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Annotated Bibliography: Books

This annotated bibliography was prepared by Sandra McClure in 2020.

These books (below) are resources that are of interest to ASL legal interpreters. The descriptive and evaluative paragraph associated with the citation conveys the quality and relevance of the resource which assists in determining if the resource is of actual interest.

Additional resources are available within this Annotated Bibliography

NOTE: This page was last updated November 2021.

  1. Berk-Seligson, S. (2009). Coerced confessions: The discourse of bilingual police interrogations. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter, Inc.

    Key Words: discourse analysis, police, interrogation, suspect, bilingual, law enforcement

    This study conducts a discourse analysis of police interrogations involving U.S. Hispanic suspects accused of crimes. The study concentrates on interrogations involving suspects whose first language is not English and the pitfalls of using police officers as interpreters at custodial interrogations.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  2. Berk-Seligson, S. (2017). The bilingual courtroom: Court interpreters in the judicial process (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

    Key Words: legal, court, bilingual, juror, witness testimony

    Susan Berk-Seligson’s groundbreaking book draws on more than one hundred hours of audio recordings of Spanish/English court proceedings in federal, state, and municipal courts - along with a number of psycholinguistic experiments involving mock juror reactions to interpreted testimony - to present a systematic study of court interpreters that raises some alarming, vitally important concerns. Contrary to the assumption that interpreters do not affect the dynamics of court proceedings, Berk-Seligson shows that interpreters could potentially make the difference between a defendant being found guilty or not guilty of a crime. This second edition of
    The Bilingual Courtroom includes a fully updated review of both theoretical and policy-oriented research relevant to the use of interpreters in legal settings, particularly from the standpoint of linguistic pragmatics. It provides new insights into interpreting in quasi-judicial, informal, and specialized judicial settings, such as small claims court, jails, and prisons; updates trends in interpreter certification and credentialing, both in the United States and abroad; explores remote interpreting (for example, by telephone) and interpreter training programs; looks at political trials and tribunals to add to our awareness of international perspectives on court interpreting; and expands upon cross-cultural issues. Also featuring a new preface by Berk-Seligson, this second edition not only highlights the impact of the previous versions of The Bilingual Courtroom, but also draws attention to the continued need for critical study of interpreting in our ever diversifying society.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  3. Brennan, M., Brown, R., & MacKay, B. (1997). Equality before the law: Deaf people's access to justice. Durham, UK: Deaf Studies Research Unit.

    Key Words: court settings, sign language, ethnographic research, role, discourse & pragmatics

    This research project reviewed access to justice for the signed language community in the UK. The research uncovered a lack of understanding regarding the need to use properly trained interpreters, the role of the interpreter, and the linguistic-cultural differences between the hearing and the deaf communities. Furthermore, the study found that interpreters typically struggled with legal terminology, and linguistic issues when switching between sign and spoken modalities.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  4. Caccamise, F., Mitchell, M., Reeves, J., Herald, S., & Burch, D. (1998). Signs for legal and social work terminology. Rochester, NY: Rochester Institute of Technology, National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

    Key Words: glossary, legal, signs, technical

    Glossary of technical signs for legal and social work, created by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

    *Not Available

  5. Colin, J., & Morris, R. (1996). Interpreters and the legal process. Winchester: Waterside Press.

    Key Words: interpreter, legal process, spoken language, signed language, professionals, role

    Written by a justice of the peace who is also an interpreter trainer, and a freelance interpreter who does scholarly research. This volume is a comprehensive collection of legal procedure and interpreting provisions across legal settings including court settings, probation services, lawyer-client interaction, police settings, and prisons. Note the practices and procedures refer mainly to England and Wales, and include matters relating to both spoken and sign language interpreting.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  6. Costello, E., & Tom, L. (2003). American sign language legal dictionary. New York, NY: Random House Reference.

