The Language of Witnesses
Witness documents cover the spectrum of authorship purposes and styles. Business journalists pare down and enliven facts in articles eventually produced in corporate litigation. Police reports mirror the sparse literacy of dire events. Physicians string out their specialized adjectives to fully characterize a determination often in disregard of grammatical clarity. Although the attention of translators specialized in fields such as journalism, slang, or medicine may more fully convey the intended impact of statements couched in the respective terminologies, only the legal translator preserves the substance of what is set forth, even to the necessary detriment of the force and impact intended. For example, a spirited witness may colorfully present his version of an event in order to convince his audience to share his perspective. The legal translator's task here is to display the content of what is said, including the color imbued, so that the statement's legal consequences can be assessed, but not to further the witness's purpose of persuasion. The difference in goals is determinative in that only the legal translator's rendition will truly portray whether or not the statement is persuasive as made, not necessarily as hoped or intended.