The Jurisprudence and Administration of Legal Interpreting in Hong Kong (1966–2016)

  • Ester S. M. LeungEmail author


Legal interpreting and translation are some of the oldest and most frequently practised bilingual activities in Hong Kong. The principles and operation of the bilingual legal system actually impinge on the legal interpreting services and the practices of legal interpreting services also in ways impact on the system itself. This study adopts a historical approach to analyse the jurisprudence and administration of legal interpreting in Hong Kong courts from 1966 to 2016 (half a century), across the 1997 dividing line between British colonial rule and the return of Hong Kong to the government of mainland China. It focuses on the opinions of judges and other participants in courtroom proceedings as recorded in Hong Kong case reports. It is discovered that the jurisprudence of having an interpreter to interpret for participants who do not speak the language of the court is clearly indicated and well versed in the precedents. However, there is a gap between the jurisprudence and the actual interpreting services, mainly caused by the malpractices of the concerned administration department(s) and some of the law enforcement agents working in the frontline.


Legal interpreting History Jurisprudence Administration 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Translation ProgrammeHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong

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