Interpreter’s English questioned

Interpreter’s English questioned
Interpreter Khaled Atwa Nabil outside the Subordinate Courts on 6 November 2013. He is a witness in the sex for match-fixing trial of businessman Eric Ding Si Yang.

A hearing turned into an English lesson of sorts when a defence lawyer started explaining English words to a witness.

Words like "reside", "bulk", "freelance" and "ad hoc" stumped part-time Egyptian interpreter Khaled Atwa during the sex-for-match-fixing trial involving businessman Eric Ding on Tuesday.

Ding, 31, allegedly bribed Lebanese referee Ali Sabbagh and assistant referees Abdallah Taleb and Ali Eid with sexual favours to fix matches.

Mr Atwa interpreted for Mr Taleb and Mr Eid when they gave statements to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau on the day they were repatriated.

When Ding's lawyer, Mr Yusfiyanto Yatiman, let slip a smile after Mr Atwa said he did not understand the word "freelance", the interpreter said: "I'm sorry, I see you laughing, but you used some word (which may not be) used in the US (so) it might not be familiar."

The Egyptian, who works here as a full-time bus driver, had said earlier that he had spent six years in New York, where he helped his father's friend translate documents.

He said he had been asked to interpret in court, in the hospital, and the health department in the US.

When Mr Yusfiyanto probed further, Mr Atwa explained that he had not been officially appointed as an interpreter, but was just helping a family friend.

Mr Yusfiyanto also pointed out that the Egyptian's degree in business administration was irrelevant to his interpretation work.

Mr Atwa agreed.

During the cross-examination, Mr Yusfiyanto told Mr Atwa: "During the course of my questioning this morning, you... said a few times you did not understand my question."

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