Zakon had the privilege and pleasure of attending Essex University on an extremely wet day to introduce the subject of interpreting for the police
Essex University was the host and Zakon was given a wide open brief to give students an insight into interpreting for the police. With just two hours on such a vast subject, we focussed on the subject of witness interviews.
The audience came from a wide background and a large number of languages were represented which made for a great dynamic in the room. One thing that they had in common was that police interpreting was a new topic within their studies.
We started by exploring some legislation which specifically related to police interpreters and their rights and entitlements. We then looked at the various levels and abilities of interviewing officers that interpreters would be working with before introducing two methods of recording the interview, namely visually or on paper. The visually recorded interview in particular is under much scrutiny in many court trials.
Students were introduced to the structure of interviews that they may be required to interpret and were given guidance on the appropriate way in which to layout a statement form. We examined the importance of communicating the victims personal statement and how this should be recorded and explained how impactful that this can be in court.
We explored the subject of the visually recorded interview and discussed some of the issues that these present for interpreters. We concluded by having some fun with some demonstrations of how bias in questioning affects an interview and how altering a single word can alter a witnesses memory. This left students under no illusion as to to important the role of interpreting absolutely correctly is within criminal investigations.
Students left the input wide eyed and stimulated at a new topic, here at Zakon we hope that some will consider working as an interpreter within law at a later date.
Zakon would like to thank Simon (Zakon) and Lili (lecturer (in interpreting) at Essex University) for making this possible, both have a previous working relationship and mutual interest in police interpreting.
Universities and other organisations can book similar bespoke inputs by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org