Heriot-Watt University BSL interpreting and community placements

By Jemina Napier

 <Click here to see this blog post in BSL>

 

As many people in the Scottish Deaf community and BSL/English interpreting profession will know, this year is the first time that we have a group BSL/English interpreting students completing their final year of studying in a 4-year undergraduate programme. This is the only university in Scotland that offers a training programme that is approved by the Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters (SASLI) and the National Registers of Communication Professionals with working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD) as a route to professional qualification and registration to practice as a sign language interpreter. The first group of students will graduate in June 2016.

Students heading out on interpreting work placement for the first time

From January – May 2016 it is the current 4th year students’ final semester and one of the compulsory requirements is for students to complete an interpreting work placement. During this placement students will be shadowing professional interpreters in real interpreting assignments.

The aim of the interpreting work placement is to:

  1. To give students the opportunity to access authentic ‘real-world’ interpreting situations
  2. To provide students with the opportunity to observe the professional practice of qualified interpreters at work
  3. To facilitate the opportunity for students to try interpreting in ‘real-world’ interpreting situations, in a safe and supported environment, where appropriate and with the agreement of all parties
  4. To enable students to discuss, critique and reflect on their observations of other interpreters and their own professional practice

 

The interpreting work placement will take place in two 1-week blocks (22-26 February and 4-8 April).

The organisation of the interpreting work placement would not be possible without the support of the key organisations SASLI and NRCPD who have endorsed that interpreters can received Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for acting as mentors.

But even more importantly, it could not take place without the collaboration and support of professional sign language interpreters in Scotland, who are giving their time, energy and commitment to supporting these students. We would like to specifically thank the list of interpreters below who have agreed to take on students this year:

  1. Paul Belmonte (Edinburgh)
  2. Andy Carmichael (Edinburgh)
  3. Lesley Crerar (Aberdeen)
  4. Andrew Dewey (Ayr)
  5. Linda Duncan (Fife)
  6. Marion Fletcher (Edinburgh)
  7. Rebecca Goodall (Inverness)
  8. Donna Jewell (Falkirk)
  9. Brenda Mackay (Fife)
  10. Paula Marshall (Denny)
  11. Robert McCourt (Glasgow)
  12. Mary McDevitt (Falkirk)
  13. Drena O’Malley (Glasgow)
  14. Mark Sherwin (Edinburgh)
  15. Linda Thomson (Glasgow)

 

We know that there are many more interpreters all over Scotland that might be interested in becoming a student mentor, and in future years we will be looking for more mentors as student numbers increase, so if you are interested please contact Jemina Napier as the interpreting placement coordinator by email.

We would also like to thank Deaf BSL users in Scotland in advance for their support of our students, and hope that you will encourage them in their efforts to develop their skills to become professional interpreters. The students to look out for are:

  1. Rachel Amey
  2. Jude Caldwell
  3. Greg Colquhoun
  4. Niamh Cochrane
  5. Virginia Dugo
  6. Scott Ellerington
  7. Rachel Evans
  8. Jill Gallacher
  9. Nadia Krupova
  10. Helena Laverty
  11. Lisa Li
  12. Grace McNeill
  13. Samuel Rojas
  14. Marie Elliott

Community placement

We would also like to acknowledge the support of all the organisations throughout the UK that are providing community work placement experiences for our 3rd year students. The 3rd year placement is different from the 4th year placement as it takes place over a whole year, and students are required to work in two different organisations where BSL is used every day so that they can have immersion in the language and culture of Deaf people every day. While on placement, the students do project work or other tasks (but not interpreting) and participate in general organizational activities.

This year is the second year that organisations have hosted students on community work placements, and we are appreciative of the efforts that the organisations go to in order to support our students to develop their BSL skills and Deaf community and cultural awareness.

It has been a steep learning curve for us at Heriot-Watt University and also for our community organisation partners, as this is a new approach to sign language interpreter training and as far as we know Heriot-Watt University is the first programme in the world to require students to take a 1-year language immersion community placement. We could not make this happen without the close collaboration with Deaf BSL users and Deaf community organisations.

