Saturday, March 05, 2016

How to speak Filipino in court

Today I went to court to present two witnesses. One of the witness told me earlier if I can ask questions to him in Filipino, and I said yes.
When I presented the witness in court, I asked the Judge if I can speak in Filipino because while the witness is conversant in English, he is more comfortable speaking in Filipino. The Judge told me that I don't need to seek permission because the Judicial Affidavit Rule allows witnesses to make their testimony in English or Filipino.

Kaya nagsalita na ako sa Tagalog, "Ginoong testigo, naaalala ninyo bang gumawa kayo ng Judicial Affidavit para sa kasong ito?" (So I spoke in Filipino, "Mr. Witness, do you recall making a Judicial Affidavit for this case?") 
But Judge told me to stop because it would be difficult for the court stenographer to record in Filipino. Instead, he told me to ask questions in English while the clerk of court translated to Filipino.
That's what we did. I asked questions in English; the clerk of court translated to Filipino; and the witness answered either in English or Filipino.
The lesson for me is to ask for a translator in court. It was funny that we still use English in court, when most people can understand Filipino. But that's the way of the world.

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