Saturday, February 18, 2006

Translation Issues at the ICTR

The official languages of the ICTR are English and French. The vast majority of the 1,500 witnesses who have testified before the tribunal, however, speak only Kinyarawanda, the African-Bantu language that is the most widely-spoken language in Rwanda. As the Hirondelle News Agency reports in a fascinating article, the fact that most of the testimony heard by the ICTR judges has to be translated from Kinyarawanda into English and French has created numerous problems for the tribunal.

The most important problem is that many Kinyarawanda concepts do not translate easily or precisely into English and French. According to Mathias Ruzindana – a Rwandan language expert who testified as an expert in the ICTR’s seminal Akayesu case – Kinyarwanda expressions involving temporal concepts are particularly ill-suited for use in a legal context, because they tend to be far more general than their “equivalents” in English and French:

“Most Rwandans do not own watches, so they usually measure time by the movement of the sun or their routine activities to express time (e.g. grazing cattle)”, he said.

“Expressions like umuseke (dawn), igitondo (morning), umugoroba (evening), etc, exist but they are not precise and do not tally with the precision needed in judicial matters”, explained the Rwandan expert.

He went on to say that Rwandans usually shade these expressions by adding words such as “very early, at about, etc” without giving exact details.

“They cannot for example distinguish between 10:15 and 11: 45, yet an hour or half-an-hour would be enough to establish an alibi”, Ruzindana pointed out adding that it was not uncommon to hear a witness say that “a short moment” passed between two events without even being able to estimate the time.

This kind of exchange is very common and might go on for minutes without the lawyer getting a precise answer. The defence usually ends up getting angry and abandons the line of questioning saying that the witness had refused to answer. Yet in reality one man's ignorance leads to another person's lack of understanding.

The generality of Kinyarwanda temporal concepts, in turn, affects the precision of spatial concepts:

The problem of space usually poses the same problems as those of time. For the uneducated witnesses, estimation will be approximate. It would be difficult for example, for a witness to estimate in court the distance between his house and the local administrator's office.

“The lawyer will be guided by the time it takes someone to cover the distance on foot. Unfortunately, estimating time when one does not and has never owned a watch is not an easy thing”, Ruzindana underscored.

Fabien Segatwa, a Burundian lawyer made the same remarks. The translations by most Rwandans of notions of time and space “are only rough estimates.”

It’s easy to see how such translations problems could negatively affect a trial, where accuracy is at a premium. Dr. Ruzindana’s discussion of an alibi is a perfect example: as O.J. has taught us, 15 minutes can be the difference between a conviction and an acquittal. Moreover, judges and juries alike tend to judge the credibility of a witness by examining the internal structural consistency of a witness’s testimony – a far more difficult task when relationships of time and space are expressed generally.

Because of these (and other) translation problems, the fairness of an ICTR trial will often hinge on the quality of interpreters employed by the tribunal. So it's not surprising that defendants have often complained that a witness’s testimony had been imprecisely translated – damningly so. In Akayesu, for example, the defendant complained that the interpreters had been translating different Kinyarwanda expressions relating to sexual relations simply as “rape.”

The terms gusambanya, kurungora, kuryamana and gufata ku ngufu were used interchangeably by witnesses and translated by the interpreters as “rape”. The Chamber has consulted its official trial interpreters to gain a precise understanding of these words and how they have been interpreted. The word gusambanya means “to bring (a person) to commit adultery or fornication”. The word kurungora means “to have sexual intercourse with a woman”. This term is used regardless of whether the woman is married or not, and regardless of whether she gives consent or not. The word kuryamana means “to share a bed” or “to have sexual intercourse”, depending on the context. It seems similar to the colloquial usage in English and in French of the term “to sleep with”. The term gufata ku ngufu means “to take (anything) by force” and also “to rape”. The context in which these terms are used is critical to an understanding of their meaning and their translation… The Chamber notes that the accused objected on one occasion to the translation of the words stated by Witness JJ (“Batangira kujya babafata ku ngufu babakoresha ibyo bashaka”) as “They began to rape them.” It was clarified that the witness said “they had their way with them.” The Chamber notes that in this instance the term used, babafata ku ngufu, is the term which of the four terms identified in the paragraph above is the term most closely connected to the concept of force. Having reviewed in detail with the official trial interpreters the references to “rape” in the transcript, the Chamber is satisfied that the Kinyarwanda expressions have been accurately translated.