Graham H. Turner, Coordinator of the BSL Community Work Placements notes that:

“Heriot-Watt’s BSL team members have many years’ experience of interpreter education. We were very conscious of the widespread feeling that university-educated interpreters tend to know what to do in the classroom, but do not have the kind of profound appreciation of Deaf lives that comes from being close to the ‘beating heart’ of the community. Our partners are working with us to change that. We simply couldn’t create on our campus the kind of learning experience that they can offer. If our programme fully achieves its aims, it will be in no small part because of the contribution partner organisations are making to developing the interpreters that they wish to work with in the future.”

So we would like to thank all of the organisations listed below who have so far hosted students on community work placement:

Action on Deafness (Leicester)
Birmingham Institute of the Deaf (BID)
British Deaf Association (BDA Scotland & Northern Ireland)
Deaf Action (Edinburgh)
Deaf Connections (Glasgow)
Deaf Direct (Worcester)
Deafness Support Network (Northwich)
DeafPlus (London)
Deafway (Preston)
Deaf Links (Dundee)
Donaldsons School (Linlithgow)
Hampshire Deaf Association – Sonus (Southampton)
Manchester Deaf Centre (Manchester)
National Deaf Services/National Deaf CAMHS (London)
Nottinghamshire Deaf Society (Nottingham)
Royal Association for Deaf People (RAD) (London, Kent & Colchester)
Ericsson Access Services (formerly RedBee Media) (London)
Remark! (London)
Scottish Council on Deafness (Glasgow)
SignVideo (London & Glasgow)
Solar Bear (Glasgow)

 

We are always looking for new community partners, so any interested organisations can contact Graham H. Turner by email.

Finally, Gary Quinn, the Head of the BSL section at Heriot-Watt University says:

“As programme coordinator, I would like to thank all the interpreters and staff in the community organisations that are supporting the degree at Heriot-Watt University by giving our students the opportunity to develop more ‘real-life’ awareness of the Deaf and Interpreting communities in the UK. I know the students have appreciated your efforts to support their learning and each of you has contributed a vital part to our students’ development, which will undoubtedly make our graduates better prepared for the professional world of BSL/English Interpreting.”

In sum, we would like to acknowledge and thank everyone who has direct involvement in supporting students studying BSL/English interpreting at Heriot-Watt University and we wish our 4th year students who are about to go out on interpreting placement the best of luck and hope that they have a positive experience.

 

New CPD courses in LINCS!

We are really excited to announce two new CPD courses in LINCS. In addition to the already successful Easter and Summer Schools in Interpreting, we are now offering a 1-day training workshop on Interpreters and Translators as Entrepreneurs in March and a CAT Tools series in April.

This year’s Easter School comprises 1 week of Introduction to Interpreting and 1 week of Intensive Interpreting Practice .

Please note that the above courses only cover spoken languages. Watch this space for CPD courses on Interpreting Practice in signed languages.

But don’t stop reading yet, SLIs! The 1-day workshop on Interpreters and Translators as Entrepreneurs applies to all interpreting professionals and it is led by Sue Leschen, who is a member of numerous professional organisations including the Regulatory Board for Sign Language Interpreters and Translators (RBSLI).

Last but certainly not least, we are pleased to announce our CAT Tools Series, starting with Trados Studio 2015. The 1-day Beginners Course takes place on April 5th and the 1-day Advanced Course takes place on April 22nd.

For more information on all our spring courses, please click here. And don’t forget our Applied English and Interpreting Summer School!

Apply now for an Early Bird Discount!

 

New plurilingual pathways for integration: Immigrants and language learning in the 21st Century” – Heriot-Watt University, 26th & 27th May 2016

Congratulations to Nicola Bermingham (Heriot-Watt University, Dept. LINCS) and Gwennan Higham (Cardiff University) for their success in the BAAL/Cambridge University Press 2015-2016 seminar competition.

The seminar, entitled “New plurilingual pathways for integration: Immigrants and language learning in the 21st Century”, will be held in Heriot-Watt University on 26th and 27th May 2016. This event will be co-hosted by COST Action IS1306 New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities and Challenges and the British Association for Applied Linguistics and Cambridge University Press. The event will also be supported by the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies and the Intercultural Research Centre at Heriot-Watt University.

