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In some places (courts) court interpreting is considered conference interpreting (ECJ, ICTY, ICJ and other international courts). In others it's 'just' court interpreting. Is it just when it's simultaneous from a booth? Rather than chuchotage? (In which case that's odd because chuchotage can also be conference interpreting). Are there any clear cut criteria to distinguish?

asked 28 Nov '14, 14:31

Andy's gravatar image


edited 28 Nov '14, 14:41

Hello Andy - I was wondering about this too. Having worked as an interpreter in both settings, one of the answers I could come up with is that the "conference court" work met AIIC requirements for team strength, session times, use of booths, etc etc, and the "just court" work didn't. All too often in the latter I was on my own, sitting next to the defendants and whispering in their ears, for however long the session went.

Another difference is that the entire process is systematically interpreted. In a regular court setting, interpreters are used only when needed, hence the make-shift working conditions. In a conference court setting, booths are built-in; lawyers, clerks and judges all come from different linguistic and legal backgrounds, and all sessions of a trial are systematically interpreted. This is also most probably because many of the courts you mentioned are part of organizational systems like the UN and the EU that have agreements with AIIC.

Therefore, to go back to your question, it probably is the presence of booths which gives the entire process a higher status. There are high-level civil trials that also meet conference conditions, but on more of a one-off basis and not institutionally.

It is too bad that "just court" is seen as "just" court, because it affects people's lives far more directly and immediately than our usual conference work does.

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answered 30 Nov '14, 09:07

JuliaP's gravatar image


edited 09 Jan '15, 20:48

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question asked: 28 Nov '14, 14:31

question was seen: 4,495 times

last updated: 09 Jan '15, 20:48 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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