Formulation of court interpreting models: A South African perspective

Samuel Joseph Lebese


In South Africa there are no models of court interpreting to serve as a guide for court interpreters when performing their task. This is because there is no proper definition of the role of a court interpreter. Models of court interpreting define and describe the process by stating what court interpreters are actually doing when carrying out their task. The absence of these models presents challenges to South African court interpreters as they are expected to follow international models which are formulated culturally, using English metaphorical language which differs from that of indigenous South African languages. As a result, the metaphorical language is likely to be misinterpreted by South African court interpreters as English is not their first language. The application of international models is likely to cause challenges when applied in the South African context, hence the need to formulate models of court interpreting which can be applied to the South African linguistic context. The study follows a qualitative research approach and uses multifaceted theoretical frameworks, namely descriptive translation studies (DTS), cognitive process analysis, and content analysis in collecting and analysing the data.


court interpreters, cognitive teaching approach, court interpreting models, the role of court interpreters, court interpreters’ workshops

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ISSN 2223-9936 (online); ISSN 1027-3417 (print)

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