learning the new language. When anticipating overseas assignments, you should try
to develop appropriate foreign language skills. Knowledge of that language may be
the best possible solution to the problem. It may be also a means of checking the
accuracy, loyalty, and obedience of an interpreter.
Do not attempt an
interrogation alone, unless you are highly skilled in the foreign language.
should also be sure of your ability to phrase intelligent questions, and to
understand clearly the answers given by the subject. Whenever there is any doubt
as to your own ability, use a qualified interpreter.
2. CHOOSING THE INTERPRETER.
A person chosen as an interpreter should have the following qualifications:
a. He should be intelligent and capable of learning rapidly the habits, methods,
and procedures of the investigator.
b. He should be well-educated in both foreign and English languages. Also, he
should be able to express himself clearly and intelligibly to all persons whom the
investigator is likely to question.
c. He should be honest and free from criminal tendencies. If he is a native of
that country, he should be free from unfavorable reputation among the local
d. His reputation or standing in the community should be such that he will not
be influenced by persons of higher rank and standing.
A person's social and
educational level is often detected from his speech habits or peculiarities.
e. He should be willing to accept a subordinate role in the actual questioning
of persons; i.e., permit the MPI to ask questions and to receive and evaluate the
3. CONTROLLING THE INTERPRETER.
You must make absolutely certain that the interpreter performs his duties
correctly, and that he does not assume your rights.
You are responsible for the
investigation and for any interview or interrogation.
Therefore, remain in
complete control throughout the questioning.
You ask the questions, receive the
answers, and evaluate the information.
Use the interpreter only as a means to
overcome the language barrier. Specific areas to be avoided include the following:
a. The interpreter must never ask questions of his own.
paraphrase (summarize) your questions or the subject's answers.
b. The interpreter must never frighten or scold the subject or engage in any
behavior that will lower the prestige of the MPI or badly affect the investigation.