Court Interpreting Services

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Here at Rosetta Translation we offer a full range of court interpreting services to meet the needs of our clients.

What is Court Interpreting?

Interpreting (also known as interpretation, spoken translation or oral translation) consists of translating the spoken word orally. Court interpreting, also known legal interpreting or judicial interpreting, involves interpreting during legal proceedings, whether these take place in a court room, tribunal or conference hall.

When is Court Interpreting Used?

Court interpreting is useful – and indeed needed – for any court proceedings, where an important participant in the proceedings, such as the defendent or a witness, does not master the local language, and therefore cannot follow proceedings adequately. Sometimes, more than one language pair is required.

Court interpreters have a considerable amount of responsibility as any mistakes made could undermine the case in question. They also face more difficult working conditions than other interpreters as court rooms are not usually equipped with booths and interpreting equipment (except in the United States). Their work involves interpreting for speakers who are often nervous and unused to public speaking, which adds to the challenge and demands an even greater level of concentration. As such, court interpreters may ask the judge to be allowed a break during proceedings.

Court Interpreting Services in London

Headquartered in central London, here at Rosetta Translation we are ideally placed to organise court interpreting in London, whether it is consecutive, simultaneous or whispered interpreting (chuchotage) that you require, or a combination of different modes. For more information on the different modes of interpreting please visit our main interpreting services page.


What can you expect from your Court Interpreter?

The UK Crown Prosecution Services, the body responsible for prosecuting criminal cases that have been investigated by the police and other investigative organisations in England and Wales, states that “the right to an interpreter is an integral part of the right to a fair trial”. They also state that “It is a principle of English common law that the Defendant must be able to understand the charges made against them and be able to properly defend themselves”. Some UK Tribunals, on the explicit permission of the Judge, will permit a family member or close friend to act as an interpreter should you require it in court. This is also heavily dependent on the nature of the appearance in court and is much less likely to be permitted in more serious or complex offences. This is due to an increased possibility of incorrect interpreting and the ramifications it could have on legal proceedings. You can therefore expect a professional, skilled and accredited Interpreter when using Rosetta Translation for your court Interpreting needs, resting assured that no meaning is missed, and all is accurately and expertly conveyed. It is also important to note that the interpreter is bound by a duty of confidentiality not to disclose what was said in consultation between the suspect and their legal representative if present. Additionally, in order to prepare for the court appearance, the interpreter will most likely request a copy of the defendant’s and defence witnesses’ statements and copies of any prosecution witness statements which are likely to be put to the witness in cross examination. This will help them appropriately prepare for proceedings, ensuring that any relevant and important vocabulary is already prepared in advance.


The legalities of court interpreting

Court interpreters face an added challenge which requires them to be incredibly conscious and have an immaculate attention to detail as what they say on behalf of a defendant or witness in a case taken to court will be taken as fact. Accurate interpretation plays a vital role in court proceedings and can potentially make all the difference between a defendant being found guilty or not guilty. An experienced, well qualified interpreter will have impeccable linguistic competence, a professional attitude, an understanding of the legal process and the need to be impartial and uphold client confidentiality. They will also understand the importance in interpreting exactly, and only, what is asked and what is answered. This means that the court interpreters that we work with are well versed in legal matters and are particularly meticulous when it comes to meaning and accuracy in their interpretation.

Heightened emotions managed professionally

Interpreters with court experience are very familiar with dealing with clients who may be highly emotional, due to the nature of the situations around court proceedings. Oftentimes, the client our interpreter interprets for may become distressed, agitated or animated, depending on the circumstances of the case. You can be sure that by using Rosetta translation for your interpreting requirements, our interpreters will not only handle the situation with ease but with a high level of professionalism, sensitive to the nature of the work and the possibility for heightened emotions and added pressure resulting from such.


Simultaneous or Consecutive Interpreting?

Court interpreters can either work in the simultaneous style (where they convert speech into another language at the same time as the speaker) or consecutively (where they wait for the speaker to finish a few minutes or sentences of speech and speak after them, taking notes). It can be argued that consecutive interpreting, due to its nature, is less likely to have any issues arise from, say, word order between languages and therefore odd turns of phrase, so this is the form of interpreting that is most recommended in a court setting. However, simultaneous interpreting is more appropriate where more than one language pair is being used, such as in a multiple language court case.

Whether you need simultaneous or consecutive court interpreting, Rosetta Translation will only provide accredited, professional and highly experienced interpreters for your court interpreting needs. Contact us for a quote today.


If you require a written translation of legal documents, please visit our legal translation page.

Andreea Mohan

Taylor Wessing LLP

We are very pleased with the services provided by Rosetta Translations. They always send very prompt responses, transparent prices and deliver their work product at the highest standards.

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American Express

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Maximus Crushing and Screening

I have translated multiple projects with Rosetta now and I cannot emphasise how great the service they provide is; quality, turnaround time and pricing is the best I have found yet. The qualities of translations we receive are of the highest standard and communication from the start of a project to the end is consistent.

For a company looking into translations, I would highly recommend Rosetta as first pick, as the support and service they provide is first class.

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