top of page

Miranda Warnings Translation Project

Project Leaders:

Janis Palma, Aneta Pavlenko,

Anahit Flanagan, Andreea Boscor

Police Car

Project Summary

The aim of this project, undertaken jointly by the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) and IKIGAI, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization, is to bring together teams of experienced and certified interpreters/translators to produce high quality translations of the Miranda Warnings into eight of the languages most commonly used by law enforcement (Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Russian, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, Arabic, American Sign Language (ASL)), as well as other languages in lesser demand.

Project Background

In custodial interrogation, law enforcement officers are required to inform the suspects of their fundamental rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. The suspects then have a choice of waiving or invoking their rights. The advisement, known as the Miranda Warnings, is based on the landmark decision made in 1966 by the Supreme Court.

In 1978, the Ninth Circuit court ruled that “if Miranda warnings are given in a language which the person being so instructed does not understand, a waiver of those rights would not be valid” United States v. Martinez, 588 F.2d 1227 (9th Cir. 1978). In the decades since, many law enforcement agencies adopted Language Access plans stating that the warnings shall be provided to LEP individuals in their primary languages. Unfortunately, extant translations are of varying quality: some sport awkward wordings and mistranslations and others omit the key rights (Keaton, 2020; Pavlenko, 2023; Rogers et al., 2009, 2021). 

Court

The purpose of this project is to assemble teams of experienced certified interpreters/translators and to create new and high quality translations of the Miranda Warnings to be freely accessible to law enforcement and other stakeholders, alongside the English text, complemented by a recording of the foreign language text, through NAJIT's and IKIGAI's websites.

Since comprehension takes place in conversation, the translations will also feature recommendations on how to secure understanding of the Miranda Warnings by asking suspects to restate the rights in their own words. The links to the site will be distributed by NAJIT and IKIGAI to national and regional bar associations, interpreting and translation professional associations, linguistics associations, community advocacy groups, and further disseminated through social media.

Project Leaders

ANETA PAVLENKO

Aneta Pavlenko is a forensic linguist and a Research Professor at the University of York, UK. She is Past President of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) and the winner of the 2023 AAAL award for Distinguished Scholarship and Service. Her studies of comprehension of the Miranda rights by non-native speakers of English received the 2009 TESOL award for Distinguished Research and the 2021 AAAL Research article award. Dr. Pavlenko has testified in court as an expert witness in forensic linguistics and co-authored the Guidelines for communicating rights to non-native speakers of English in Australia, England and Wales, and the USA (2015).

JANIS PALMA

Janis Palma is an English-Spanish interpreter and translator certified by the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT), and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC). She is a Past President of the Society for the Study of Translation and Interpreting (SSTI), and Past Chair of the NAJIT Board of Directors. Ms. Palma holds an Master’s in Legal Studies (MLS) from Arizona State University, an M.A. from the Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe and is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Language Studies from Bircham International University and a second Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication and Information Design from Clemson University. Her research interests are focused on the intersection between judiciary interpreting and criminal defendants’ due process rights. She is continuously researching, writing and speaking on the subject at national and international conferences.

ANAHIT FLANAGAN
Anahit Flanagan is a professional interpreter and educator with more than forty years of experience. She specializes in the judiciary and medical interpreter services. She is a court interpreter certified in the state of Massachusetts and a medical interpreter certified by NBCMI and CCHI. Her working languages are Armenian and Russian.  Dr. Flanagan holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics from Moscow State University, a Master of Arts in Russian from Boston College, and a Bachelor of Education in English and Russian from Brusov Yerevan State University of Languages and Social Sciences in Armenia. She is one of the founding members of the Massachusetts Association of Court Interpreters (MACI) and served as a NAJIT director and vice-chair of the Board of Directors from 2022 to 2024. 

 

ANDREEA BOSCOR
Andreea Boscor is an experienced language professional, federally certified as an interpreter for Spanish and approved at the Master level by the New Jersey Judiciary for both Romanian and Spanish. Additionally, she holds ATA certification for Spanish into English translation. In the past, she has actively participated in leadership roles within the American Translators Association (ATA) and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT). Originally from Romania, Andreea moved to New Jersey during her teenage years and recently relocated to Southern California. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Spanish with a concentration in translation, along with minors in Linguistics and Paralegal Studies from Montclair State University. Additionally, she earned a Master's Degree in Diplomacy and International Relations from Seton Hall University.

MIRANDA WARNINGS

  • You have the right to remain silent.

  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

  • You have a right to talk to a lawyer before answering any questions. You have the right to have a lawyer present with you while you are answering any questions.

  • If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning, if you wish one.

  • You can decide at any time to exercise these rights and not answer any questions or make any statements. 

 

Do you understand each of these rights I have explained to you?

 

With these rights in mind, do you wish to talk to us now?

bottom of page