Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
PP-Tu-pm-S2-3: Parallel papers Tuesday afternoon seminar room 2
Tuesday, 02/Jul/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Eva Ng
Location: Seminar room 2
Storey Hall level 7

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Real Court, Moot Court and Virtual Court: the Present and Future of Court Interpreter Training Settings ---- A Case Study of China’s Experience

YU Lei

Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China, People's Republic of

The situated learning theory purports that learning best takes place in the context in which it is going to be used. In the court interpreter training curriculum, undoubtedly most training scenarios are situated in the courtroom context. Accordingly, the design and use of the courtroom setting is an essential court interpreter training pedagogy. Through a comparative study, this paper intends to, from both the trainer's and trainee's perspectives, analyzes setting building through three different approaches: real court and moot court, which are most widely adopted at present, as well as the very recently applied virtual court, a setting created by VR technology. From the trainer's perspective, this study finds that virtual court can be built to be adapted to most training purposes of real court and moot court and it goes further to give rise to new pedagogies for court interpreting training (mobile learning, programmed interpreting tasks, virtual role play), in that it is free from temporal and spatial constraints. From the trainees' perspective (based on qualitative data collected through focus group interviews and trainee's learning journals), this study finds that though there is not clear evidence that any of the three setting building approaches significantly surpasses the other two in terms of learning outcome, virtual court is the best in motivating trainees. This study proposes that virtual court is not going to replace real court or moot court, yet it indeed opens up a new space, hence a likely future generation of education technology for court interpreting training.

Investigating the Norms of Interpreting Employed in Selected Philippine Courtrooms

Raquel Renido Jimenez

University of Santo Tomas, Philippines

Court interpreting is perceived to promote successful communication among court participants who speak languages other than the official language of the court. It helps the judges and jury in courts of law to make sure that the message is accurately conveyed and fair decisions are derived. However, there are cases in which misinterpretation occurs. For instance, an interpreter may have problems translating words or statements in the witness’ testimony from English to Filipino and vice versa, leading to communication breakdown. To avoid this problem, interpreting should ensure that qualities like accuracy and completeness are observed and such qualities may be achieved by employing norms in interpreting. In the Philippines, there is little evidence that court interpreting norms is widely studied. Anchored on Wang’s (2012) model, this study will investigate the interpreting norms used in selected Philippine courtrooms. Using qualitative approach, specifically content analysis, 10 audio recordings of court proceedings will be transcribed and analyzed to determine the interpreting norms. From the data gathered, it is hoped that adequacy, explicitation, specificity, and explicitness among others, are applied during interpreting. If court interpreting falls short of the expected standards of these categories, it is possible that the judges arrive at incorrect decision of the case under trial. Valuable conclusions that would contribute to theory, practice, and/ or policy in court interpreting are hoped to be derived from these investigation.

Adversarial versus Inquisitorial, which is more antagonistic? A contrastive multimodal analysis of courtroom discourse

Chuanyou Yuan

Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China, People's Republic of

This paper is a further study of a previous research (Chuanyou Yuan, 2018) on multimodal discourse analysis of Chinese and American criminal trials, which examined two cases tried 15 years ago and concluded that “the American courtroom is more like a battlefield …, whereas the Chinese courtroom is more like a lecture hall” in terms of multimodality, e.g. speech, gestures, gaze and bodily movements. This paper re-examines multimodality in courtroom trials in different legal systems, including the American, the Australian, and the Chinese court trials, taking as data more recent high-profile criminal cases gathered from online videos and court observation. Some new findings are expected, for example, the Australian criminal trials are less antagonistic or adversarial than the American ones, while the Chinese trials (especially communication between the prosecution and the defense) are becoming more hostile and less collaborative in terms of multimodal appraisal. The theoretical frameworks employed are the SFL-based Appraisal system and paralanguage model. This paper centers on the legal actors’ verbal language (speech) and paralanguage (gestures, gaze and bodily movements) in making the kinds of meaning – in SFL terms the trilogy of ideational, interpersonal, and textual meaning in the courtrooms.


Chuanyou Yuan, 2018. A battlefield or a lecture hall? A contrastive multimodal discourse analysis of courtroom trials, Social Semiotics

Jing Hao, S. Hood, 2019. Valuing science: The role of language and body language, Journal of Pragmatics 139 (2019)

Martin, J.R., Zappavigna, M., 2019. Embodied Meaning: A Systemic Functional Perspective on Paralanguage, Functional Linguistics 6.1 (2019)

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