    Key Words: dictionary, ASL, legal, court, law enforcement

    American Sign Language Legal Dictionary. Reference book for legal matters featuring over 1,000 signs, complete definitions, full torso illustrations, and step-by-step descriptions of how each sign is formed.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  7. deJongh, E.M. (1992). An introduction to court interpreting: Theory and practice. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

    Key Words: theory, practice, interpreting, law, legal, court

    An Introduction to Court Interpreting. This book is divided into two sections, the first provides a synthesis of information regarding court interpreting and theories. The second part is practice materials taken from legal cases and adapted to the various modes of interpretation used in court: sight translation, consecutive, and simultaneous interpretation. Note while Spanish/English interpretation is emphasized, the general concepts presented are applicable to other languages.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  8. de Jongh, E. (2012). From the classroom to the courtroom : A guide to interpreting in the U.S. justice system. Amsterdam, John Benjamins Publishing Company.

    Key Words: guide, book, court, legal, judicial process, manual

    This book was designed to familiarize prospective court interpreters and students interested in court interpreting with the nature, purpose and language of pretrial, trial and post-trial proceedings. The book explains and illustrates court procedure as well as provides various interpreting exercises.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  9. Eades, D. (2010). Sociolinguistics and the legal process. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters Publisher.

    Key Words: sociolinguistics, legal process, court, legal education

    This book is an introduction to language, law and society that focuses on the exploration of what sociolinguistic research can tell us about how language works and doesn't work in the legal process. A wide range of legal contexts are investigated, including courtroom hearings, police interviews, lawyer interviews as well as small claims courts, mediation, youth justice conferencing and indigenous courts.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  10. Edwards, A. (1995). The practice of court interpreting. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 

    Key Words: courtroom, legal, interpreter, case preparation

    The Practice of Court Interpreting describes how the interpreter works in the courtroom and other legal settings. The book discusses what is involved in court interpreting: case preparation, ethics and procedure, the creation and avoidance of error, translation and legal documents, tape transcription, and translation, testifying as an expert witness, and continuing education outside the classroom. The purpose of the book is to provide the interpreter with a map of the terrain and to suggest methods that will help ensure an accurate result. The author, herself a practicing court interpreter, says: “The structure of the book follows the structure of the work as we do it.” The book is intended as a basic course book, as background reading for practicing court interpreters and for court officials who deal with interpreters.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  11. Fant, L. (1975). Admonition and waiver of rights in American sign language. Northridge, CA: Joyce Motion Picture Co.

    Key Words: Miranda Warning, rights, ASL, admonition, waiver

    Discusses and explains an individual's Miranda rights in American Sign Language.

    *Not Available

  12. Foret, A., & Petrowske, M. (1976). A manual and dictionary of legal terms for interpreters for the deaf. Detroit, Mich: Center for the Administration of Justice, Wayne State University Law School.

    Key Words: legal, dictionary, American sign language

    American Sign Language descriptions glossed as equivalents for legal terms.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  13. Framer, I. (2012). The language of justice: A training manual. Washington, DC: Ayuda Publisher.

    Key Words: legal, non-courtroom, interpreting, manual, nonprofit, attorney

    This book is designed with a focus of legal interpreting outside the courtroom such as worker's compensation and disability medical exams, school board hearings, domestic violence hearings, torture and trauma legal services, and immigration services.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  14. Garner, B.A. (2016). Black's law dictionary, fifth pocket edition. Eagan, MN: Thomson West Publishing.

    Key Words: law dictionary

    Black's Law Dictionary, Pocket Edition is the top-selling paperback law dictionary for good reason. With more than 19,000 definitions from the industry-standard Black's Law Dictionary 10th, it is an essential reference tool for legal terms in a compact format. The terms that matter most, with clear and concise definitions, are included, from the legal dictionary that judges and lawyers cite more than any other. Law students, journalists, lawyers, and anyone interested in knowing the precise meaning of legal terms find this a must have.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  15. Gifis, S. (2016). Dictionary of legal terms: Definitions and explanations for non-lawyers (Fifth edition). Hauppauge, New York: Barron’s Educational Series.

