28. In cross-border videoconferencing, there may be a need to have an interpreter either at the requesting court or at the requested court. The interpreter can either work from a remote location, whilst the main parties are in the same location, for example, in the courtroom (remote interpretation), or, where a remote participant (e.g. a defendant or a witness) requires an interpreter, the interpreter is either co-located with the remote participant or located at the main site (videoconference interpreting).
28 a. The use of interpretation during the videoconferencing (…) is a challenge to the participants in the hearing and to the interpreter. The witness may not be used to working with interpreters and the feeling of remoteness may cause problems with the interpretation. For the interpreters it is helpful if the judge coordinates the order in which the parties involved speak.
29. Taking of evidence is usually conducted with consecutive interpreting. In consecutive interpretation the judge plays a central role in administrating the interpretation and in giving instructions to the witness or the interpreter during the hearing. Given the complexities of videoconferencing and interpreting in legal settings, it is recommended that the consecutive mode of interpreting should be used when the interpreter is separated from those who require interpreting, as this mode allows more easily for clarifications and interventions that may be necessary to ensure that the interpreting is accurate.
29 a. Simultaneous interpretation is more demanding, since it requires that there is a special booth for the interpreter and that the interpretation is transmitted to listeners by means of special-purpose equipment (transmitter, receiver and earphones). When written documents are presented during the hearing or trial, there is often the need to use oral “prima vista” translation of written text. If the interpreter is not in the courtroom where the document is presented, document cameras need to be utilized in the videoconferencing.
30. When remote interpreters are used in a third location, outside the courtrooms, attention should be paid to the preparatory arrangements and prior information on the technical equipment of this third location and to the testing of the connections between the locations before the actual hearing. Furthermore, attention should be paid to the acoustics and quality of sound in the location of the remote interpreter.
30 a. Other aspects that should be considered are the layout of the rooms in which videoconferencing and interpreting are used and the positioning of the interpreter and the other participants. Visual and non-verbal communication play a crucial role in helping an interpreter to understand what is said, to grasp nuances of meaning and to resolve potential ambiguities. Therefore, the interpreter should be able to see the faces, facial expressions and possibly lip movements of remote participants. This has consequences for the position of the participants in relation to the cameras that deliver the video image for the interpreter. The interpreter should have a frontal view of the remote participants. At the same time, the interpreter should not become the centre of attention simply by appearing on a video screen. In other words, the setup should not create a situation in which the main parties have to turn away from each other in order to see the interpreter.
30 b. Attention should also be drawn to both the reliability and the security of transmissions which should be ensured.
31. When interpreters are used in the process of videoconferencing, attention needs to be paid to the following aspects:
32. As regards the quality of interpretation, the qualifications required for court interpreters differ between Member States. This needs to be taken into account in the requests for using videoconferencing in mutual legal assistance or taking of evidence.
32 a. In order to overcome the difficulties of videoconferencing coupled with interpretation and the negative perceptions which could exists among the practitioners, the following recommendations on how to implement and use video-mediated interpreting could prove helpful:
A. The planning, procurement and installation of videoconferencing equipment for courtrooms
B. Enhancing the smooth use of remote interpreting via videoconferencing in the courtrooms
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