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ResourcesThailand Criminal LawAttorney Services and Prison VisitationThe Role of An Interpreter in the Thai Criminal Justice System

The Role of An Interpreter in the Thai Criminal Justice System

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of the video suggests, we are going to be discussing the role of interpreters with respect to the Thai Criminal Justice System. The first thing I should note with respect to this video is I am an American trained and American licensed attorney; I am not a Thai Attorney.

I am the Managing Director of the Firm, I have acted as a liaison in the past with respect to foreign clients and Thai Attorneys and the Thai Legal System but I am not making any claims with respect to an ability to practice Thai Law with respect to criminality. That being said, this video is basically just sort a distillation of some of my own observations that I have noticed with respect to those who are going through the Thai Criminal Justice System, especially those in a foreign context and to just provide some overview about certain aspects of how it works,

So the thing to take away from this video is an interpreter as well as a Thai Attorney, I am not saying an interpreter in place of an Attorney, but an interpreter and a Thai Attorney, in tandem, can be highly beneficial with respect to those who have been accused of criminal activity here in the Kingdom of Thailand, especially those who are of foreign nationality. This is especially true for those who don’t speak, read nor write Thai. I can’t stress this enough. There seems to be something of a theme I have seen of people that feel like “Oh, we can just deal with this on our own”. “Yeah, although you may be signing something you have no idea what you are consenting to or what you are stipulating to”, it is a really good idea to have an interpreter as well as an Attorney. An interpreter may be able to provide the raw language over to an individual but an Attorney is going to be able to then distill that language and filter that language in such a way to provide context as well as ramifications legal and otherwise, associated with the language at issue.  So these two folks working in tandem are basically optimal. It is really a good idea for those who have been accused of crime in Thailand, or those facing criminal charges in Thailand to have both an interpreter and a Thai Attorney working on their behalf.

That being said, a further thing to take away from this video is interpreters themselves can be very, very beneficial. Again, it is never a good idea to sign something one doesn’t understand and it is good idea, when one is accused, to have both.  Another thing to keep in mind is as noted in another video on this channel, accused in Thailand have a definitive right to Counsel with respect to criminal charges here in the Kingdom. Folks that are simply being asked to provide evidence  or act as a witness are not necessarily allowed to have an Attorney present with them, but they be allowed to have an interpreter present and in those circumstances it is always a very good idea to try to bring your own interpreter where possible. There are going to be certain types of interpreters that are specifically skilled with dealing with the criminal justice system here in Thailand and those folks are going to have a different command of the language specifically pertinent to that specific field. Those folks are also perhaps going to have experience in understanding the nuances associated with  the so called, for lack of a better word, “legalese” again specifically pertinent to criminal matters arising in Thailand. So a gifted interpreter, or a competent interpreter I should say that has dealt with Thai criminal matters in the past can be a great deal of assistance to an individual even in a non-accused capacity, even somebody who hasn’t been charged, it can be very helpful to have an interpreter so as to provide concise pertinent information to the Authorities in the least amount of time as necessary. But the other thing to take away, and one final point before I end this video is, those who are accused and don’t understand a great deal of Thai and definitely don’t read or write Thai,  having an interpreter and having a Thai Attorney can often times can be the best combination.