Common Law in an Uncommon Courtroom: Judicial Interpreting in Hong Kong

Date: 17/10/2019

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Location: OEM1018, 10/F, Oen Hall Main Building, Ho Sin Hang Campus, Hong Kong Baptist University, Waterloo Road, Kowloon Tong

Speaker: Dr Eva Ng

Translation Seminar Series


This presentation explores a unique courtroom in the common-law jurisdiction. This uniqueness is particularly characterised by the use of English as the trial language in a predominantly Cantonese-speaking society and the presence of court participants who are proficient in both languages. This scenario poses specific challenges to the interpreters who work within it, and at times renders the interpretation service superfluous. This study, inter alia, problematises judges’ intervention in court proceedings, Chinese witnesses testifying in English, as well as English-language trials heard by Chinese jurors. It demonstrates how the use of chuchotage can be inadequate and inappropriate in the Hong Kong courtroom, where interpreting in an English-language trial is catering to the needs of the linguistic majority.

About the Speaker:

Dr Eva Ng is Assistant Professor of the Translation Programme in the School of Chinese, The University of Hong Kong. She previously served in the Judiciary of Hong Kong as a court interpreter, and has researched extensively in courtroom interpreting and forensic linguistics. Her works have appeared in the International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, Language and Law, International Journal of Interpreter Education and other leading journals. She is the developer of the award-winning Resource for Interpreting website and the Newssary app and recipient of the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (2014), Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award (2016), University Teaching Innovation Award (2017), and Faculty Research Award (2019).

Common Law in an Uncommon Courtroom: Judicial Interpreting in Hong Kong
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