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JSC seeks Swahili, Chinese interpreters


The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) is seeking to engage part-time French, Chinese, Portuguese and Swahili court interpreters after it emerged that most local interpreters were not conversant with these languages.


In most instances, courts had to hire interpreters from foreign embassies when dealing with certain foreign languages.

There are roughly more than 10 000 Chinese nationals in Zimbabwe with the majority of them not fluent in English.

Some of the nationals have appeared in court facing various charges.

According to the JSC, only people who are proficient in the four languages should apply.

“Applications are invited from suitably qualified persons who are proficient in the following languages to be considered for the provision of court interpretation services in the Judicial Services Commission: French, Chinese, Portuguese and Swahili,” the notice reads.

Some Chinese nationals have in the past complained about the language barrier, especially in the tourism industry, spurring authorities to encourage tourism players to facilitate the learning of Chinese by their members of staff, especially guides.

Several court cases have stalled due to lack of interpreters of some local languages including some local dialects like Tonga, Sotho, Kalanga, Venda and Nambya.

Last year, the trial of South African nationals who were facing charges of stealing a generator worth $30 000 almost hit a snag in Gwanda after they requested an Afrikaans interpreter saying their English was not good.

Early this year, Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora told Parliament that the teaching of foreign languages under the proposed draft curriculum review would be optional.

He was grilled over the decision to introduce foreign languages such as Swahili, French, Portuguese and Chinese in the school curriculum at a time most local languages were not being taught in schools.

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