    Key Words: layperson, law, court, legal system

    Reference book that contains over 2500 legal terms defined for non-lawyers and translates “legalese” for the layperson.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  16. González, R., Vásquez, V., & Mikkelson, H. (1991). Fundamentals of court interpretation: Theory, policy and practice (Second Edition). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press

    Key Words: fundamentals, court, legal, linguistic, regulations, reference, interpreting

    Reference book that features separate guidance chapters for judges, attorneys, and other court personnel while standardizing practice among court interpreters.

    Link to Book:

  17. Hale, S. (2004). Discourse of court interpreting : Discourse practices of the law, the witness and the interpreter. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.52

    Key Words: court, legal, interpreter, informed decision making, court interpreting, discourse, legal, training

    This book looks at court interpreting through a thorough discourse analysis of English speaking participants, the Spanish-speaking witnesses and the interpreters. The book aims to increase interpreters' awareness of their choices and attempts to provide a theoretical basis for interpreters to make informed decisions rather than intuitive ones.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  18. Hansen, S. (2017). Case file: American sign language interpreters in court. San Bernardino, CA: ASLiSH.

    Key Words: studying, teaching, ASL, court, legal

    Author designed the book as a series of journal entries on topics and shared experiences in the field of legal interpreting.

    *Not Available

  19. Hoffman, D. (2000). Cliffs quick review: Criminal justice.

    Key Words: theories of punishment, sentencing, criminal law, criminal justice system

    The book covers all the main subjects taught in the first year of law school, and discusses constitutional law, the litigation process, and criminal, property, contracts law, rights consciousness, civil liberties, legal defenses, justifications for crimes, theories of punishment, the causes and costs of police corruption, and sentencing statutes and guidelines.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  20. Hoza, J. (2010). Team interpreting as collaboration and interdependence. Alexandria, VA: Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

    Key Words: team, interpreting, legal specialization

    This book is based on two studies that suggested the interpreting field is beginning to usher in a new paradigm that is replacing the monitoring view of team interpreting and suggests the potential of team members working together on all aspects of interpreting assignments.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  21. Lucas, C. (Ed.). (2003). Language and the law in Deaf communities: Sociolinguistics in Deaf communities series. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

    Key Words: court, law enforcement, Deaf Juror

    Compilation of articles regarding the intersection of deaf people and the law. Includes a qualitative researched based piece on the effectiveness of interpretations of the Miranda warnings, a chapter on interpreting for deaf jurors, and appellate issues, among other items.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  22. Mason, M. (2008). Courtroom interpreting. Lanham: University Press of America.

    Key Words: courtroom, interpreter, defendant rights, cognitive level, quality

    A study of courtroom interpreting that explores cognitive and linguistic barriers which court interpreters face everyday with the result of an interpreter's deviation from original linguistic content. The author suggests that the quality of an interpreter's message plays an important role in how well a non-English speaking minority's legal rights are served. Furthermore, the author proposes that if the quality of interpretations is to improve then the issue of interpreter cognitive overload needs to be addressed more effectively by the field.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  23. Mathers, C. (2006). Sign language interpreters in court : Understanding best practices. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.

    Key Words: case law, statutory bases, court rules, interpreting, Deaf

    Sign Language Interpreters in Court: Understanding Best Practices is the first comprehensive text examining the role and function of sign language interpreters working in the legal arena. Designed for interpreters seeking a principled basis to justify best and emerging practices, the book presents a critical analysis of the constitutional, statutory and ethical foundations underpinning the work of court interpreters. Sign Language Interpreters in Court: Understanding Best Practices offers the theoretical tools for understanding, applying and articulating the various roles and functions undertaken by sign language interpreters in court.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  24. Mikkelson, H. (2017). Introduction to court interpreting. London: Routledge.

    Key Words: court, law enforcement, court, legal, interpreting, judiciary

    This book is not oriented toward the judicial system of a particular country and includes the latest research on theory and practice and different pedagogical approaches in the field. The book includes the history of the current practice of court interpreting both inside and outside of the courtroom, and covers topics from comparative law to ethics and standards of practice, to professional and job market issues. The book includes sections on remote interpreting and police interpreting.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  25. Myers, L. (1967). The law and the deaf. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, Vocational Rehabilitation Administration.

