Note-taking in court interpreting: Interpreter perceptions and practices in a simulated trial


  • Sandra Hale University of New South Wales
  • Julie Lim University of New South Wales
  • Natalie Martschuk Griffith University
  • Jane Goodman-Delahunty University of Newcastle


Court interpreting, consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, Mandarin, Spanish.


Note-taking for interpreting is a specialist skill originally developed to assist conference interpreters to remember the contents of long speeches when interpreting consecutively in a unidirectional mode. The bulk of the research into note-taking has been in relation to the classic consecutive interpreting mode in international settings, with little research into the use of note-taking in legal interpreting settings. This paper presents the results of a study on note-taking by 13 court interpreters in a simulated criminal trial in Sydney, Australia. It reports the results of interpreters’ note-taking practices, taking into account their language combination, their own perceptions of mental effort and the usefulness of notes as well as their overall interpreting performance.