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DUTT - Developing the Use of Technical Tools in Cross-border Resettlement Final Conference Amsterdam, 24-25 February 2013. Videoconference Communication in Cross-border Resettlement Sabine Braun & Judith Taylor Centre for Translation Studies

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DUTT - Developing the Use of Technical Tools in Cross-border Resettlement

Final Conference

Amsterdam, 24-25 February 2013

Videoconference Communication

in Cross-border Resettlement

Sabine Braun & Judith TaylorCentre for Translation Studies

School of English and LanguagesUniversity of Surrey

background and aims
Background and aims


  • Anticipation that FD 909 and FD 947 would increase in cross-border communication in relation to resettlement procedures
  • Difficult to accommodate with traditional face-to-face meetings

Aim of this study

  • Investigating the potential benefits and limitations of VC to meet novel communication needs
  • i.e. analysis of VC communication in cross-border resettlement:
    • When particularly beneficial or even essential
    • When beneficial but not essential
    • When should it not be used
  • Assessment of VC in its own right before comparing with other media
prior research and practice
Prior research and practice
  • Research into VC use in courts (e.g. hearing of remote witnesses) suggests VC can be problematic, compared to face-to-face communication: interaction problems, mediation effects – impact on fairness of justice (e.g. Federman 2006, Haas 2006, Benforado 2010)
  • Positive experiences in less formal settings, e.g. contacts of prisoners with families (Bartlett 2000, Bobbitt et al. 2011), delivery of educational programmes to prisoners (Tong & Farrington 2008), GHK / EU 2012)
  • VC use for court report interviews produced mixed results (LPT 2007)
  • Recent research takes ‘holistic’ approach including e.g. audiovisual environment (Tait 2012, Rowden 2012, van Rotterdam & van den Hoogen 2012)
  • Practical guides e.g. Handboek Telehoren (Ministry of Security and Justice of the Netherlands) and the Guide on Videoconferencing in Cross-Border Proceedings (JHA Council Working Party on e-Law (eJustice)
  • Multilingual VC with interpreter adds another layer of complexity: communication management, rapport-building more difficult – impact on interpreting quality; initial guidelines – AVIDICUS 1 and 2 (Braun & Taylor 2012)
methodology for the study
Methodology for the study
  • No real-life experience with VC in cross-border resettlement yet

 Role plays to simulate cross-border resettlement cases; role players with relevant professional expertise, e.g.

    • Consultations/clarifications between Competent Authorities before/after sending the certificate
    • Interviews with, or assessments of, offender in the issuing state before/after sentence is made
    • Different linguistic configurations, including the use of a second language, a lingua franca and communication through an interpreter
  • Pre-/post-session interviews with role players
  • Analytical framework: analysis categories for role plays
  • Qualitative analysis
main findings
Main findings
  • Participant experience
  • Attitudes general positive; more positive after role plays
  • Tendency: participants with direct experience of working with offenders were more positive and optimistic, and gave more detailed reasons why VC could be useful, especially when talking to an offender.
main findings1
Main findings
  • Technological set-up [see next presentation]
    • Quality of sound and video image
    • Lip synchronicity
    • Stability of connection/pixelation
  • Audiovisual environment
    • Visibility of other side and of self
    • Seating arrangement with more than1 participant per site (esp with offenderand/or interpreter)
    • Camera angle, lighting, background
  • Interaction
    • Verbal, non-verbal, eye contact problems
main findings2
Main findings
  • Role clarity and procedural clarity
    • Some vagueness through uncertainty, lack of practice
    • Mostly missing introductions and clarifications at the beginning
  • Appropriateness of communication
    • Minor problems with topic maintenance and appropriateness of info exchanges
  • Mutual comprehension
    • Differences in national legislations; minor loss of information
  • Language use / interpreter use
    • Use of 2nd language/lingua franca; dominance/balance
    • Use of interpreters; various functions; different modes of interpreting
main findings3
Main findings
  • Two types of problems: user level / system design level
    • Most problems encountered in the study were at user level
  • If resolved, VC likely to provide specific advantages over phone/email:
    • when a second language or lingua franca is used
    • when more than two participants interact
    • when the offender is included
    • when an interpreter is included
  • An interpreter should be used
    • when the offender is included
    • when differences in language proficiency are very strong

At WORKSHOP: Discussion of above (reasons etc)

main findings4

Language proficiencyorsupport (interpr.)

Mutual comprehension (of meaning)

Exchange of appropriateinformation

Clarity in FD procedures

Main findings
  • Interconnectedness of parameters

Fairness of justice, mutual trust

Technological set-up and A/V environment

Verbal and non-verbal interaction

key recommendations
Key recommendations
  • Agree inter-institutional minimum standards and code of best practice for VC
  • Set up European expert group and develop accreditation procedure for VC use
  • Consider step-by-step introduction of VC and evaluation at key stages
  • Use high-quality VC equipment and a high-speed broadband connection
  • Use VC for short-durations on a 1-to-1 basis and small groups of participants
  • Use for communication with offender (unless complex health conditions) and for communication in second language/lingua franca
  • Use an interpreter when an other-language speaker offender is present or when differences in language proficiency are strong
  • Always use professional legal interpreters and brief them fully
  • Develop training for staff (and interpreters); induction/briefing for offenders
  • Make sure there is procedural clarity; prepare VC session
  • Make sure technical assistance is available
about this study
About this study

AAuthors: Dr Sabine Braun and Dr Judith Taylor, University of Surrey


TThanks to DUTT, to all role players and to Cisco

This study has been conducted with the financial support of the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Commission. The contents of this presentation are the sole responsibility of the authors and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.