    Key Words: Deaf, law, legal issues

    Written by a deaf attorney, this guide provides a unique historical perspective to the legal issues faced by the deaf community in the mid-Twentieth century and at the same time as the interpreting profession was being established.

    Link to Book:

  26. National Association of the Deaf. (2015). Legal rights for Deaf and hard of hearing people (6th ed). Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

    Key Words: legal rights, deaf, ADA

    Outlines the major statutes giving rights to deaf people in the United States including advice on how deaf people communicate, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Education Acts for deaf children, and statutes that affect deaf people in need of mental health services, health care, social services, captioning, telephone service, employment and architectural access.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  27. O’Barr, W., & Black, D. (2014). Linguistic evidence : Language, power, and strategy in the courtroom. Saint Louis, MO: Elsevier Science & Technology.

    Key Words: court, study, linguistic evidence, power, language, strategy

    This study analyzed more than 150 hours of courtroom speech which provided a rich archive for a variety of different types of inquiry. Four sets of linguistic variables were utilized (1) "powerful" versus "powerless" speech; (2) hypercorrect versus formal speech; (3) narrative versus fragmented testimony, and (4) simultaneous speech by witnesses and lawyers.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  28. Patrie, C. (2002). Interpreting in legal settings. San Diego, CA: Dawn Pictures.

    Key Words: skills development, legal, interpreting

    Videotape and accompanying manual which provide interpreting students the opportunity to observe interpreting situations as they might actually occur. The manual provides thought questions, vocabulary lists and the transcripts of the videotaped interaction.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  29. Potterveld, T. (2012). Law enforcement interpreting for deaf persons. Alexandria, VA: Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

    Key Words: Deaf, law enforcement, interpreters, manual

    This book offers a comprehensive guide to the special conditions, logistics and considerations that must be taken into account by interpreting professionals to best protect a Deaf person's right to due process while avoiding simple errors that could compromise legal investigations. Topics covered include: interpretation of the Miranda warning and subsequent interviews with Deaf suspects; prison intakes; violent crimes committed by Deaf suspects or perpetrated against Deaf victims; interpreting for Deaf juveniles and children; and the laws and legal precedents that govern interactions between law enforcement officers, Deaf persons and interpreters.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  30. Russell, D. (2002). Interpreting in legal contexts: Consecutive and simultaneous interpretation. Burtonsville, MD: Linstok Press.

    Key Words: consecutive interpreting, accuracy, legal, court settings, sign language, consecutive mode, simultaneous mode, discourse analysis, accuracy

    Consecutive and Simultaneous Interpretation: This study emphasizes that interpreters must know how and when to use simultaneous and consecutive interpreting in the courtroom in order to fully include Deaf people in the judicial process. Interviews with lawyers, judges, expert witnesses and Deaf people themselves give an insight into the needs and misconceptions of all parties involved in the legal process. It points out how interpreter education programs and professional associations must evaluate their programs to ensure that interpreters are receiving the appropriate training in the use of consecutive and simultaneous interpreting necessary for legal environments.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  31. Russell, D., & Hale, S. (2008). Interpreting in legal settings. Washington, D.C: Gallaudet University Press.