In this situation, the tribunal was most likely correct. Translation problems, however, continue to haunt the ICTR – and, if anything, will be even more acute for the ICC, which has judges that speak many different languages and genuinely global jurisdiction.


Blogger A Ron D World said...

Translation problems plagued the ICTR in "The Media" trial too. In that case, the meaning of the terms "Inkotanyi" and "Inyezi" could have meant legitimate targets (the RPF invaders) or illegitimate (innocent Tutsi civilians). The Tribunal interpreted these terms against the Defendants. See Alexander Zahar, "The ICTR's 'Media' Judgment and the Reinvention of Direct and Public Incitement to Commit Genocide," 16 Criminal Law Forum 33-48 (2005); H. Ron Davidson, "The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda's Decision in The Prosecutor v. Ferdinand Nahimana et al.: The Past, Present, and Future of International Incitement Law," 17 Leiden Journal of International Law 505 (2004)

2/22/2006 2:43 PM  
Blogger J&D said...








7/03/2009 10:36 AM  
Blogger poston said...

There are ed hardy shirts
,pretty ed hardy shirt for men,

ed hardy womens in the ed hardy online store

designed by ed hardy ,
many cheap ed hardy shirt ,glasses,caps,trouers ed hardy shirts on sale ,

You can go to to have a look ,you may find one of ed hardy clothing fit for you
Top qualitymen's jacket,
These cheap jacket are on sale now,you can find
north face jackets inmage on our web
Ralph Lauren Polo Shirtsbuberry polo shirts

Authentic chaussure puma
chaussure sport
And chaussure nike shoes
Come here to have a look of our Wholesale Jeans
Many fashionMens Jeans ,eye-catching
Womens Jeans ,and special out standing
Blue Jeans ,you can spend less money on our
Discount Jeans but gain really fine jeans, absolutely a great bargain.


7/08/2009 5:05 AM  
Blogger The Jack said...

Thanks ever so much, very useful article. If you do not mind, please visit my article related to pandeglang district in Banten, Indonesia at Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang or Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang second and also Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang Objek Wisata Air Terjun Curug Gendang or related to a leadership at Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa and Oes Tsetnoc or Oes Tsetnoc the second and our hard work at Kerja Keras Adalah Energi Kita that's right Kerja Keras Adalah Energi Kita, and Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang Memasuki Babak Akhir also Objek Wisata Taman Wisata Alam Carita, Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang, or Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang, also Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang, or Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang, also Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang, or Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang, also Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang, or Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang, very smart thank you!

10/29/2009 1:53 AM  
Blogger Daniela said...

Find your great Travel News and sing the songs at Free Song Lyric or you can watch the drama at Korea Drama Online one of great korea drama is A Love to Kill if you go to travel to Indonesia learn Learn Indonesia Language first! And find your home cari rumah or make a blog Belajar membuat Blog find your home again rumah dijual and again at jual rumah then if you want buy a new laptop see the Laptop Price List or you can buy a New Blackberry and then take care your Health & Jewerly.

11/14/2009 10:42 PM  
Blogger mucheng said...

blu ray ripper
blu ray ripper
blu ray to avi
blu ray to wmv
blu ray to mp4
Furthermore, Blu ray Ripper has powerful editing functions like Trim and Crop Blu ray clips, add text/image Watermark as a logo, set video Effect like brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.

7/06/2010 3:25 AM  
Blogger beautifuls said...

Buy cheap Classic Cambridge Satchel Music Cambridge Satchel Designer Cambridge Satchel Metallic Cambridge Satchel and Limited Cambridge Satchel with cheap price and high quality. Fluro Orange Cambridge Satchel

2/27/2012 2:58 AM  
Blogger jessiedresstyle said...

