Wednesday, September 20, 2006

“I Speak Or Understand The Language!”

Although this is not arithmetic [you remember that term, right?!?], there are pluses and minuses here. The Florida Supreme Court decided in the case of In Re: Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal and Civil Cases, 31 Fla. L. Weekly S 581 [Fla. 2006] that jurors should be instructed they cannot use their own knowledge of foreign languages to decide whether a courtroom translation is correct if all parties to a case agree on its accuracy.

The court also unanimously agreed that jurors should be instructed that if they question the accuracy of an interpretation they should immediately bring the matter to the judge’s attention by raising a hand and not to comment about the matter in the presence of other jurors.

The justices voted [not unanimously], however, to seek further study before deciding whether that restriction also should apply if the parties disagree on the accuracy of a transcribed translation.

Transform the above scenarios to a mediation conference – you are a bi-lingual or tri-lingual mediator – now, how would you address these situations if they occur in mediation?

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