IAFL workshops for linguists and lawyers – Melbourne 1 July 2019

The International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL) Conference is preceded by a day of workshops for linguists and lawyers.

Get a preview of the exciting offerings below

Just $75 for each three-hour workshop, held on Mon 1 July at RMIT in Melbourne CBD.

My workshops (abstracts below)

Forensic Transcription and Translation for Linguists – by Helen Fraser

Forensic Speech Recordings as Evidence: Issues for lawyers – by Helen Fraser

Other workshops

Forensic Interviewing – by Georgina Heydon RMIT

Plain Language Writing: Clarifying communication between the legal system and the public – by Prof John Gibbons (Monash)

Forensic Linguistics for Teachers – by A/Prof Georgina Heydon RMIT

Legal/Police Interpreting for T&I and legal professionals – by Dr Miranda Lai (RMIT

Here’s a poster showing all the workshops, if you have space to put it up somewhere.

Learn more and register for any or all of the workshops here!

More info on my own workshops

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions)

Forensic Transcription and Translation for Linguists (by Helen Fraser)

Intended audience: Linguists at all levels (familiarity with some form of linguistic transcription is an advantage, but no background specifically in forensic transcription or translation is required)

Transcription and translation of indistinct covert recordings used as evidence in criminal trials has been shown to be a major problem. For example, courts allow police transcripts to ‘assist’ juries’ comprehension, with inadequate protection from misleading errors they might contain (see forensictranscription.net.au for background).

The next question is: what alternative should linguists offer to ensure juries are always assisted by reliable and useful transcripts and translations? Transcription is an important tool in many branches of linguistics, especially phonetics and conversation analysis. However, forensic transcription is undertaken in very different circumstances. Most notably, ‘ground truth’ regarding their content is typically not available, and the transcript will be used in ways that are unusual in linguistics.

This workshop explores these issues in a way that contributes to improving both forensic transcription and translation, and theoretical understanding of the process and product of transcription.

Effective use of forensic speech recordings as evidence in criminal trials: Legal and scientific issues (by Helen Fraser)

Intended audience: legal practitioners, members of the judiciary, students in related fields

Your brief includes covert recordings. The transcript shows they contain admissions that concern you – but is the transcript reliable? You listen to the audio: it is unintelligible (poor quality; foreign languages; maybe both). Then again, your ears aren’t the best. When you check the enhanced version against the transcript, you can hear most of the key phrases. Surely the judge and jury will too – they’ll have headphones. So should you spend time checking it out further? Or go along with it, directing limited resources to bigger issues? It’s a judgment call, but there’s some relevant science that can help you make the right decision.

Learn about it in this workshop, rather than in the rush of trial preparations.

Learn more and register for any or all of the workshops here!

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