A legislative theatre study of simultaneous interpretation in legal proceedings


  • Catrin Fflûr Huws University of Aberystwyth
  • Rhianedd M Jewell University of Aberystwyth
  • Hanna Binks University of Aberystwyth




Welsh Language Act 1993, translating, courts, interpreters, forum theatre


This paper explores simultaneous interpretation in legal proceedings. Using the legislative theatre techniques of Augusto Boal within the specific circumstances of Welsh and English in courts in Wales, the study explores a mock jury’s response to experiences of hearing proceedings via simultaneous interpretation. The study explores the impact of the interpreter’s presence on the process and considers the extent to which bilingual participants in the legal process are aware of non-bilinguals’ different experiences, and the extent to which those who listen to the proceedings via an interpreter may conflate the identity of the party/witness with that of the interpreter. It concludes with a number of recommendations in order to make monolinguals and bilinguals aware of the effects of interpretation and of the interpreter’s impact on communication.

Author Biographies

Catrin Fflûr Huws, University of Aberystwyth

Dr Catrin Fflûr Huws is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Aberystwyth University. She specialises in bilingualism within a legal setting, including the use of multiple languages in courts, and the interpretation of bilingual legislation. She was invited to give evidence to the Justice Commission for Wales and her work was also cited in the Law Commission of England and Wales’ report into the Form and Accessibility of the Law Applicable in Wales.

Rhianedd M Jewell, University of Aberystwyth

Dr Rhianedd Jewell is Senior Lecturer in Professional Welsh at Aberystwyth University. She graduated with a BA in Modern Languages (French and Italian) from the University of Oxford before completing both an MSt and DPhil there in Italian Literature. She specialises in Welsh translation studies, and in 2018 she was awarded the Dillwyn Medal in the Creative Arts and Humanities from the Learned Society of Wales for her research in the field.

Hanna Binks, University of Aberystwyth

Dr Hanna Binks is a psycholinguist with expertise in bilingualism. After completing a doctorate at Bangor University, she joined the Psychology Department at Aberystwyth as a lecturer. Her main research focus is the acquisition of the Welsh grammatical systems and the role of the extralinguistic factors that moderate language proficiency. More recently, her interest in bilingualism has broadened into the fields of health and law.


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How to Cite

Huws, C. F., Jewell, R. M., & Binks, H. (2022). A legislative theatre study of simultaneous interpretation in legal proceedings. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 29(1), 37–59. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.20610