Mozambican police interviews: The interaction between official language and legal pluralism [chapter]

Eliseu Mabasso, Georgina Heydon
2022 Language and the Law: Global Perspectives in Forensic Linguistics from Africa and Beyond  
1. Portuguese shall be the language for courtroom sessions. 2.Those who do not speak Portuguese and wish to be heard shall, however, [be permitted to do so] in a language other than Portuguese, provided that, if deemed necessary, a sworn interpreter is appointed to ensure communication. (*) Note * The use of interpreters is necessary not only when foreigners are involved, but also with Mozambicans who speak languages other than Portuguese. Article 139 clearly states that access to the legal
more » ... em for non-Portuguese speakers will be provided through an interpreter. Reports predating this article have found that, generally, courts have attempted to provide interpretation services as required, although the quality has frequently been poor. This is particularly true at the district level, where interpreters are not professionals and are often simply drafted in on the day. In fact, in many district courts, if judges speak the local language, they conduct proceedings directly in that language, or play the role of interpreter themselves (Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, 2006:111). While the more recent amendments 2 This may appear quaint to 'non-traditional' societies, but in fact it is not dissimilar to the reverence for the past that serves to preserve the use of archaic English and Latin in English-language courtrooms.
doi:10.52779/9781991201836/02 fatcat:xjstdmqptbhnrhxqwxwdokc74i