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16 INTERPRETING THE TOKYO WAR CRIMES TRIAL THE INTERPRETING ARRANGEMENTS The aim of this chapter is to describe the overall interpreting arrangements at the Tokyo Trial in detail, including the languages used, how the court handled “non-official” languages, how the linguists were recruited and assigned, their compensation, their equipment,themodesof interpretingtheyengagedin,thechallenges they faced in the actual task of interpreting, and the system used for correcting interpreting errors.It also discusses the work done by the translators in order to provide a fuller picture of how the Tribunal addressed its language needs, both oral and written. Finally, some comments by historians are introduced regarding the effect of interpreting on the trial proceedings. CHAPTER 2 2. THE INTERPRETING ARRANGEMENTS 17 The Official Languages of the Tribunal The use of interpreting and translation at the Tokyo Trial was provided for in the Tokyo Charter (of which the official text is available in Pritchard 1998 among others). Under the heading“Fair Trial for Accused,”Article 9 (b) of the Charter states: Language. The trial and related proceedings shall be conducted in English and in the language of the accused. Translations of documents and other papers shall be provided as needed and requested. Accordingly, interpretation between English and Japanese in the consecutive mode (as discussed below) was offered throughout the trial, but Russian simultaneous interpretation was also available as a Soviet-operated stand-alone arrangement for the Soviet judge, who understood neither English nor Japanese. “As a courtesy” (according to Brackman 1987, 213–14), one of the three channels of the interpreting equipment was assigned to interpretation into Russian. Handling of Non-Official Languages During the trial the Tribunal also used interpreters of Chinese, French, Dutch, German, Russian and Mongolian when witnesses or prosecutors spoke in these languages. However, the transcripts of the proceedings (see Kyokuto kokusai gunji saiban sokkiroku and Pritchard 1998) indicate that the Tribunal had not anticipated or prepared for the use of languages other than English and Japanese. During the early stages of the trial a significant amount of time was spent, inside and outside the courtroom, discussing how testimony in languages other than English and Japanese should be handled and whether the use of “non-official” languages by prosecutors should be permitted in court at all. When the first Chinese-speaking witness, General Ching The-Chun of the Republic of China, appeared before the Tribunal 18 INTERPRETING THE TOKYO WAR CRIMES TRIAL on July 22, 1946, the initial arrangement was to provide relay interpreting with Japanese as the pivot language between Chinese and English. In other words, Chinese or English was consecutively interpreted into Japanese, then the Japanese interpretation was consecutively interpreted into English or Chinese. This system was devised because the Language Section, which managed the work of all the linguists for the Tribunal, could not find an interpreter who could work directly between Chinese and English. Although a Chinese member of the prosecution had been considered as a potential interpreter between Chinese and English, concerns about the propriety of having him interpret for a witness produced by the prosecution prevented him from assuming the role. However, U.S. counsel became frustrated because they had to hear two unfamiliar languages (Chinese, then Japanese) before the English interpretation was delivered, and voiced their concern that this “double translation”might be“very imperfect”(IMTFETranscripts, pp. 2300–2301). The President of the Tribunal, who had not previously been informed of this issue,handed down a ruling on the spot, accepting the prosecution’s suggestion that the Tribunal use W. F. S. Fang, an English-speaking secretary to Mei Ju-ao, the judge from the Republic of China, as an interpreter between Chinese and English. Subsequently, English became the pivot language in relay interpreting between the three languages: Chinese or Japanese was first interpreted into English consecutively, and then the English interpretation was interpreted into Japanese or Chinese. Fang interpreted throughout the morning of July 23, 1946, but after that a few other Chinese personnel took over his role. However, the poor performance of these ad hoc interpreters drew questions from both the defense and the prosecution as to the accuracy of the interpretation, which frequently disrupted the court proceedings. Finally, during the testimony of Henry Pu-Yi, the former Emperor of Manchukuo, who appeared as a witness for the prosecution from August 16 to August 27, 1946, the President of the Tribunal personally appealed to General MacArthur by letter (now in the...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780776619125
Related ISBN
9780776607290
MARC Record
OCLC
695537968
Pages
192
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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