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2.8 Transcript of Recording in Foreign Language

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You are about to [hear] [watch] a recordingin the [specify the foreign language] language. A transcript of the recording has been admitted into evidence. The transcript is an official English-language translation of the recording.

Although some of you may know the [specify the foreign language] language, it is important that all jurors consider the same evidence. Therefore, you must accept the English translation contained in the transcript even if you would translate it differently.


The Committee recommends giving this instruction immediately before the jury hears a recorded conversation in a foreign language if the accuracy of the translation is not in issue. As the court noted in United States v. Franco, 136 F.3d 622, 626 (9th Cir.1998):

The district court also correctly held that the relation between tapes and transcripts changes when the tapes are in a foreign language. When tapes are in English, they normally constitute the actual evidence and transcripts are used only as aids to understanding the tapes; the jury is instructed that if the tape and transcript vary, the tape is controlling. See United States v. Turner, 528 F.2d 143, 167-68 (9th Cir.1975). When the tape is in a foreign language, however, such an instruction is "not only nonsensical, it has the potential for harm where the jury includes bilingual jurors." United States v. Fuentes-Montijo, 68 F.3d 352, 355-56 (9th Cir.1995). We therefore have upheld a trial court’s instruction that a jury is not free to disagree with a translated transcript of tape recordings. See id.

When the accuracy of the translation is in issue, see United States v. Rrapi, 175 F.3d 742, 748 (9th Cir.1999).