Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Korean Heritage-Speaking Interpreter

The U.S. is a country of immigrants who are non-native speakers of English (NNS), yet its legal system is not always in the favor of them. One of the issues for the NNSs is not being provided with proficient interpreters in legal settings such as police interrogations or courtrooms. There are times when some NNSs are offered qualified interpreters or translators, but others are provided with heritages speakers of needed languages in the local area. The heritages speakers are often thought to have good proficiency in languages, but unfortunately that<'>s not always the case. To investigate the need for qualified interpreters, I conducted a discourse analysis on the interpreting provided in police interrogations in a legal case involving a Korean immigrant suspect, a heritage speaker of Korean who acted as an interpreter, and English speaking police officers. The result of this research is to help American jurisprudence be more aware of the implications of unverified interpretations to protect both jurisprudence and potential defendants and suspects of NNSs.

Thesis Author: Yoonjoo Lee

Year Completed: 2018

Thesis Chair: William Eggington


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