Owiti, Beatrice (2016) Courtroom interpretation from Dholuo to English : a stylistic and pragmatic analysis. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Earlier studies on interpretation such as Garcés (1996) and Hale (2004) show that interpreters
often make the mistake of conveying only the semantic meaning; ignoring, misunderstanding
or simply not conveying the pragmatic meaning of utterances. Other studies have also
touched on issues of the classification of the types of errors made during interpretation Mead
(1985), Karton (2008) and Kiguru (2008); they do not, however, provide a good
understanding of errors that lead to stylistic and pragmatic modifications in interpretation
from and to indigenous African languages. Research on interpretation in Kenyan courts is
limited and there is none that examines Dholuo-English interpretations. Consequently, there
is a need to have a broad and deep understanding of the stylistic and pragmatic meaning of
modifications involving Dholuo-English data. The literature reviewed includes literature on
courtroom interpreting and literature on meaning shifts in the courtroom. This study
investigates courtroom interpretation using critical stylistic tools to determine the stylistic and
pragmatic changes and their impact on ideation and interpersonal communication in the
Target Text. The critical stylistic tools used from Jeffries (2010) are: presenting other
people’s speech and thoughts, presenting actions and state, as well as naming and describing.
In the data analysis, for presenting the speech of others, I use the reported speech categories
by Short (2012) to examine fidelity to the text, for the description of actions and states I
ground my work in the transitivity model by Halliday as explained by Simpson (1993) and
for naming and description I use Halliday’s Functional Grammar to describe the Noun group.
For analysis of pragmatic modifications during interpretation, the research is grounded in
Austin’s (1962) Speech Act Theory and Grice’s (1975) Cooperative Principle. The data
analysed consists of 12 court cases. The data collected is analysed using qualitative methods
of analysis in order to determine inferences, give explanations and make conclusions. The
results show changes in the Target Text which include: modifications to adhere to felicity
conditions, passivisation to conform to how Dholuo reports speech from senior people,
misreporting while using direct speech, distortion of facts, expansion of meaning, vagueness,
changes to the verb processes, use of explanations, use of euphemisms that obscure meaning,
changes in the tone of the source text and changes in the pre and post modifications of nouns
that cause meaning loss. Reasons for these changes are: culturally bound words and phrases,
legal jargon which has no Dholuo equivalents, specialised Kenyan English vocabulary, the
nature of courtroom interpretation, the additional duties courtroom interpreters in Kenya
carry out, as well as lack of training. This research uncovered a new role for interpreters in
the courtroom of striving to maintain the dignity of the court as well as a new feature of
adherence to felicity conditions in judgements.

FINAL THESIS.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (4MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email