Defending Yourself Through Someone Else: Foreign Language Interpreters in the Courtroom
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Defendants who cannot speak English will require a courtroom interpreter, which, research suggests, may influence how the defendant is perceived by jurors. The present study used video-recorded mock testimony of a defendant to determine how testimony given through an interpreter is perceived by jurors compared to testimony given in English directly by a defendant. Both the type of crime (i.e., sexual assault versus robbery) and interpreter gender were manipulated. Participants were asked to give their perceptions of the defendant and his testimony, provide a rating of guilt on a seven-point scale, and provide a verdict. Results did not support hypotheses that interpreted testimony would alter mock juror perceptions; however, the gender of the interpreter influenced how attitudinal variables affected perceptions.