Quality in legal interpreting: How to reconcile sociolinguistics with ideas of binary evaluation

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearchpeer-review


Language is central to legal processes. Courts often work in the national language, and interpreters facilitate understanding and mediate meaning when there is a mismatch between the language of the court and lay participants’ linguistic competences. Court interpreters in Denmark are primarily untrained ‘mother-tongue’ interpreters, there is no national certification and no recognized training. Several reports have argued that the “quality of legal interpreting” is low in terms of the interpreters’ professionalism and linguistic competences (see e.g. Rigsrevisonen 2018). This is a fundamental problem to the legal process, and to justice. Yet, the court’s understanding of quality and of language is worth taking a closer look at from a sociolinguistic perspective. We find it of little value to evaluate court meetings in terms of binary categories. Rather, we ask: How do interpreter-mediated court cases unfold linguistically and socially? Why do things unfold in particular ways?
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventSociolinguistic symposium 2022 - Ghent, Ghent
Duration: 13 Jul 202216 Jul 2022
Conference number: 24


ConferenceSociolinguistic symposium 2022

ID: 317507095