The court interpreter code of ethics in general requires interpreters to restrict their function strictly to interpreting and to refrain from clarifying ambiguity with the speaker, especially with the witness. The code usually suggests that permission be sought from the court if interpreter intervention is unavoidable. Empirical studies show, however, that departure from this ethical code is commonplace. Drawing on an authentic courtroom trial in the High Court of Hong Kong, and using Goffman’s (1981) participation framework as the analytical tool, this article aims to illustrate how the court interpreter changes her participant role in the court proceedings by initiating turns with the speaker. It discusses the impact of such interpreter intervention on the co-present court actors and its pedagogical implications for interpreter education.


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