Clash of world perspectives: the discursive practices of the law, the witness and the interpreter


  • Sandra Hale University of Western Sydney



translation equivalence, register, style, court interpreting, lawyer discourse, witness discourse


A number of studies have demonstrated the clash of discourse worlds that occurs when the law and the lay client meet, due to the specific expectations and assumptions of relevance of the law which conflict with the everyday discourse practices of the lay client. Such a clash often causes frustration on both sides, and more seriously, can have a negative impact on the outcome of legal cases. This paper has applied the principle of lawyer client discourse differences to the situation where the client is a non-English speaker requiring the intervention of an interpreter. This paper bases its hypothesis on authentic data of Spanish-English interpreted proceedings and reports the main results of discourse alterations by the interpreter.

Author Biography

Sandra Hale, University of Western Sydney

SANDRA HALE is Lecturer in Spanish, Interpreting and Linguistics at the University of West Sydney, Australia, and co-ordinator of the BA in Interpreting and Translation and the Graduate Diploma in Interpreting and Translation. She has worked as a Spanish interpreter in the community, specializing in court interpreting, and in conference interpreting for many years. Her qualifications include a BA in Interpreting and Translation, a Diploma in Translation and a Diploma of Education. She is a Master of Applied Linguistics, has NAATI accreditation, and is currently undertaking a PhD in Forensic Linguistics and Court Interpreting.



How to Cite

Hale, S. (2013). Clash of world perspectives: the discursive practices of the law, the witness and the interpreter. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 4(2), 197–209.