Deaf jurors’ access to court proceedings via sign language interpreting: an investigation

Autor/a: NAPIER, Jemina; SPENCER, David; SABOLCEC, Joseph
Año: 2007
Editorial: Sydney: New South Wales Law Reform Commission, 2007
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Traducción e Interpretación, Legislación


In March 2002 the NSW Attorney General asked the Law Reform Commission to conduct an inquiry into whether people who are profoundly deaf or have a significant hearing or sight impairment should be able to serve as jurors. While the Jury Act 1977 (NSW) does not specifically exclude people who are deaf or blind, there had been an administrative determination that they could not fulfil the duties of a juror. In February 2004 the Commission published a Discussion paper and invited submissions and comments. A key issue which arose in the course of the Law Reform Commission’s work in relation to deaf jurors was the use of signed language interpreters and the challenge of translating difficult legal concepts using Auslan. In order to gain a better understanding of this issue the Commission consulted with Dr Jemina Napier, an expert in signed language interpreting, who devised a number of back translation exercises using transcript from a Supreme Court trial. These initial back translation exercises identified the need for a more detailed study. The results of a further study form the basis of this Research Report. The study used a judge’s summing up in a criminal trial to assess the accuracy of the interpretation and the level of comprehension of potential deaf jurors compared to hearing jurors. Six deaf and six hearing people acted as jurors. Excerpts from the summing up were interpreted into Auslan and filmed. Two versions of a comprehension test were prepared in Auslan and English to check both the understanding of the facts and the legal concepts. The jurors completed the comprehension test in either Auslan or English.