Nov 27, 2015

ATA 2015: Deposition Interpreting Workshop

ATA 56th Annual Conference Session J3
Thursday, Nov 05, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Session Summary by
Miyako Okamoto

Izumi Suzuki started her workshop by asking the attendees’ preferred language, Japanese or English. Then she asked how many have ever interpreted in deposition. She saw only few hands and decided to give basic level of workshop. Basic does not always mean easy. All of the attendees were on the hot seat trying to provide accurate interpreting of a video-taped sample case, TRZ vs Max Mutual Insurance. Here is the brief summary of what we learned.

Deposition (証言録取) is a proceeding outside the courtroom in which a witness gives testimony. There will be (a) lawyer(s) for the deponent (証人側弁護人) side, (an)other lawyer(s) for the deposing side (相手側弁護人), court reporter (法廷速記人), main interpreter (メイン通訳人), check interpreter (チェック通訳人), and video specialist (ビデオ録画人). The deponent and interpreters will have to be sworn in by responding to a question read by the court reporter. Here is the question for the deponent: “Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to make is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? (あなたの証言において、真実を、すべての真実そして真実だけを述べることを厳粛に誓いますか。)

Preparation is critical. Since there are many statements and phrases repeated in difference cases, it is a good idea to obtain a copy of a similar case from the lawyer’s office. Read the materials in advance, and memorize statements phrases used in deposition. Bring your computer with Bridge software so that you can read the court reporters records converted to normal English on your computer. There will be many objections during the examination, so try not to be disturbed.

Some of the expressions used as reasons for objections are;
Lack of foundation/Foundation (論拠が欠如しています)
Leading (誘導尋問です)
Ambiguous (曖昧です)
Asked and answered (既に質問され答えています)

Interpreters have to allude themselves as “the interpreter,” if they have to speak; “Counsel, the interpreter is quite fatigued. May he/she have a brief recess?”

It was a rare opportunity for learning about deposition and how to prepare for interpreting in deposition. We all appreciate Izumi for sharing her rich experiences in legal interpreting.  

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