Prof. Sandra Disner has provided consultation and expert testimony in linguistics on matters concerning:

Trademark Law —

Applying linguistic rigor to issues such as generic status and potential consumer confusion, with considerations of
  • lexicography
  • historical development
  • syntactic flexibility
  • prescribed usage
  • phonetic similarity
  • placement on a psycholinguistic confusion matrix
  • and other modes of linguistic analysis.

Speaker Identification —

Searching the speech signal for acoustic and phonetic indications of similarity, or dissimilarity, between an evidence recording and a speaker’s recorded exemplar.

Applying linguistic principles to the determination of the speaker’s dialect, vocal characteristics (such as breathy or nasal), and specific pronunciation traits (such as a retracted [r] or hissed [t]).

"Dr. Disner presents extremely well and her training and credentials are outstanding. She is very easy to work with from a litigator's standpoint. She is a real find for anyone in need of her expertise. My client was extremely fortunate to have Sandy on his side. While facing a stiff prison sentence if convicted, her efforts led in part not only to his acquittal but to a showing of his factual innocence. Dr. Disner gets my highest marks."
Ronald A. Ziff, Esq., Criminal Defense Attorney

Providing guidance for the introduction of phonetic evidence, with respect to

  • minimum required length of the recording
  • minimum spectral range
  • likelihood of mimicry or disguise
  • possible influence of listener expectations
  • overall reliability of earwitness testimony
  • evidence of tampering of the speech signal
  • and other forensic linguistic issues.

Enhanced Transcription Techniques —

Using digital editing tools and sound spectrography to isolate, analyze and identify unclear words and phrases, or words and phrases of particular importance, in the transcript of a recorded text.

Expert Translation —

Providing insights into the precise lexical meaning and usage of words and phrases in the following list of languages. Dr. Disner has been a U.S. State Department translator of all these languages and has also developed video games and speech synthesis modules in all of them.
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Italian
  • German
  • English

Speech Technology —

Evaluating the output of commercial speech synthesizers and speech recognition devices, with a focus on mispronunciations or mistranscriptions, either systematic or limited to specific words, in all of the abovementioned languages.
photo of Sandra Disner

Sandra Ferrari Disner holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from UCLA. She has over 25 years of experience as a language consultant and expert witness, testifying for plaintiffs as well as defendants, government agencies as well as private parties, and advising major news organizations such as ABC, CBS, and NBC Television News.

She has taught courses in the Linguistics Departments of UCLA, USC, and the University of California, Riverside, as well as giving guest lectures at other universities. For a number of years she was a featured participant in mock trials at UCLA Law School. In 2006 she designed and conducted a graduate seminar on Forensic Speaker Identification at USC.

Prof. Disner's resume

"Dr. Disner is a pleasure to work with. I find her to be diligent, cooperative and great with deadlines. She responds well to the opinions of opposing experts. I would definitely work with her again."
Alan M. Kindred, Esq. International Trademark Attorney

"Thank you again for such a wonderful job in this case.

Your expert report shone in our motion for summary judgment.  It was very well prepared and was instrumental in helping us prepare for trial."

Jason H. Fisher, Esq.
Buchalter Nemer