, and the client's origins. Also because some common legal terms do not always appear in print, before each case, the attorney and translator should decide which general and specific legal terms will be used. A translator should devise questions that will determine the client's understanding of the legal terms. In addition a number of translations must be learned in advance, in particular, for the swearing in statements and the Miranda or constitutional rights declarations. The Roman or civil law code constitutes another fundamental aspect of translating that is often ignored or considered of little importance. Qualified translators are needed on a national level particularly in Spanish speaking environments such as Dade County, FL. Qualifications requirements usually include fluency in court and legal terminology as well as letters of references, personal background, and security checks.


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