What is a Miranda warning or Miranda rights and how to translate it?


Sometimes translators have to act like detectives. We have to investigate and also we have to be familiar with the contemporary language.

If you watch American detective series, the police say when arresting somebody: we’ll read you Miranda. The wrong translation to Czech would be word by word: přečteme vám Mirandu.

In American jurisdictions, a Miranda warning is the instruction that police should usually give to a person suspected of a crime: You have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law etc.

So how do we translate to Czech correctly – we will read Miranda to you? The Czech police would say: Teď vás poučíme o vašich právech – we will advise you about your rights. 

Since us linguists love to investigate also a history of the word – etymology of the word, here we go. Why Miranda? Miranda is surprisingly for me male surname. The name is derived from the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona trial, when a man named Ernesto Miranda was convicted of rape and kidnapping. However, Miranda was only convicted based on his confession and was not advised of his rights. Miranda did not know that he did not have to testify against himself and that he could consult an attorney. The U.S. Supreme Court therefore ruled that his rights had been violated and the man was released.