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John Hinds declares under penalty of per jury, pursuant to 28

U.S.c. S 1746, as follows:


I am an associate professor, Department of Speech

Communication, at Pennsylvania State University.

I am fluent in

Japanese, and have devoted much of my professional career to the

study of Japanese linguistics. My professional qualifications are set forth in more detail in the accompanying curriculum vitae (Exhibit A), which is incorporated herein by reference.

2. At the request of counsel for Takeru Kamiyama respecting United States v. Kamiyama, 81 cr. 705 (GLG), 82 Cr. 194 (GLG) (S.D.N.Y.), I have listened to the tape recordings of the testimony of Mr. Kamiyama before the grand jury on July 9, July 16 and July 21, 1981, for the purpose of translating the questions asked of Mr. Kamiyama and the answers he gave. I nave also compared the version of the testimony given by the interpreter who was in the grand jury with the translations I have prepared. For the reasons set forth in more detail below, I have determined tnat the translations contained in the indictment are highly inaccurate and do not approach the standard of care that should be expected

even of a reasonably competent interpreter, much less that which

would be expected of a competent translator.

3. As used in this declaration, interpretation refers to the process of orally converting one language into another at the

same time or at approximately the same time as it is spoken.

There are two kinds of interpretation.

The first, called

simultaneous interpretation, is used at the United Nations. An

interpreter listens to a few words in the speaker's language then

interprets them into a second language, while the speaker continues to talk. The interpreter (who cannot be heard by the speaker) then continues to translate throughout the speech. The

second, called consecutive interpretation, is more typically used in courtroom and grand jury settings. The consecutive interpreter listens to a complete thought of the speaker--often several sentences. Then, while the speaker waits, the interpreter converts the sentences into the second language. Translation, as used in this declaration, also refers to the conversion of one. language into another, but with more opportunity for reflection and reference to dictionaries. Translation may be done either from a tape-recorded statement or from written materials.

4. The consecutive interpretation from one language to another is a task of great difficulty. The apparent fluency of a handful of the best interpreters may well disguise the perils which faced the interpreter who acted for the grand jury. As

noted by Farb, most people assume that a text in one language can

be accurately translated into another language so long as the

translator uses a good bilingual dictionary, but that is not so

because words that are familiar in one language may have no

equivalent usage in another."

(Peter Farb, Word Play: What

Happens when People Talk (New York: Knopf, 1973), 224.) Although a large number of examples of words which do not translate easily from one language to another may be found, this does not really get at the heart of the difficulty. Typically, languages code grammatical information and thought processes in different ways. For instance, the Japanese verbal system requires only a distinction between past and non-past tense or between completed and non-completed aspects rather than the three-way system of English which requires past, present, and future. The expression benkyoo suru, for instance, may be translated as either "I will study' or 'I study (habitually),' depending on context. Additionally, subjects and objects are frequently omitted from an utterance if the speaker assumes the listener can tell who and what is being spoken about. While this system works reasonably well, there are large number of expressions in which the speaker

may have mis judged the listener's ability to comprehend a subject

or object (see John Hinds, Ellipsis in Japanese (Alberta: Linguistic Research, Inc., 1982).)

5. Farb sums up the situation when he says, 'No matter how skilled the translator is, he cannot rip language out of the speech community that uses it. Translation obviously is not a simple two-way street between two languages. Rather, it is a busy

intersection at which at least five thoroughfares meet, the two

languges with all their eccentricities, the cultures of the two speech communities, and the speech situation in which the statement was uttered.' (Farb, Word Play, 226.)


This difficulty in translating one language into another

with a high degree of accuracy has been recognized for some years by linguists. Benjamin Lee Whorf, a noted linguist, has stateu: "Actually, thinking is most mysterious, and by far the greatest light upon it that we have is thrown by the study of language. This study shows that the forms of a person's thoughts are controlled by inexorable laws of pattern of which he is unconscious. These patterns are the unperceived, intricate systemizations of his own language, shown readily enough by a candid comparision and contrast with other languages, especially those of a different linguistic family. His thinking itself is in a language, in English, in Sanskrit, in Chinese. And every language is a vast pattern of systems different from others in which are culturally ordained the forms and categories by which the personality not only communicates but also analyzes nature, notices or neglects types of relationship and phenomena, channels his reasoning, and builds the house of his consciousness.' (Benjamin Lee Whorf, Language, Thought, and Reality, Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, ed. J. B. Carroll (New York: Wiley, 1956), 252.)

7. We are thus capable of finding any number of works which deal with the general problem of interpretation or translation from one language to another. When the situation is such that precision of expression is required, it becomes extremely

important to look at all of the nuances which exist between the two versions of a given thought which occur in the original and translated languages.

8. In addition to general problems of translation or interpretation that may exist between any two languages, there are a number of specific problems which exist in the interpretation from Japanese into English or from English into Japanese. Saito discusses the specific difficulty involved with conference interpretation. It is believed by some that anyone who has a facility in two languages, Japanese and English, can easily

succeed as a conference interpreter.

This is not the case.

Interpretation requires many communication skills for interpreting involves social interaction. Of course, he must have a knowledge

of languages, but this in itself is not enough. He must also be

able to understand the content of what is being said. He must

know the semantic aspects of language, and he must have an awareness of himself as a middleman between persons of different

cultural background. Thus, he must understand that behind differences in language are differences in thought patterns, value systems, customs, and ways of responding to symbols and people.' (Mitsuko Saito, 'International Conference Interpretation, in Intercultural Encounters with Japan, eds. John C. Condon and Mitsuko Saito (Tokyo: Simul Press, 1974), 100-01.)

9. It is appropriate, then, to inquire into the background and qualifications of a court-ordered interpreter. It has been noted that in 1975 there were fewer than a dozen universities in the world which teach interpretation and translation. (John C. Condon and Fathi Yousef, An Introduction to Intercultural Communication (New York: Bobbs Merrill, 1975).) The scarcity of

training programs stems from the mistaken idea that interpretation

is simply the transfer of words in one language to the words in

another. Accurate interpretation is an extremely difficult

endeavor, and condon and Yousef spend most of a chapter attempting to demonstrate that precise interpretation requires the highest

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