François Bembatoum
speaks on ...
the difficulty of giving faithful renditions of witness testimony


A witness will come and tell his or her story. Will I as a professional be able to give a faithful rendition of what the witness would say, (__), including the nuances and if possible, if possible putting through the feeling that, that, that, the, the, the witness mi-, might have, okay? The fear, the re-, r-, he, he, he can, he may have rebelled for instance, you know, (___).
So many feelings that you can perceive, but how do you put it through to the judges? You see. While you might say the witness is sitting right there facing the judges and that the judges, you know, can see his demeanor, et cetera, but those who are there listening to the voice of the interpreter, as a professional I’m supposed to be, okay.
If the witness breaks into tears I’m not supposed to break into tears, I’m supposed to be neutral – and that is a source of major, major frustration, especially when you identify, you know with the witness.
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About this video

Country of Origin:
Interview Date:
October 22, 2008
Arusha, Tanzania
Lisa P. Nathan
John McKay
Max Andrews
Excerpt From:
Part 4
Submitted By:
Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal team