Mock jurors’ perceptions of children testifying via a language interpreter
Espinosa Becerra, Ana Karen
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Language interpreters will increasingly be used in our globalized world. However, their impact on fact finders' perceptions is yet to be understood. The current research examined adults' perceptions of youth testifying via a language interpreter. (N =302) English-speaking participants in Study 1 and (N = 464) Spanish-speaking participants in Study 2 listened to two mock investigative interviews, one with a 7-year-old child and one with a 14-year-old adolescent. Half listened to interpreter-mediated interviews in a language in which the participant was not proficient (i.e., Spanish or English). Findings indicate that verbatim translations of the testimony resulted in differences in how mock jurors perceived young witnesses, the interviewer, and interview as a whole. For example, youth who testified via a language interpreter were rated as calmer and more comfortable with the interviewer than in typical interviews. The current study has implications for understanding jurors' perceptions of non-native language-speaking children and adolescents.