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Judge urges interpreters to adopt street lingo

by Staff reporter
25 Jun 2024 at 10:41hrs | Views
As languages evolve and incorporate more street lingo, court interpreters face challenges in accurately translating testimony, even for judges, lawyers, and prosecutors who may be fluent in the formal language but unfamiliar with colloquial terms. Trials rely on precise communication, which is crucial for ensuring the rights of the accused.

In a recent case, High Court Judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi highlighted the necessity for court interpreters to learn street lingo to overcome language barriers. The case involved two brothers, Eric and Brain Kagoro, convicted of murdering their father. A key State witness, a 17-year-old boy, testified in Shona heavily mixed with street slang, which the court interpreter struggled to translate accurately. Despite Justice Mutevedzi's attempts to have the boy speak proper Shona, he frequently reverted to colloquial expressions.

Justice Mutevedzi acknowledged that indigenous languages are rapidly evolving due to the younger generation's preference for blending traditional language with modern slang. He warned that languages like Shona and Ndebele risk extinction if this trend continues. The judge emphasized that court interpreters must adapt by learning and integrating street lingo into their translations to ensure clear and accurate communication in trials.

The judge's remarks underscore the impact of linguistic complexities on courtroom communication, which can affect the presentation and perception of evidence, ultimately jeopardizing fair trials. The Kagoro brothers were convicted of murdering their father on June 19, 2022, at their farm in Marondera and are awaiting sentencing.

Source - The Herald