Good news on Call to Action

On 8 December 2017, Australian linguists submitted a ‘call to action’, asking the judiciary to review and reform legal procedures for handling indistinct covert recordings. The call to action was endorsed by all four major linguistics organisations in Australia, and covered four main areas of concerns: transcription, translation, speaker attribution and enhancing. Background on the concerns is provided by this website.

On 24 October 2019, a working group of judges held a full-day consultation with a working group of linguists to discuss the issues. Also present were representatives from police and prosecution departments around the country.

At the end of the day, the judges recognised the validity of the linguists’ concerns over all four areas and indicated their intention to encourage collaborative research aimed at establishing evidence-based best practice to ensure that juries and courts are provided with reliable transcripts, reliable translation where needed, reliable speaker attribution, and reliably processed audio. It is expected that this research will commence early in 2020.

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