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Translators complete task in record time

By B.S. Ramesh

BANGALORE, MARCH 29. The complex and laborious task of translating thousands of pages of documents and court records from Tamil to English in the two disproportionate wealth cases involving the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, and others came to an end on Monday with the handing over of the documents to all the accused.

The Special Court, which was entrusted the task of conducting the trial by the Supreme Court on November 18, 2003, gave one set of the 6,000 pages of translated documents to the advocates representing the accused.

Highly placed sources told The Hindu that most of the translation had been completed during the last date of hearing. However, some Tamil documents were yet to be translated, and the accused had sought a complete set of translated documents before the hearings commenced.

The records arrived in Bangalore on September 10, 2004. They had been packed in 17 cartons and contained over 2,400 pages and 1,600 exhibits.

Once the documents were handed over to the Special Court, the Government appointed 20 persons to translate the documents.

The translators were all professors in Tamil from various city colleges. They worked for nearly eight months to translate the documents.

8,000 pages translated

Sources said over 8,000 pages of documents have been translated and they included the first information report against Ms. Jayalalithaa and the other accused, statements of more than 270 witnesses, and other court records.

Sources said that after the documents had been translated, they were scrutinised by another batch and filed. A coordinator looked after the translation work.

Delay

While the State Government provided all facilities to the Special Court, it was only the translation aspect and the delay in the appointment of a Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) that was coming in the way of beginning the case.

Though the Special Court wanted to commence the case during the last hearing itself (March 14), it could not happen as both the prosecution and the defence pointed out that they had not been given copies of the translated documents and it would be difficult to conduct the case.

The SPP, B.V. Acharya, said he would be able to call witnesses for cross-examination only after he went through their deposition.

On their part, the advocates for the accused wanted the translated documents as they wanted to see if there was any discrepancy between the original records and the translated ones.

It was then that the Special Judge, A.S. Pachhapure, directed the court officials to complete the translation.

The court staff photocopied the documents five times over as one set had to be handed over to each of the four accused and the prosecutor.

Advocates surprised

Some of the advocates for the accused appeared surprised when the court provided them the translated documents, and they could be heard exclaiming that the translation work had been completed in record time.

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