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Interpreting Criminal Suspects’ Rights: A Case for Legal Interpreter Training

Jieun Lee 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Under international law, criminal suspects and defendants, who do not understand or speak the language used in the legal procedure, are entitled to free assistance by interpreters (e.g. Article 14(3)(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Articles 5 and 6 of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights). They should be informed of charges, reasons for their arrest or detention, and their rights in the languages they understand. Criminal suspects’ rights to silence and counsel are constitutional rights, which is also explicitly recognized in the South Korean Criminal Procedure Law. Therefore, it is critical that criminal suspects who do not understand Korean should be provided with adequate interpreting and informed of their rights before being questioned by investigators. If an untrained incompetent interpreter is engaged in the legal process, their constitutional rights may be compromised as a result of inaccurate interpreting. Drawing on the interpreting data provided by two groups of interpreting students, namely those who have received no training for legal interpreting and those who have received a very basic training for legal interpreting, this paper suggests that specialized training is essential in order to enhance the accuracy of legal interpreting.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.