Talking Justice

A Blog About the Law and Translation

The Little Old Lady

The sweet looking little old lady accused a Latino man of raping her. She was very foul-mouthed, but the court interpreter, probably not comfortable with using such words, cleaned up the lady's language. The lady's accusations sounded credible. Verdict: Guilty.

On appeal, however, a new court interpreter did not hesitate to translate the lady's obscenities as such. Now the lady was no longer credible. Verdict: Not guilty.

Rapist Feels Sorry or...

I was hired as a Spanish language expert witness in the case of a Cuban man charged with rape. The certified court interpreter was not familiar with Cuban Spanish. When he had said that when he realized the girl was a virgin, he had changed his mind. The court interpreter had rendered it as if he had said that when he realized she was a virgin, he felt sorry for her. The Spanish ver "arrepentirse" is to change one's mind in Cuba, not to feel sorry or to repent. Verdict: Not Guilty of Rape.

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