Community interpretersí experiences of police investigative interviews: how might interpretersí insights contribute to enhanced procedural justice?
Howes, LM, Community interpreters' experiences of police investigative interviews: how might interpreters' insights contribute to enhanced procedural justice?, Policing and Society, 29, (8) pp. 887-905. ISSN 1043-9463 (2019) [Refereed Article]
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Procedural justice refers to fairness in police dealings with members of the public. By facilitating communication between the police and people with whom they do not share a common language, interpreters assist policing organisations to provide fair and equitable services for all members of the community. Yet research findings suggest that interpretersí presence, behaviour, and interpreting choices can negatively impact the fairness of police investigative interviews. To contribute to enhanced procedural justice in interpreted investigative interviews, this study explores the under-researched topic of interpretersí perceptions of such interviews. Twenty community interpreters from diverse languages participated in interviews, in line with the procedural justice concept of voice. Inductive thematic analysis of transcripts revealed interpretersí perception that effective interpreting is impeded both by systemic issues arising from the structure of the interpreting profession and situational aspects of the police interview. Interpretersí accounts urged police interviewers to develop familiarity with this developing profession and elaborated on what is helpful to them in interpreted police interviews whether on site or via telephone. Practical strategies for police interviewers to assist interpreters include familiarising them with interview rooms, giving advance briefings to prepare for emotional content, allowing time to check infrequently used words, and debriefing at the conclusion. Overall, the findings indicate some practical ways in which the procedural justice goals of neutrality, respectful treatment, and trustworthiness may be enhanced in interpreted investigative interviews. Further research is needed to assess the impacts of these suggestions on procedural justice outcomes in practice.
legal interpreting, police interviews, procedural justice, public service interpreting