Professor Máiréad Nic Craith, Chair in European Culture and Heritage, Director of Research and Director of the Intercultural Centre at Heriot-Watt University will deliver a key note speech entitled “Migrants, Languages and Community Cohesion”, which will consider the implications of immigrant learners of minority languages looking in particular at the following questions: (1) how do such language practices impact on perceptions of migrants in host communities (2) what are the implications for community cohesion and (3) how do such choices impact on traditional speakers of minority languages in the host community.

Professor Alison Phipps, Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies and Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNET) at the University of Glasgow will give a keynote presentation entitled “Language Labour and Language Resistance: On the demands of hosts on their guests”, which will consider the arts of integration through language learning and language policies in the host country and alongside this the arts of resistance and strategies for language and heritage language maintenance employed by migrant communities.

A round table discussion will also be held, addressing the ways in which immigration in the 21st century has lead us to challenge the way in which we think about minority language learning, integration and the notion of citizenship. Invited speakers to the round table discussion include Professor Bernadette O’Rourke, Chair of COST Action New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities and Challenges who will discuss the research that is being carried out by the COST network, focusing specifically on issues of language, identity and social cohesion and Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chríost, member of the Research Unit on Language, Policy and Planning at the School of Welsh at Cardiff University who will contribute to the debate, drawing on his expertise on linguistic minorities and language planning.

While the two-day seminar will encourage interdisciplinary dialogue with a variety of papers from different migration and language contexts and cross-sector round table discussions, the proceedings will be directed by key themes and objectives as follows;

  • What are the opportunities and challenges for immigrants who learn new languages?
  • To what extent do immigrant speakers challenge current conceptions of integration, cohesion and citizenship?
  • Which steps or initiatives could facilitate a more comprehensive view of integration, cohesion and citizenship in national and minority language contexts?

A call for papers will be issued in the coming weeks. For more information or expressions of interest please see the event page (http://www.nspk.org.uk/our-events/upcoming-events/new-plurilingual-pathways-for-integration.html) or contact the organisers, Nicola Bermingham (nb199@hw.ac.uk) and Gwennan Higham (HighamGE@cardiff.ac.uk).

 

Sign Language in Action

by Jemina Napier

Click here to see this blog in International Sign, British Sign Language or Irish Sign Language

Jemina book

Sign Language in Action is a new book just published by Palgrave as part of the Research & Practice in Applied Linguistics series.

The book is co-authored by Jemina Napier and Lorraine Leeson, who both have extensive experience as sign language researchers, educators and interpreter practitioners – Jemina in the UK and Australia, and Lorraine in Ireland, with briefer stints in Belgium, the UK and the USA.

We have both conducted research and written extensively on various topics which can be considered under the umbrella of applied linguistics, including sign linguistics, sign language discourse, sign language and identity, sign language learning and teaching, and sign language interpreting and translation.

After many conversations on our mutual research interests, we decided to collaborate on writing this book to draw together all the threads from our research into one overview.

So the book defines the notion of applied sign linguistics by drawing on data from projects that have explored sign language in action in various domains. The data sources have been drawn from various studies have been conducted by us both.

As well as defining key concepts and giving an overview of existing research, the book provides clear guidance on conducting applied sign linguistics research, with suggestions for new research topics.

The book is targeted at sign language and sign language interpreting students, sign language teachers, researchers, interpreter practitioners and educators, Deaf Studies teachers and students, educators working with deaf children, and policy makers.

It will also be of interest to other people working with minority language communities and to scholars and practitioners in applied linguistics research more generally.

Following on from an earlier blog post by Jemina that discussed the ethics of conducting sign language interpreting research without deaf people involved, we feel it necessary to position ourselves in relation to the focus of this book, as neither of us are deaf.

So here, we discuss our role as hearing people doing sign language research, and our goals in writing this book.

The involvement of non-deaf people in the deaf community has been an on-going and vexatious issue. There has been long recognition of the value that ‘hearing’ people bring to the deaf community if they embrace the values of the community and can sign fluently enough to engage with deaf people.

There have been attempts to separate the identity of hearing people that are involved in the deaf community from those ‘other’ non-deaf people who do not use sign language and who are considered as ‘outsiders’ (see Napier, 2002; Ladd, 2003).

In the USA, there is currently much debate about the notion of interpreters having ‘Deaf-HEART’.

