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What are the main principles of forensic transcription/ translation?
Is forensic transcription/translation interpreting or translating?
Like sight translation, transcription/translation of recorded material is a hybrid skill involving elements of both translation and interpreting. The transcriber/translator must, from spoken utterances, produce a full, accurate and unbiased transcription in the source language as well as a full, accurate and unbiased written translation, in dialogue form, in the target language.
What is a Forensic Transcript?
A forensic transcript is a verbatim orthographic transcription or transliteration prepared from an evidentiary recording which constitutes an exact, complete and unredacted record of every word and sound contained on the recording, including repetitions, hesitations, false starts, background conversations and noises, with every participant identified.
Even when the source material is recorded in the English language, transcript preparation can be a tedious and lengthy process. When the recording is in a foreign language and/or contains code words, ciphers, various accents and code switching, the process becomes even more arduous.
The ability to prepare readable, admissible transcripts and the corresponding translations from evidentiary recordings presupposes some element of innate ability and requires, inter alia,a high level of proficiency in both the source language and English, superior listening and comprehension skills, the ability to understand the speaker’s perspective and to accurately render such perspective into the target language, the ability to concentrate, familiarity with the illicit affairs and culture of criminals and terrorists, experience in listening to undercover recordings and oral wire intercepts, and several non-linguistic skills including, but not limited to, analytical skills, knowledge of courtroom protocol and familiarity with the use of transcription equipment.