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4. HIERARCHY AND LEARNING PROCESS 67 HIERARCHY AND LEARNING PROCESS Interpreting at the IMTFE presented some remarkable phenomena that have rarely been observed in other interpreting settings. Broadly speaking, there were two major factors that contributed to the uniqueness of the process. The first is that, like the Nuremberg Tribunal, the Tokyo Tribunal was an unprecedented international court where novel language requirements had to be met. The other is the extraordinary circumstance that people who had once worked under the defendants facilitated the proceedings as language mediators. This chapter explores why the three-tier structure for the interpreting system was established, examines the complex and ambivalent standing of the Nisei linguists and considers the process of trial and error in the development of the interpreting procedures, CHAPTER 4 68 INTERPRETING THE TOKYO WAR CRIMES TRIAL focusing on the exchanges between the President of the Tribunal and the personnel of the Language Section during the initial stage of the trial. The Hierarchical Structure As has been discussed in the preceding chapters, one of the highly unusual features of the interpreting arrangements at the Tokyo Trial was the presence of three tiers of linguists: a bottom tier of interpreters who were all Japanese nationals, a middle tier of monitorswhowereallNisei,andatoptier,theLanguageArbitration Board, which consisted of one member appointed by the Tribunal to act as language arbiter and one member each appointed by the defense and the prosecution. The judgment itself provides some explanation as to why this hierarchy was established (see Part A, Section I, “Establishment and Proceedings of the Tribunal,” in IMTFE 1948): The need to have every word spoken in Court translated from English into Japanese, or vice versa, has at least doubled the length of the proceedings. Translations cannot be made from the one language into the other with the speed and certainty which can be attained in translating one Western speech into another. Literal translation from Japanese into English or the reverse is often impossible. To a large extent nothing but a paraphrase can be achieved, and experts in both languages will often differ as to the correct paraphrase. In the result, the interpreters in Court often had difficulty as to the rendering they should announce, and the Tribunal was compelled to set up a Language Arbitration Board to settle matters of disputed interpretation. This statement does not, however, explain why the monitors were appointed, or why three different socioethnic groups played three 4. HIERARCHY AND LEARNING PROCESS 69 different roles within the interpreting system. In pursuit of an answer, it is necessary to examine the use of interpreters in the two Japanese war crimes trials that took place before the Tokyo Trial. Thefirstof thesewasthetrialof GeneralTomoyukiYamashita, which started in Manila on October 29, 1945, and has since been cited as the origin of the doctrine of“command responsibility”in war crimes cases: Yamashita was charged for not controlling his troops, who disobeyed his order to withdraw and massacred civilians in Manila in February 1945. Yamashita was sentenced to death by hanging on December 7, 1945, and was executed on February 23, 1946. The second of these trials was a U.S. military trial held in Yokohama against Tatsuo Tsuchiya, a former prison guard, from December 18 to December 27,1945.Tsuchiya was sentenced to life imprisonment for mistreating prisoners of war. In both these trials, interpreters were procured from among U.S. military personnel who were not entirely qualified, and internal correspondence of the U.S. military at the time, as well as a book that one of Yamashita’s attorneys published later, indicate that there were serious problems with the interpreting in these proceedings. For example, on October 27, 1945, it was reported to SCAP in Tokyo (in correspondence now held in the Records of the Allied Operational and Occupation Headquarters, World War II, in Record Group 331 at the U.S. National Archives) that three Caucasian Navy and Marine officers who had been appointed as interpreters forYamashita’s trial had refused to take the interpreters' oath, citing their lack of qualifications in spoken Japanese, and that it might be necessary to “furnish [the] best Nisei interpreters available.” In response, the Commander in Chief, Army Forces, Pacific, asked on October 28: “Why was competent interpreter personnel not selected in sufficient time to prevent this outrageous failure? . . . You have had 40 A class Linguists to choose from, why were not a sufficient number selected?” Yamashita had a...

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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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