Linda Richardson (left) handing a copy of “Trilingual Terminology in Criminal Proceedings” to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.
PHILIPSBURG--Court interpreter and translator Linda A. Richardson presented Trilingual Terminology in Criminal Proceedings, a reference book in three languages - Dutch, English and Spanish - which will prove to be an essential tool to those at all levels of involvement in criminal proceedings, such as law enforcement officers, suspects, attorneys, court recorders, probation officers, prosecutors and judges.
In an effort to accommodate significant segments of the local population, Richardson has ambitiously assembled this first volume of legal vocabulary and expression. It is based on more than 40 years of experience as a sworn translator/interpreter.
In view of a shortage of courtroom interpreters in St. Maarten, Richardson designed and offered a course in court interpreting in 2021. This exercise further deepened her awareness of the disconnect between the people and the judicial system. This disconnect is compounded by the fact that throughout the entire penal process, individuals are confronted with the Dutch language, which is the official court language, but which they do not speak and hear in their daily lives.
“Understandably, translating Dutch legal terms is a huge challenge for practitioners of law who studied Dutch criminal law. Nevertheless, it is imperative that individuals confronted with different phases in the criminal proceedings must be able to understand what is happening around them,” the author said in the introduction to her book.
With this in mind, and to support stakeholders in criminal proceedings in especially St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius, Richardson embarked on compiling a judicial terminology in Dutch, English and Spanish, covering numerous terms and expressions used throughout criminal proceedings.
First copies of this reference book were handed out to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, Minister of Justice Anna Richardson, Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion and others during a book presentation at the Government Administration Building.
Updated editions, which will include the translated terms used in Papiamentu and in French will follow, as well as the publication of Bringing the Court Before the People: Open to Interpretation, a book which will delve more into the disconnect between the people and the judicial system.