Some interlingual communicative challenges for foreign African interpreters in South African courtrooms

  • Sam Erevbenagie Usadolo Department of Communication, University of Fort Hare
  • Ernst Kotzé Department of Applied Language Studies, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Keywords: bilingualism, dialect, biculturalism, sight translation, linguistic human rights


This study investigates interlingual communicative challenges faced by interpreters in South African courtrooms. Data were collected from the participants in the study by taking a qualitative approach based on the observation of courtroom proceedings, as well as unstructured and structured interviews. The interlingual challenges identified can be linked to factors such as bilingualism, dialect usage, biculturalism and the requirement of sight translation in court. Potential solutions to the problems brought about by these factors form the focal point of this study. Finally, suggestions for further research are made within the limitations of the research framework.