The effect of using an interpreter on the accuracy of witness accounts gathered from police interviews

Research Institution / Organisation

The Open University

In Collaboration With

Centre for Police Research and Learning

Principal Researcher

Charlotte Gaskell

Level of Research


Project Start Date

February 2016

Research Context

Research aims:

  1. is to consider the effect of interpreters on the accuracy of witness accounts.
  2. To consider how different disciplines, psychology, translation studies, interpreting and forensic linguistics can be used together to better understand the effects on accounts gained via an interpreter.
  3. To consider why accuracy is affected and how it can be better managed.

Research Methodology

Research methods:​

  1. Questionnaires:  Qualitative analysis of views of interpreters and police on interpreter-assisted interviews
  2. Qualitative review of transcripts of interpreter assisted interviews:  5 from similar cultures to UK, 5 from cultures very different to the UK
  3. Mock crime:  Interviews with witnesses in both English and in other language via an interpreter.

Interim reports and publications

​Not available

Date due for completion

February 2022
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