What is a deposition and what is it for?
A deposition, or ‘examination before trial’ as it is known in some US states, is the oral testimony of a witness (the deponent) used in order to prepare for a trial. A written (and sometimes video and audio) recording of the deposition can then later be used in the discovery process and in court. The witness preparation allows the litigant parties in a case to view the evidence before the trial takes place, and can be useful in recording the testimony of the deponent whilst events are still ‘fresh’ if the trial is scheduled to happen some time later.
Who does it involve?
The witness (who might be party to the action, or may be a third party), the attormeys and an interpreter if necessary, amongst others. The qualified interpreter will be familiar with any specialist terminology and must accurately interpret what is said. Often a check-interpreter will also be present.
What happens in a deposition?
The witness is questioned by the attorney who has ordered the deposition, in ‘direct examination’. Following the direct examination, the witness is then cross-examined by the other attorneys. A court reporter is present in order to make an accurate stenographic record of the statements, usually by transcription, using stenographic equipment. Audio or video recordings may also be taken if the witness is unable to appear at the trial.
Where does the deposition take place?
The witness testimony is usually taken outside court, in the offices of one of the attorneys or the court reporter.
How long does a deposition usually last?
The length of a deposition can vary from a few hours to several days, and is usually for a maximum of 7-8 hours in any one day.
What happens after the deposition?
The transcript of the deposition is published and supplied to the deponent, and is available to any of the parties if desired. The document is then used during the trial. In some cases, the outcome of the trial can be reasonably predicted and so a settlement is arrived at instead of continuing with the trial and litigation.
TJC Global has a network of interpreters working globally for depositions with foreign language speaking witnesses. Our interpreters are familiar with the procedure for depositions and usually have specialist knowledge of the specific subject area of the case.
To make an enquiry for a deposition interpreter, contact us by email or for further information please see our deposition interpreting website. We also cover court intepreting, check interpreting, litigation interpreting, and many more.
If you are specifically looking for Japanese Language Services, please visit The Japanese Connection’s section on Legal Translation or send us an email. For other Asian languages please visit our Asian Language Services website.