  Official gowns are often regarded as complete duration silk dresses that are put on with regard to night features, however drink gowns is often as official while you would like these phones end up being too. click here Probably the most popular materials with regard to official gowns tend to be silk, tulle, taffeta, chiffon, and so on., as well as they are mixed in a variety of styles. Improvements for example belts, made blossoms, sheaths, ruffles, ruched, and many more may be used to help to make the actual styles much more fashionable as well as appealing.

9/07/2012 11:12 PM  
Blogger GuildWars2Items said...

Empty what's full. Scratch where it itches. Don't go around saying the world owes you a living rs gold, The world owes you nothing. It was here first. Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect Runescape Gold, It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powersrs gold.

3/27/2013 3:58 AM  
Blogger GuildWars2Items said...

If you lose your way, your forever friend guides you and cheers you on Diablo iii Gold, if you turn and walk away, your forever friend follows Buy Diablo iii Gold, your forever friend gets you through the hard times, the sad times, and the confused times Cheap Diablo iii Gold.

3/27/2013 4:03 AM  
Blogger GuildWars2Items said...

Suppose someone gave you a pen — a sealed, solid-colored pen.You could not see how much ink it had D3 Gold, think Positive Thoughts Every Day Buy D3 Gold, the brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past, you can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches Cheap D3 Gold.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, who is a remarkable nim in the air, cannot take off from a level place aion gold, if it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is to shuffle about helplessly and aion gold, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash aion gold.

4/19/2013 1:15 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 08.11
louboutin, nike free, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet, burberry, nike outlet, louboutin shoes, ray ban sunglasses, chanel handbags, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet, nike air max, ray ban sunglasses, tory burch outlet, coach outlet, replica watches, coach purses, polo ralph lauren outlet, michael kors outlet, tiffany jewelry, christian louboutin outlet, coach outlet, michael kors outlet, gucci outlet, prada outlet, longchamp outlet, tiffany and co, longchamp, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, jordan shoes, kate spade handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, true religion jeans, oakley sunglasses, nike air max, coach factory outlet, louboutin outlet, prada handbags, kate spade outlet, oakley sunglasses, michael kors

8/11/2015 2:44 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

new balance pas cher, nike air max, nike roshe run, hollister, michael kors, true religion jeans, north face, true religion jeans, lululemon, sac guess, timberland, longchamp pas cher, ray ban pas cher, sac longchamp, abercrombie and fitch, nike air max, air force, mulberry, burberry, nike free run uk, ray ban uk, lacoste pas cher, north face, ralph lauren uk, michael kors, nike blazer, true religion outlet, oakley pas cher, nike free, hogan, vans pas cher, hermes, air max, nike air max, air jordan pas cher, michael kors, ralph lauren pas cher, hollister pas cher, converse pas cher, tn pas cher, vanessa bruno, louboutin pas cher

8/11/2015 2:48 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

birkin bag, lululemon, timberland boots, nfl jerseys, baseball bats, celine handbags, babyliss, chi flat iron, mac cosmetics, nike air max, longchamp, ferragamo shoes, mont blanc, herve leger, insanity workout, vans shoes, ghd, iphone 6 cases, hollister, valentino shoes, hollister, reebok shoes, jimmy choo shoes, nike roshe, nike roshe, soccer jerseys, wedding dresses, mcm handbags, nike huarache, new balance, instyler, giuseppe zanotti, p90x workout, north face outlet, bottega veneta, abercrombie and fitch, north face outlet, oakley, soccer shoes, nike trainers, asics running shoes, beats by dre

8/11/2015 2:50 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

hollister, ugg boots uk, thomas sabo, ugg boots, lancel, uggs on sale, karen millen, links of london, ray ban, louboutin, ralph lauren, bottes ugg, converse outlet, ugg boots, replica watches, ugg boots, converse, gucci, toms shoes, hollister, coach outlet, nike air max, juicy couture outlet, ugg boots, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, supra shoes, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, vans, swarovski crystal, wedding dresses, swarovski, ugg pas cher, pandora charms, montre pas cher, marc jacobs, juicy couture outlet, pandora charms, pandora jewelry
ninest123 08.11

8/11/2015 2:52 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home