Neither of the assignments of error argued on appeal warrants reversal of the judgment of conviction. 1. It was well within the judge's discretion to allow "the victim to display a wound caused by surgical intervention and not [by] the alleged attack by the defendant." See Commonwealth v. D'Agostino, 344 Mass. 276 , 279, cert. denied, 371 U.S. 852 (1962); Commonwealth v. Campbell, 375 Mass. 308 , 313 (1978), and cases cited; Tuttle v. McGeeney, 344 Mass. 200 , 205 (1962). See generally Commonwealth v. Bys, 370 Mass. 350 , 357-361 (1976), and cases cited. In any event, we conclude that the "surgical incision . . . [displayed] could not have misled the jury as to the injuries sustained since it was made quite clear that this incision [which the witness, a surgeon, distinguished from the stab wound] was made in the course of medical treatment." Commonwealth v. Campbell, supra at 314. 2. A judge is not obliged to "instruct in the exact language of the [defendant's] requests." Commonwealth v. Kelley, 359 Mass. 77 , 92 (1971). When the charge is read in its entirety (see Commonwealth v. Pinnick, 354 Mass. 13 , 15 ), it is clear that the judge adequately instructed the jury on all the relevant aspects of self-defense in the circumstances of this case. Commonwealth v. Shaffer, 367 Mass. 508 , 511-515 (1975). See Commonwealth v. Kendrick, 351 Mass. 203 , 210-212 (1966). Moreover, contrary to the defendant's assertion that the judge's "language shifted the burden of proof contrary to the . . . holding in Commonwealth v. Rodriguez [ 370 Mass. 684 (1976)]," the record reflects that the judge meticulously adhered to the principles established by Mullaney v. Wilbur, 421 U.S. 684 (1975), and Commonwealth v. Rodriguez, supra at 692 & n.10. See also Commonwealth v. Collins, 374 Mass. 596 , 599-600 (1978), and cases cited. There was no error in this regard.
The defendant was tried by a jury and convicted of attempted rape of a twelve-year-old child. The sole issue on appeal is whether the judge erred in denying the motion of defense counsel for an interpreter made for the first time when counsel commenced to interrogate his client on direct
examination. There was no error. Although he denied the defendant's initial motion, the judge explicitly informed defense counsel that he could renew his request for an interpreter if the defendant encountered difficulty in understanding or responding to questions. At the close of direct examination of the defendant, defense counsel requested that the defendant be allowed to answer questions on cross-examination through an interpreter. At that time the judge found that the defendant had comprehended and adequately answered the questions put to him on direct examination, and that he had sufficient understanding to be cross-examined as long as the cross-examiner proceeded slowly and with restraint in the use of leading questions. Furthermore the court assured defense counsel that an interpreter would be available to explain inconsistencies, if any, which might occur in the course of the defendant's cross-examination. An interpreter was present and was sworn but was not called upon by the judge or defense counsel to interpret either during cross-examination or on redirect examination of the defendant. While the assistance of an interpreter may well be a matter of right "where the indigent defendant has little or no understanding of English" (Negron v. New York, 310 F. Supp. 1304 (E.D.N.Y.), aff'd, 434 F.2d 386 [2d Cir. 1970]), such was not the case here. The judge found, and our reading of the transcript confirms, that the defendant, at the very least, "has some ability to understand and communicate." United States v. Carrion, 488 F.2d 12, 14 (1st Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 416 U.S. 907 (1974). In such a situation the determination of need for an interpreter is left to the "wide discretion" of the judge. Ibid. Contrary to the defendant's contention that inadequate consideration was given to the defendant's language difficulty, the provision made by the judge for the interpreter to stand by during cross-examination demonstrated the judge's continuing sensitivity to the issue raised by defense counsel. Id. at 15. We conclude that the judge in this case properly exercised his discretion.