The Researching Multilingually at Borders project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through the Translating Cultures Theme as one of its three large grant awards. The project is a collaboration between seven academic institutions (international and UK) and third sector organisations, and will run for 3 years (2014-2017).
The international team of researchers, with their different disciplinary backgrounds, research experiences, language and performance skills, will conduct international comparative research on translation and interpretation at different kinds of borders in order to develop theory, ethical research practices and research methodologies in relation to multilingual research.
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Principal Investigator: Professor Alison Phipps at University of Glasgow
AHRC Grant Ref: AH/L006936/1
We are delighted to announce this funding award from the Translating Cultures Programme of the Arts and Humanities Research Council as one of its three large grants. This international project drawing on the ground work of the Researching Multilingually network project, has two overarching aims:
1) to research interpreting, translation and multilingual practices in challenging contexts, and,
2) while doing so, to evaluate appropriate research methods (traditional and arts based) and develop theoretical approaches for this type of academic exploration.
The international team of researchers, with their different disciplinary backgrounds, research experiences, language and performance skills, will conduct international comparative research on translation and interpretation at different kinds of border in order to develop theory, ethical research practices and research methodologies in relation to multilingual research. The project runs for 3 years, starting 1st April, 2014.
This project has an innovative structure, involving five distinct case studies and two cross-disciplinary integrative “hubs”. The carefully selected case studies will allow for the documenting, analysing and comparing of translation processes and practices across different kinds of border and in a variety of geographical settings; and also the linking of these individual components through the two ‘hubs’ will ensure their cross-disciplinary integration.
Our hope is that this novel project structure will provide for the development of new theoretical, conceptual and empirical understandings of processes and practices of translation, interpretation and representation, and also of researching multilingually practices within one integrated project.
- RMTC – Researching Multilingually and Translating Cultures
- CATC – Creative Arts and Translating Cultures
Our case studies:
- Translating the Experience of Emotional Distress
- Translating Vulnerability and Silence into the Legal Process
- Working and Researching Multilingually at State (and European Union) Borders
- Multilingual Ecologies in the American Southwest Borderlands
- Teaching Arabic to Speakers of Other Languages (TASOL)
The case studies have been carefully selected according to the following criteria:
(i) Each focuses on a border at which under-researched processes and practices of translation and interpretation occur, ones which bring into question the limits of language and translatability;
(ii) Each represents a multilingual research site where research will be conducted multilingually using a variety of methods;
(iii) Each presents opportunities for exploring the theory, methods and ethics of researching multilingually;
(iv) Each builds on previously funded research and specific findings.
For each case study the methods selected are those appropriate for analysing practices of translation, interpretation and representation in that particular context.
Case Study Summaries
Case Study 1: Translating the experience of emotional distress
What happens when sexual and gender-based trauma crosses borders of geography, language, beliefs and practices? How do these various borders impact on the relevance and validity of psychosocial interventions aimed at reducing distress? This case study will document, analyse and compare the complex translation processes associated with understanding and supporting the needs of victims of sexual and gender-based trauma in Scotland and Uganda.
Researchers: Ross White (Clinical Psychologist), Katja Frimberger and Alison Phipps, with Lyn Ma.
Case Study 2: Translating Vulnerability and Silence into the Legal Process
What happens when language is replaced by silence in legal processes such as refugee status determination procedures? What forms of silence exist, how are they translated and interpreted, and what implications do they have for decision making in asylum cases? How do interpreters, legal practitioners, decision makers – and researchers – address the issue of silence (and ‘the untranslatable’) in this field, where claims to a form of international protection on the part of extremely vulnerable people are often at stake? This case study aims to conduct in-depth research on how the other side of language – silence – is (and is not) translated, interpreted and evaluated by a range of actors involved in refugee status determination procedures in the UK and The Netherlands.
Reseachers: Sarah Craig and Karin Zwaan.
Case Study 3: Working and Researching Multilingually at State (and European Union) Borders
What kinds of translation and interpretation processes take place at state (and external EU) borders, in reception centres for asylum applicants and other migrants, in official asylum interviews, and in meetings between migrants and legal/NGO representatives in Bulgaria and Romania? Who works as translators and interpreters in these different settings, what are their roles, and how are they recruited and trained? How do these processes and practices promote and/or restrict effective intercultural communication and the exercise of rights to international protection in both countries?
Researchers: Robert Gibb (Bulgaria) and Julien Danero Iglesias (Romania).
Case Study 4: Multilingual Ecologies in the American Southwest Borderlands
What can an ecological perspective on language and translating tell us about the body politic of an arid, rural, border area between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries? What emergent multilingual landscapes can be documented in such a region, from a language-ecological framework and the subjectivities of the individuals who live and speak within them? Borderland regions are often conceived as bicultural only, organised according to two politicized, neighbouring languages that are reproduced as distinct in the national imagination. The language ecologies of Southern Arizona, located on the US/Mexico border, challenge this model of bidirectional exchange. In the twenty-first century, the largely rural, formerly Mexican, and formerly Native lands of Southern Arizona thrive in and through an emergent constellation of languages beyond the presumed English/Spanish divide.
Researchers: David Gramling and Chantelle Warner, University of Arizona.
Case Study 5: Teaching Arabic to Speakers of Other Languages (TASOL)
What are the methods that can enable international learners to learn Arabic as a foreign language? What capabilities are required for such modes of language learning and how are they nurtured? What can we learn theoretically about translation practices through studying the provision of intercultural language education and the learning of Arabic as a foreign language in a context of occupation? This case study will provide the first data examining what happens to the development and translation of research methodologies and language pedagogies when delivered online from a context of siege.
Researchers: Nazmi Al-Masri, Mariam Attia, Katja Frimberger, Giovanna Fassetta and Maria Grazia Imperiale.
Please click on the above links for more in-depth information about the hubs and case studies.