Perspectives on transcription in criminal justice – Aston AIFL Symposium

A free online symposium examining the production and use of transcripts in criminal justice.


Thursday 11 March 2021 (morning in the UK, evening in Eastern Australia)

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About the Symposium

Transcription is almost always an institutional practice (Park & Bucholtz 2009). Across a range of institutional settings, ‘practitioners’ are eliciting and capturing spoken talk from ‘clients’ (Sarangi 1998), transcribing that talk, and later repurposing the transcripts in place of the original interaction. The transcription provides a written record of the spoken interaction, to be used by another party at a later date, in another setting or context.

Our point of departure is that written records, and hence transcripts, are certainly necessary. However, we acknowledge that no transcript of spoken interaction can be exact. Over the three sessions we highlight how the transcripts are only ever a representation of the spoken talk and never direct copies, and they inevitably result in a loss of detail. While these ideas are well established in branches of linguistics that deal with transcription, they are not always clearly understood within the law. This has implications for the administration of justice, as our speakers will demonstrate in relation to transcription of police interviews, and of indistinct forensic recordings.

In organizing this event we invite and encourage further linguistic input into this area of professional practice.


NB times are shown in UK time – if you are not in the UK please adjust them to your timezone!

Thursday 11 March 2021

8:50am — Introduction & Housekeeping

9:00-9:45 — Dr Martha Komter, Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR)

9:45-10:30 — Dr Kate Haworth, Dr Felicity Deamer & Dr Emma Richardson, Centre for Spoken Interaction in Legal Contexts (SILC), Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics, Aston University

10:30-11:15 — Professor Helen Fraser, Research Hub for Language in Forensic Evidence, The University of Melbourne

12:00 — Join us in ‘Wonder’ our social space to continue the conversation

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