Speak English or What?: Codeswitching and Interpreter Use in New York City Courts - Oxford Studies in Language and Law (Hardback)
  • Speak English or What?: Codeswitching and Interpreter Use in New York City Courts - Oxford Studies in Language and Law (Hardback)
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Speak English or What?: Codeswitching and Interpreter Use in New York City Courts - Oxford Studies in Language and Law (Hardback)

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£65.00
Hardback 264 Pages / Published: 16/04/2015
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This book presents a study of interpreter-mediated interaction in New York City small claims courts, drawing on audio-recorded arbitration hearings and ethnographic fieldwork. Focusing on the language use of speakers of Haitian Creole, Polish, Russian, or Spanish, the study explores how these litigants make use of their limited proficiency in English, in addition to communicating with the help of professional court interpreters. Drawing on research on courtroom interaction, legal interpreting, and conversational codeswitching, the study explores how the ability of immigrant litigants to participate in these hearings is impacted by institutional language practices and underlying language ideologies, as well as by the approaches of individual arbitrators and interpreters who vary in their willingness to accommodate to litigants and share the burden of communication with them. Litigants are shown to codeswitch between the languages in interactionally meaningful ways that facilitate communication, but such bilingual practices are found to be in conflict with court policies that habitually discourage the use of English and require litigants to act as monolinguals, using only one language throughout the entire proceedings. Moreover, the standard distribution of interpreting modes in the courtroom is shown to disadvantage litigants who rely on the interpreter, as consecutive interpreting causes their narrative testimony to be less coherent and more prone to interruptions, while simultaneous interpreting often leads to incomplete translation of legal arguments or of their opponent's testimony. Consequently, the study raises questions about the relationship between linguistic diversity and inequality, arguing that the legal system inherently privileges speakers of English.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780199337569
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 508 g
Dimensions: 239 x 157 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This richly stimulating work is the product of ethnographic observations, interviews and extensive analysis of recorded interactions in several small claims courts in New York City. Although a good proportion is devoted to the analysis of code-switching and code-mixing in interpreter-mediated court interactions, the significance of the work extends beyond the micro level as it provides a comprehensive picture into organising and delivering interpreting services in a superdiverse social setting. * Rebecca Tipton, IATIS Blog *
This book is logically structured and easy to read. In addition to a comprehensive analysis of research literature in the field, Angermeyer provides excellent examples which are then thoroughly analyzed and put into the wider framework of previous research results. Angermeyer strikes a good balance between theory and examples, offering new insights for researchers, interpreter trainers, court interpreters and students of interpreting. In addition, important consequences are drawn that are of interest to the legal profession and decision-makers not only in the United States but also elsewhere. * Maria Bakti (University of Szeged), Target Vol. 30:1 *
On the whole, the volume offers clear evidence of the multiple ways in which litigants speaking languages other than English in New York courtrooms (and presumably elsewhere) are disempowered due to monolingual ideologies, institutional and economic power relationships, and failures in the structuring and process of interpreting. Litigants who do not speak English, who appear in court without representation, who do not have interpreting available at all stages of the legal process, and who are unfamiliar with the appropriate registers and ways of presenting evidence do not get to tell their story in their own voice. * Sociolinguistic Studies *
This book is logically structured and easy to read. In addition to a comprehensive analysis of research literature in the field, Angermeyer provides excellent examples which are then thoroughly analyzed and put into the wider framework of previous research results. Angermeyer strikes a good balance between theory and examples, offering new insights for researchers, interpreter trainers, court interpreters and students of interpreting. In addition, important consequences are drawn that are of interest to the legal profession and decision-makers not only in the United States but also elsewhere. * Target *
... this book goes beyond court interpreting per se, spotlighting other topics that have been under-researched to date, such as codeswitching in interpreted interactions ... brings new and original ideas and perspectives to the study of court interpreting. A breath of fresh air. * Journal of Specialised Translation *
The book raises important questions about the fairness of trial for speakers of languages other than English (LOTE) as it explores how language ideologies and institutional practices act litigants opportunity to tell their story ... It will certainly be most useful in research and teaching of multilingual practices in a legal context. * Piotr Wegorowski, Language and Law *
Angermeyer convincingly shows throughout this book how speaking a language other than English in court is a disadvantage for litigants, not only with regard to the possibility of making one's voice heard, but also for the actual legal outcome * Raphael Sannholm, Interpreting 18:2 (2016) *
I must once again applaud this thought-provoking book that brings new and original ideas and perspectives to the study of court interpreting. A breath of fresh air. * Mireia Vargas-Urpi, Journal of Specialised Translation *

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