Training as a minimum requirement to improve court interpretation in Kenya: a case study of Milimani chief magistrate’s courts
The purpose of this study was to investigate if training of court interpreters in Kenya would improve the quality of interpretation in Kenyan law courts. Court interpretation in Kenya is a constitutional right. However, previous studies show that court interpreters are largely unqualified and as a result many errors are being made by the unqualified court interpreters. The study had 4 main objectives: to find out the standards set for court interpretation in Kenyan Law Courts, to establish the guidelines that determine who can be a court interpreter in Kenyan Law Courts, to determine what effect court interpretation has on the judgment rendered by the court and to examine if training or lack of it determines the quality of interpretation rendered. This explanatory research aimed at linking poor performance by court interpreters to lack of training. The research was qualitative and the data collection methods used were observation and interviews. The researcher chose to carry out a case study of Milimani Chief Magistrate’s Court. The findings which would be taken to be representative of all Kenyan courts. All data was recorded, transcribed and analyzed. The data was presented descriptively and all findings were presented in relation to the research questions set at the beginning of the study. The findings of the study were: there are no set standards on court interpretation in Kenya, the current minimum qualification for court interpreters is knowledge of two languages, court interpretation directly affects the decision made by the courts and training of court interpreters would improve the standard of interpretation in the Kenyan courts. vi The main recommendations were: training and certification be expected as the minimum standard for all court interpreters, the courts guidelines stipulate that only trained interpreters interpret in the Kenyan courts, an official database of all trained court interpreters be maintained for the court’s use, all parties in the legal system be sensitized on the effect of interpretation on the court’s decision and more research on other language combinations be carried out as this research dealt only with Kiswahili-English court interpretation.