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The mediated voice: A discursive study of interpreter-mediated closing statements in Chinese criminal trials

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jade Biyu DuORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This paper examines how the voice of trial participants is mediated by court interpreters, with a focus on closing statements articulated by the accused in Chinese criminal trials, the last chance prior to sentencing for their voice to be heard. Drawing upon the concept of voice, theories of speech acts and pragmatic equivalence, based on discourse analysis of seven trial recordings, this study reveals how the discursive performance of the accused is constructed, altered and undermined through interpreting. It is discovered that the speech acts performed by the accused are often not maintained in the interpreted renditions and the concept of closing statement is difficult to be conveyed. It is argued that when interpreters fail to faithfully convey the pragmatic force of the accused’s utterances, the voice of the accused is not fully heard, which places them at a disadvantage and damages their right to equality and justice.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Du B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Target: International Journal of Translation Studies

Year: 2021

Volume: 33

Issue: 2

Pages: 341-367

Online publication date: 25/05/2021

Acceptance date: 27/04/2021

Date deposited: 28/05/2021

ISSN (print): 0924-1884

ISSN (electronic): 1569-9986

Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company


DOI: 10.1075/target.21066.du


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