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Translating Refugees: Conducting Empirical Research on the Intersection of Language and Social Justice

Centre for Translation (December 9, 2021)

SEMINAR SERIES : Translation Seminar Series

MAJOR SPEAKER : Maryns, Katrijn
LENGTH : 95 min.
ACCESS : Open to all
SUMMARY : The intersection between language and social justice is particularly evident when examining language use in the context of migration and refugees. Various forms of discursive input (spoken and written language, interpreted interaction and translated text) function as core material in answering the legal dilemma of whether someone is eligible for international protection. This pleads in favour of strengthening the language component in migration studies by offering empirical support for concerns about credibility and deservingness addressed in legal disciplines. In this seminar, I will adopt an ethnographic-sociolinguistic approach to discuss the impact of various forms of discursive mediation and narrative co-construction on the basis of authentic data examples from asylum interviews and legal judgments. I will argue how applicant performance in the procedure is complicated by the different participants that mediate (interpret, translate, recontextualize) situated interaction as well as by the legal-administrative categories and ideologies that govern procedures for international protection. The data will reveal how the co-construction of meaning, evidence and identities may amplify the asylum applicant’s vulnerability of voice.  [Go to the full record in the library's catalogue]

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