Work Ethics and the Environment





Work Ethics and the Environment

            The report focuses on the courtroom observations made at the Redwood City Superior Courthouse. Contrary to popular belief, the court environment is not nerve-racking allowing smooth attention of proceedings. The objective of the observation exercise was to equip me with firsthand experience of what a court interpreter does and his importance in the overall judicial process. On arrival, the court was already buzzing with activity given it is a public space. Security concerns mandated bodily search at the gate prior to receiving directions for the actuation location for criminal preliminary and trials. The security personnel who also acted as the reception informed that one was allowed to visit and sit in any room while looking at the list of available hearings for observation. The allowance follows judicial attempt to elevate public awareness and participation in hearings. Passing along the second floor, I came across the Court Interpreter Division. The department was situated at the second floor at the end of hallway to your left. Inside the offices were Spanish tutors who introduced me to the court interpreter coordinator (Cerny 53). The professional assisted me to identify the best criminal preliminary hearing to observe. The hearing, taking place in the afternoon would integrate the services of Spanish interpreters.

            With a few hours to burn prior to commencement of the observation hearing, I opted to visit the family division in order to set the scene. Assumption was that the family division would aid with an understanding of what to expect. Inside the division were back-to-back cases taking place. There were four rows of sits for families, plaintiffs, defenders, and interpreters such as myself. On the right side at the front of the rows was the Defendant’s table. Facing the defendant was a series of rows for the jurors. Slightly to their right was the clerk’s desk, the professional busy recording events as they went on. On the left in front of the four rows was the plaintiff. Unlike all other tables, the judge’s space was diagonal facing the courtroom crowd. Next to the leader was the court reporter, who was also busy documenting events as a police officer stood behind him.

            As informed by the Court Interpreter Division’s coordinator, I was to follow and shadow on the court’s interpreters called Albert. I was to meet him in front of the District Attorney’s office, which was at the fourth floor at 1.15pm. The meet was to prove unsuccessful, as the character did not show up. Therefore, I made the decision to visit another courtroom that had a Spanish interpreter called Katrina. This was also at the fourth floor in room 4A. Entering the room, first perceptions revolved around the difference between criminal courts and family rooms (Cerny 33). The first divergence was in the physical setting. Instead of the juror section was a room secured with a large glass window with two benches, one at the front and the other at the back. Moreover, interpreters were inside the main floor as opposed to the public area. The second difference was in the crowd. Inside the glass were inmates, some dressed in orange, and others in red. As the hearing s started, the judge was the last person to enter the room. Dressed in a black robe, her language was fall of legal jargon stating penal codes, court dates, and bail amounts.

            Recording interpreter roles, whenever the judge called on the first defendant, the interpreter would walk to the glass window, interact with the defendant and then shadow all the words and actions output by the judge. Personally, I found shadowing the judge tasking because her language was filled with judicial jargon. The interpreter has to relay the jargon in a way the inmate will understand without distorting the meaning or contradicting the judge. One cannot hear what the interpreter says as her voice is toned down in order to ascertain the conversation is strictly between her and the inmate. The low voice follows the professional demeanor where interpreters must behave in consistency with the dignity of the court and not be obtrusive or distracting. In addition, interpreters shall protect confidential information of all privileged.

            Observation was throughout the criminal proceedings, the interpreter was using active listening in order to cover all arguments and instructions given by the judge and District Attorney. Active listening and the pace of events within the courtroom meant that the interpreter lives like a robot. The professional had no say on when to break or power to raise an argument for the inmate or judge. Moreover, the interpreter never exhibited any emotions and remained neutral. Neutrality is part of the professional demeanor that interpreters have to hold firmly. Between case transitions, the interpreter would sit down and invest in reading on the incoming proceedings (Cerny 58). In class, it was taught that beforehand case reading is imperative in emotional and cognitive preparation. Observation conclusions were that interpreters are highly skilled individuals with superior attention spans. This is based on the high-level language used in courtrooms, transition between languages, and the pace of events.

Works cited

Cerny, Joe H. Courtroom Know-How: Observations by a Court Reporter. Cincinnati: W.H. Anderson Co, 1958. Print.

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