Deposition Interpreting Explained

Deposition Interpreting/Interpretation Explained

To find out more information to prepare for an upcoming deposition, please contact us.

The purpose of a deposition

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.

The parties involved

The witness (who might be party to the action, or may be a third party), the attorneys and an interpreter if necessary are the main attendants at a deposition, although there are often 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.

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.

What happens at 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 trial.

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.

After the deposition

When the deposition has finished, the transcript 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.


If you are a professional deposition/litigation interpreter and would like to join our worldwide team, please contact us with your CV/resume. TJC Global has a network of interpreters working globally for depositions with foreign language speaking witnesses. We regularly provide qualified interpreters for this purpose in cities such as Paris, Barcelona, Munich, Milan, Vienna, Prague, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul and many other cities worldwide.

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