To get your foreign language audiovisual exhibit admitted you should first have it transcribed and translated. Here is why.
You may have thought to let the court interpreter translate the exhibit live on the bench, for the benefit of the jury. Or maybe do the same during a deposition.
Either one of these is highly discouraged. Even if you are able to convince an interpreter to do it, it will ruin the record, the court reporter will hate you and the interpreter may be forced to say into the record that they cannot guarantee the accuracy of the translation. Which in and of itself may make it pointless.
Here is what happens.
The audio quality of any recording is questionable.
Even with the best of recordings, our professional transcribers with specialized headsets have to listen to each recording about 20 times to render a proper transcription.
Simultaneous interpreting is not allowed for witness testimony.
For the reasons explained in a prior article, simultaneous interpreting mode is not permissible when you have a court reporter recording. The interpreter will be talking at the same time the audio source is playing in the background which may be confusing for the court reporter.
Even if you are able to go segment by segment and position the interpreter is such a way that the audio source is clearly heard and you allow the interpreter to pause and translate, even then, you would need to allow the interpreter to replay the segment about 20 times to confirm the proper translation.
We routinely do transcriptions and translations and end up discovering new words that were mentioned almost at each new instance.
Interpreters are recommended to state for the court record that they “cannot guarantee the accuracy of the translation” whenever asked to do an on-site translation of audiovisuals.
A proper certified transcription and translation will be in a two-column format and will include the original audio transcription (in whatever language or combination of languages) on the left column and the English-only version on the right column. The speakers should also be identified on the left.