From my new book Interpreters and War Crimes (Routledge), I will discuss the issues of individual interpreters’ legal responsibility and ethical choices in unlawful or potentially unlawful acts. Would defences such as “I was just interpreting” and “I had to follow my superior’s order” work for interpreters accused of criminal acts? They did not in the case of British military trials for Japanese war crimes in the aftermath of the Pacific War. Drawing on legal doctrines and ethical concerns, I will explore the implications of the ineffectiveness of such defences for interpreters in current conflict zones.
About the Speaker:
Kayoko Takeda is a professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies in the College of Intercultural Communication at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. She is the author of Interpreting the Tokyo War Crimes Trial and Interpreters and War Crimes and co-editor of New Insights in the History of Interpreting.