Misinterpretation Abounds in Irish Court Rooms

Inspired by Adam Wooten’s blog posting Why is the Media Obsessed with the Cost of Public Translation?, I dug deeper and found a report in the Galway Advertiser about an Irish judge who was “critical of a Polish interpreter’s lack of interpreting” in the court room.

It seems said Judge was “had been watching the interpreter and she noticed she had not translated the breath sample reading for the accused”. Yes, there was drink involved.


This reminds me that court room interpretation in Ireland can be problematic even when English is involved. Quite recently a Chinese lady was in court, on the east coast of Ireland, over a traffic accident when her car had collided with a telegraph pole. On hearing that she had struck a pole, the judge questioned her: “And did you make any effort to apologize to the Polish gentleman concerned?”

That said, very often media criticism of public sector translation and interpretation owes more to political bias and prejudice than to any concerns with transparency into costs and value for money. However, there are times, when you have got to wonder….

I’m sorry, but that’s not worth paying for. Unless it’s coming out of the mouth of Mike Myers in the next Austin Powers movie..

Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

Related Articles

Weekly Digest

Subscribe to stay updated