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Language Of The Court

The courtroom provides an institutionalized setting where social justice is negotiated through the questioning of witnesses. Nearly every turn-to-talk of the counsel contains a question and every turn-to-talk of the witness may or may not supply the information requested. Therefore, in order to get the relevant information from the witness and aiming at getting the information that in flavor to their clients. The counsel uses a variety of questioning techniques which will help them to win the case. On the other side, the language used by interpreters, witnesses and magistrate is rather different to the lawyers because they are supposed to be neutral and only responsible to tell the truth.

The language used by lawyers
Aiming at getting trust from the jury, the lawyer??s language has to be persuasive, or at least sounds to be persuasive. They have to provide evidences to prove their client is innocent or to prosecute someone.

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Well organized
The questions raised by the solicitors are well organized and there is certain degree of linkage between questions. Their questions try to lead the witness into the right track and to give the relevant information that is in flavor to his client.

Clear instruction and use of coercive question forms
Lawyers also tend to give very clear instruction to witness on what they want him/her to do. For example, lawyers tend to say ??you only have to answer yes or no on this question??, ??I want u to listen very carefully on what I am going to say now?? very often in the case we heard. On one hand, it gives clear instruction to the witness; on the other hand, it also achieves the purpose of coerciveness.

Using plain and simple language
Since the patient in the courtroom is not a legal professional, in the case we heard, the patient is only a 16 years old girl, therefore, jargon are rarely heard in the counsel-witness examination. The language is simple and plain in order to ensure the witness can understand what does the counselor want to know and in turn to provide relevant information.

The language used by the interpreter
The interpreter’s style of interpreting is usually narrative and accessible to the defendant.

The language used by the magistrate
The language used by the magistrate is strong and clear. In order to show the dignity of the magistrate, the language used by him/her is firm and powerful. In the case we heard, we can??t analysis the language features on how the magistrate giving ratio decidendi because it??s still at the earlier stage of the trial. However, we still can discover some of those features by looking at an interesting incident happened in the case we heard. It happened during D1??s lawyer had made some mistakes in the turn of his questioning section. D3??s lawyer tried to help him out on clarify and correct the mistakes that D1??s lawyer had made to the magistrate without standing up. The magistrate pointed to him and said, ?? Stand up before you want to say anything??. He was so embarrassed and apologized to the magistrate immediately. I think, this can be an example on showing how the magistrate use simple and strong languages to show his dignity.

The role of the interpreter
The role of the interpreter is to facilitate communication between the two contesting parties as a neutral party; she/he is a very important person who keeps the trial running smoothly.

In the case we heard, the participants of the case are Chinese and whose mother tongue is Cantonese. However, all the procedures taken in the court was conducted in English, therefore a interpreter is needed in that case, the interpreter??s role is to translate the questions and instructions given by the solicitor, the prosecutor and the magistrate into Cantonese verbally to the witness. Also, to translate the information given by the witness from Cantonese into English verbally to the people in the courtroom.

Interpret solicitors?? and the magistrate??s questions and instructions
Under certain situation, the interpreter may add information to the source language in order to make the target listener has better understandings on the question or instruction. There was one example that appeared in the case we heard, when the solicitor asked whether D3 had hugged with Fat Fat , the answer provided by the witness is in Cantonese and she used a quite ambiguous word ?????? to describe the motion that D3 and Fat Fat had taken at that time. Since the interpreter understands the witness very well in Cantonese that the word ?????? has a slightly different meaning to hug, so the interpreter added information on the interpreted answer and said ??they put arms around each others?? rather than simply says hug. This helps the solicitor a lot on getting the correct information on the case.

The interpreter is also responsible for the sight interpreting of the legal documents to the witness. In the case we heard, one of the solicitor referred to an ordinance and he wanted to make sure that the witness read and understands the ordinance. Therefore, the interpreter then point out the specified ordinance to the witness and interpret it to the witness to make sure that she understands what is the ordinance about.

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