The testimony of a witness is the information and answers to questions given by a witness to the court as a whole. Testimony is considered to be a form of evidence, just as physical objects are considered to be evidence. Testimony thus depends upon the fact that the witness who is giving his or her own testimony has sworn to the testimony’s accuracy and truthfulness.
Testimony is not restricted to being oral testimony, as it can be written testimony, as well. Testimony is also meant to be statements of fact, of actual occurrences, as opposed to statements of opinion or assumptions on the part of the witness, except for certain circumstances such as the testimony of expert witnesses. Giving false testimony is considered a serious crime, particularly because any witness giving testimony is sworn under oath prior to giving that testimony, and as such, a witness giving false testimony would be committing the crime of perjury.
Testimony given by a witness is a similar, but separate idea from testimonials. “Testimonial” is obviously a similar word to testimony, but a testimonial is general the word used with reference to marketing “testimony,” in which some party is giving an affirmation of the properties of a particular product, or its overall quality. Testimonials are thus often included in marketing campaigns and advertisements in order to provide evidence of the product’s worth.
One of the important differences between testimonials and legal testimony, however, is that testimonials are almost always statements of opinion, and are not made under oath, meaning that an individual giving a testimonial is in general less accountable to that testimonial.