Progress beyond the state of the art and prospects
What is new
It is the first time legal interpreting in Greece will be examined thorougly. We do believe that in order to gain insight into what is going on in the field of legal interpeting in Greece and how non-natives and their right to an equal access to justice and administration are handled, data has to be collected from the end-users of legal interpreting. Our project will be the first attempt to collect data concerning legal interpreting in Greece through field research. By means of questionnaires/interviews brought by the research team directly to foreigners, designated legal professionals and public servants, the way the communicative needs of non-natives and their access to public administration and justice is catered for will be examined. Willingness to cooperate and reluctance of the target person will also be recorded. The data from the questionnaires and/or interviews will be correlated with the provisions of the law in Greece in order to reveal any shortcomings of the law or of everyday practice. Questionnaires to be translated into eight languages could give birth to different meanings other than those intended in some languages. The back-translation procedure of some answered questionnaires will be used as a means of assessing the quality of translation of the questionnaires into the target language and minimizing the risk of divergent questions in some languages.
As far as the deliverables are concerned their utility is expected to be very high.
In particular, the data from the processing of the questionnaires will provide a picture of how well / bad legal interpreting services are and how the Greek legal system caters in practice for the needs of non-Greek speakers.
The hard evidence is expected to increase awareness on the issue of legal interpreting. Reporting on the experience in other countries should demonstrate what can be done.
The description of the profile of the Greek legal interpreter would a. highlight the necessary qualifications (s)he would be expected to have and b. make the poor quality of services provided by the amateurs more visible.
The guide to good practice in WP.6 will provide guidelines for the involved parties on how to work with legal interpreters. Especially, the public servants will become accustomed with what to expect from working with an interpreter.
The publication of the results in W.P. 7 is expected to give an overall picture of what has been found and what has to be done. It will function as reference work for further research on the matter.
The project will get things rolling with regard to legal interpreting in Greece; a crucial issue limiting the conferring of justice by the Greek courts to everybody will be treated with. Juxtaposing the data that have been collected (questionnaires/interviews and the analysis of the legal aspects connected with the aliens' right to understand and to be understood by the Greek authorities) with the legal interpreting in other countries will highlight what has to be done in terms of training, using and assessing court interpreters in the Greek legal setting. The target groups of the research results are policy-makers and researchers working in the field.
Ultimately, we expect the project to contribute to the improvement of the quality of legal interpreting services in order to provide for an equal access to administration and justice of non-natives in Greece. Since in many other countries, especially in the Balkans legal interpreting is dealt with in an amateurish way, we should expect also international repercussion and a drive towards a cross-border cooperation.
As far as education and Academia is concerned, one would expect the establishment of a legal interpreter training as well as assessment instances. One could also expect a more intense research activity (today non-existent) on issues concerning legal or community interpreting in general.