Dilemmatic Role of Legal Interpreters in Assisting Foreigners in Legal Setting

  • Wayan Ana Warmadewa University, Bali-Indonesia
  • Made Susini Warmadewa University, Bali-Indonesia
  • Ketut Subagia Warmadewa University, Bali-Indonesia
Keywords: Role and Function, Interpreter, Legal Setting


Foreigners who are involved in court cases need legal interpreters. This is because not all foreigners speak Indonesian fluently, and few of the officials who deal with matters involving foreigners can speak English. This study investigates the roles and functions of legal interpreters in assisting foreigners in legal setting. This study used a quantitative descriptive research design to gather data using questionnaires and in-person interviews. The results of the surveys and in-person interviews were qualitatively and descriptively assessed, as well as formally and informally presented. According to the data analysis findings, a legal interpreter has two roles: the first is a linguistic role to verbally translate messages from investigators, prosecutors, or lawyers to foreigners, and the second is a non-linguistic role that goes beyond serving as verbal intermediaries to further the parties' interests. The non-linguistic functions of an interpreter include finding translators for text translation, acting as a liaison to transmit the parties' wishes, serving as a mediator during negotiations, and helping to protect the interests of the parties during negotiations. Professional legal interpreters performed a variety of non-linguistic duties and tasks that presented several ethical challenges. Although they are aware that they go against the legal interpreters' code of ethics, they must still carry out the duties in the manner expected of amateur interpreters.


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