PROJECT TITLE: The quality in translation as an element to safeguard procedural guarantees in criminal proceedings: development of resources to help court interpreters of Spanish - Romanian, Arab, Chinese, French and English. 

ACRONYM: TIPp (Translation and interpreting in criminal proceedings or Traducción e Interpretación en los procesos penales in Spanish)

REFERENCE: FFI2014-55029-R


ANNOUNCEMENT: Spanish State Grant Programme of Research, Development and Innovation related to Society Challenges

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 2015 - December 2017

In Spain, in contrast with its timeline in other countries, court interpreting has been an under-researched area until recently. In the last two decades, however, research in court interpreting has emerged as a major topic in Europe. In fact, within the Horizon 2020 Programme, the Directorate-General for Justice of the European Commission, through the Justice Programme 2014-2020, is offering grants to undertake research in this area. Nevertheless, the European projects which have been carried out so far have focused on the analysis of language barriers in the access to Justice and on the need to set similar standards regarding training, accreditation and recruitment of interpreters.

In Spain, a new law has just been published in the Spanish Official Gazette (BOE, 28 April 2015) which has modified the Spanish Code of Criminal Procedure as a result of the transposition of both the Directive 2010/64/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings and the Directive 2012/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Ouncil of 22 May 2012 on the right to information in criminal proceedings.. This turns translation and interpreting into an essential element in the rights to effective legal protection in the exercise of lawful rights and interests before the courts in order to avoid any state of defencelessness, namely the right to be informed of the accusation against them, the right to a public process with all procedural guarantees and the right to self-defence, as enshrined in Article 24 of the Spanish Constitution.

Accordingly, the research projects previously undertaken by the research team of this project (for instance, see the recent doctoral thesis entitled Interpreting in courts. The case of Romanian in the courts in Barcelona) reveal that currently court interpreters lack the required technological and research resources to carry out their tasks with accuracy, rigour and diligence.

The objective of this project is, thus, to create a computer application which can include in only one interface all the necessary resources to facilitate court interpreters’ performance: a code of good practice, a protocol for conduct and behaviour in the most frequent situations for a court interpreter, a set of guidelines for Justice personnel on the interpreters’ role and on how to interact with interpreters, and lastly a database containing problematic units most frequently encountered by court interpreters in criminal proceedings with potential solutions, comments and two-way translation options in the most frequently translated languages, i.e. Arab, Romanian, Chinese, French and English (into Spanish).

This project is using a pioneering methodology in the field of court interpreting research in Spain, as it is based on authentic materials extracted from real criminal proceedings (not simulations) and will deliver outcomes in five language-pairs, compiling all resources in one sole interface.

As expected from the outcomes of this project, the new computer application ReTIPp will help court interpreters to perform their tasks more accurately and efficiently. This will subsequently have an impact on their main users, namely detained, accused or convicted persons of migrant communities, who usually face inequality, exclusion and poverty.

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