We’ve blogged about the role of professional court translators and document interpreters in national origin discrimination cases and in employment discrimination cases. Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, discriminating against an individual on the grounds of their foreign accent may be prohibited. However, many cases brought under this action are unsuccessful due to the high burden of proof placed on the plaintiff. One example is the Customer Preference defense, which argues that employment decisions may be justified when done in order to appeal to a target demographic group – namely, the customer.
In other words, research has shown that customers prefer to interact with employees who are like them. Thus, an employer may argue that they did not hire the individual with a foreign accent because of customer preferences.
This same concept of Customer Preference can be applied to the courtroom, where it may be better referred to as Jury Preference. In other words, a jury is likely to prefer a witness who is like them. Thus, if you are using a witness with a strong accent, it is advisable to use a foreign language interpreter, whose professional courtroom translation services will put the witness on an equal footing with the individuals who don’t have an accent. The result is that the witness will be “more like” the jury member and, thus, “preferred”.
For additional information on dealing with courtroom translators and court interpreters in cross-cultural depositions and beyond, read “A Lawyer’s Guide to Cross-Cultural Depositions“. Contact our expert translation center to retain certified translation/ interpretation professionals for your depositions, IMEs, settlement conferences, trials.