    Key Words: legal, court, research

    The work of interpreters in legal settings, whether they are spoken or signed language interpreters, is filled with enormous complexity and challenges. This engrossing volume presents six, data-based studies from both signed and spoken language interpreter researchers on a diverse range of topics, theoretical underpinnings, and research methodologies. In the first chapter, Ruth Morris analyzes the 1987 trial of Ivan (John) Demjanjuk in Jerusalem, and reveals that what might appear to be ethical breaches often were no more than courtroom dynamics, such as noise and overlapping conversation. Waltraud Kolb and Franz Pöchhacker studied 14 asylum appeals in Austria and found that interpreters frequently aligned themselves with the adjudicators. Bente Jacobsen presents a case study of a Danish-English interpreter whose discourse practices expose her attempts to maintain, mitigate, or enhance face among the participants. In the fourth chapter, Jemina Napier and David Spencer investigate the effectiveness of interpreting in an Australian courtroom to determine if deaf citizens should participate as jurors. Debra Russell analyzed the effectiveness of preparing sign language interpreter teams for trials in Canada and found mixed results. The final chapter presents Zubaidah Ibrahim-Bell’s research on the inadequate legal services in Malaysia due to the fact that only seven sign interpreters are available. Taken together, these studies point to a “coming of age” of the field of legal interpreting as a research discipline, making Interpreting in Legal Settings an invaluable, one-of-a-kind acquisition.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  32. Shlesinger, M., & Pöchhacker, F. (Eds.). (2010). Doing justice to court interpreting. Amsterdam, John Benjamins Publishing Company.

    Key Words: Court, legal, interpreting

    This volume provides a wide view of the complex and uniquely constrained practice of court interpreting in a collection of various articles.

    Link to Book, Account or Purchase Required:

  33. Shuy, R. (2006). Linguistics in the courtroom: A practical guide. Oxford ;: Oxford University Press.

    Key Words: guide, book, court, legal, judicial process, manual, civil, criminal

    This book is a guide for both beginning and established linguists who have been asked by lawyers to address the language issues in their civil and criminal cases. Shuy discusses issues of how to become an expert, how to start and manage a practice of consulting on law cases, how to address the issue of professional ethics, how to work with lawyers, write reports, affidavits, and participate successfully in depositions, direct examination, and cross examination at trial.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  34. Shuy, R., Conley, J., & O’Barr, W. (1999). Just words: Law, language and power. Language, 75(4).

    Key Words: linguistics, legal, law, court

    Is it "just words" when a lawyer cross examines a rape victim in the hopes of getting her to admit an interest in her attacker? Is it "just words" when the Supreme Court hands down a decision or when business people draw up a contract? In tackling the question of how an abstract entity exerts concrete power, Just Words focuses on what has become the central issue in law and language research: what language reveals about the nature of legal power. Conley and O'Barr show how the micro-dynamics of the legal process and the largest questions of justice can be fruitfully explored through the field of linguistics. Each chapter covers a language-based approach to a different area of the law, from the cross-examinations of victims and witnesses to the inequities of divorce mediation. Combining analysis of common legal events with a broad range of scholarship on language and law, Just Words seeks the reality of power in the everyday practice and application of the law. As the only study of its type, the book is the definitive treatment of the topic that will be welcomed by students and specialists alike.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  35. Valencia, V. (2013). Note-taking manual: A study guide for interpreters and everyone who takes notes. Virginia: Valencia CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

    Key Words: note-taking, consecutive interpreting

    This book is designed using note-taking symbols as well as Jean François Rozan and Andrew Gillies techniques for note-taking. The book provides exercises which offer samples of notes to compare with your own and discover additional tips.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  36. Witter-Merithew, A. (1995). Interpreting in the American judicial system. Burtonsville, MD: Sign Media, Inc.

    Key Words: court, legal, interpreting, Self-study, curriculum, materials

    Seminal practical tool including a series of 12 videos and an accompanying workbook to understand the legal system and implement the concepts through viewing model interpretations and through providing stimulus materials for practice activities.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  37. Woodward, J. (1979). Signs of sexual behavior: An introduction to some sex-related vocabulary in American sign language. Silver Spring, MD: T. J. Publishers.

    Key Words: sex, sexual behavior, glossary

    Signs related to sexual behavior are clearly illustrated, along with easy-to-follow explanations and notes on derivation of each sign.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

  38. Woodward, J. (1980). Signs of drug use: An introduction to drug and alcohol vocabulary in American sign language. Silver Spring, MD: T.J. Publishers.

    Key Words: drugs, alcohol, glossary

    Over 160 signs related to drug and alcohol use are clearly illustrated, along with easy-to-follow explanations and notes on derivation of each sign.

    *Available through libraries and online retailers

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