Masvingo — The Judiciary Service Commission (JSC) is committed to addressing challenges in the use of minority languages in the country’s courts through enlisting services of interpreters.
In an interview last week, acting JSC secretary, Mr Walter Chikwana, said the commission was taking minority languages seriously.
Mr Chikwana said JSC would do everything in its power to make sure all litigants and complainants were afforded the right to be heard.
He said hiring minority language interpreters would tackle challenges likely to stem from language barriers in the justice delivery system.
“Government saw it not feasible to train its own magistrates, prosecutors and interpreters in Chinese, sign language and other minority languages,” said Mr Chikwana.
He said the commission was hiring firms which specialised in minority language interpretation when their services were needed.
“At the moment, the firms we are hiring perform very well in our courts,” he said. “We look at the professional background of the interpreter before hiring.
“So far I can safely say that Zimbabwe has a crop of experts with a traceable history of proficiency in minority language interpretation.”
Mr Chikwana said English, Shona and Ndebele continued to dominate court proceedings nationwide.
Commenting on the claims by the National Association of People with Disabilities (NAPD) that the principle of justice and fairness was not prevailing in the courts due to language barriers, Mr Chikwana said JSC would readily react when the need for interpretation arose.
NAPD is on record alleging that some of its members, especially the blind and the deaf and dumb, were being ill-treated when they appeared in courts because of the language barrier.