An interpreter criticised this week for performing poorly at the Lamma ferry disaster inquiry removed herself from the hearing on Wednesday morning.
The criticism appeared in the South China Morning Post on Wednesday, when a relative of two victims in the National Day tragedy said he was “stunned” by the woman’s inaccurate translations of witnesses’ accounts.
The interpreter appeared as usual when the morning session began, but did not return after the morning break. Commission chairman Mr Justice Michael Lunn said the woman did not feel well after reading the article.
Lunn said the technical nature of the hearing may have made the translation work particularly challenging. He noted that bilingual counsel had been helpful in raising translation issues when appropriate.
Lunn ordered an early adjournment for lunch. "It's a matter of regret to me personally that events have been contrived in a way that has resulted in this quite unnecessary difficult," he said.
Four counsels defended the interpreter, saying she was doing a good job.
The woman was a consecutive interpreter, who waited for witnesses to pause before giving her translation. She was replaced in the afternoon by a man who had been providing simultaneous interpretations of the hearings for the public.
Ryan Tsui Chi-shing said he was “stunned” by the poor interpreting he heard at Monday’s hearing. His older brother and niece died in the October 1 disaster last year, which killed a total of 39 people.
Tsui faulted the interpreter for frequent mistranslations of meaning, slowness and poor pronunciation.