Others have suggested that there should be no reference to audiological status, and instead we should refer to a community of ‘sign language users’ (Bahan, 1997), ‘sign language persons’ (Jokinen, 2001) or ‘sign language peoples’ (Batterbury, 2012; Batterbury, Ladd & Gulliver, 2007).

Whichever convention you prefer, we identify ourselves as hearing people; we align ourselves with deaf people and their values based on our long involvement in the community, and we bring that subjectivity to our research and our writing.

There is also much debate in the deaf community and among researchers about the potential oppression that deaf people face in having non-deaf people conduct research on their community, with emphasis on the need for research to be with deaf sign language users (Sutherland & Young, 2014; Turner & Harrington, 2000) and to adopt a ‘community participatory approach’ (Emery, 2011; Napier & Sabolcec, et al, 2013; Young & Temple, 2014).

Consequently there is an emerging body of work that explores the need for ethical approaches to conducting sign language research in order to ensure that there is involvement from deaf sign language users in conducting the research; that deaf people’s views are taken into consideration; and that the research is ‘deaf-led’ (see Harris, Holmes & Mertens, 2009; Hochgesang , Villanueva, Mathur, Lillo-Martin, 2010; Mertens, 2010; Singleton, Jones & Hanumantha, 2012; Singleton, Martin & Morgan, 2015)

We do not see ourselves as positioned only in Deaf Studies. As linguists and interpreting studies researchers we see our work within a broader context of applied linguistics and intercultural communication, and the languages that we work with happen to include signed languages.

Thus our focus in our book is on sign language use, and not deafness.

We acknowledge though that although we are allies of the deaf community, we are not deaf, and therefore do not have shared life experience with deaf people. We are guests in the deaf community (as suggested by O’Brien & Emery, 2013), but we do have a strong philosophy of collaboration with the deaf community collectively and individually in all our research and practice.

We believe that it is important for deaf and hearing researchers to work together for the best interests of the worldwide deaf community, but we recognise the power we have as hearing people in the community and the historical backdrop of hearing researchers dominating the field.

We have ‘hearing privilege’, but privilege does not always have to occupy a negative position. We would assert that we accept the responsibility of having hearing privilege (Storme, 2014), and we use our hearing privilege positively to broker engagement and educate inside and outside the community.

 Because of our hearing privilege we get invited to do things like write a book, but we believe that we act in a way that is congruent with deaf cultural norms and values, and one of those values is reciprocity.

Adam (2015) talks about the importance of disseminating information about sign language research in sign language, and you will notice that the majority of blog posts about sign language research on the LifeinLINCS page have links to signed versions (including this one).

We would like to take this one step further – all the royalties from this book will be donated to the World Federation of the Deaf to support their on-going work with deaf sign language users throughout the world. So we are using our hearing privilege to give back to the deaf community.

This book focuses on sign language in action; where and how it is used, who by, and how we can research sign language in action in order to better understand the relationship between sign language use, culture and identity. For us, we have deliberately focussed our discussion on how deaf and hearing people use sign language, and the implications for learning and teaching and professional practice, in the hope that the information in the book will benefit all sign language users and the values of the deaf community worldwide.

LINCS PhD Scholarships 2016 – deadline Jan 31st

Happy New Year to all!

LINCS is offering two departmental scholarships and one professorial scholarship to start in the academic year 2016-17. The term of the Scholarships is three years. Successful candidates will be expected to make a contribution to activities in the Department in return for a fee-waiver, a maintenance allowance of £14,057 per annum and a research support allowance of £2,250 over the registered period of study. The closing date for applications is 31st January 2016.

LINCS is committed to conducting theoretically advanced and socially-useful research which is relevant to the academic community and also engages with public interest. It is one of only four UK institutions that belong to CIUTI, the international organisation that ensures professional standards in the training of interpreters and translators.

LINCS incorporates two research centres:

Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies in Scotland (CTISS)
The aims of CTISS include the investigation of the nature of the process of translating and interpreting and the dissemination of research.

Intercultural Research Centre (IRC)
The IRC addresses key intercultural issues arising from the changing global context. It makes original contributions to the study of interculturality with particular reference to dimensions of living culture in European societies. The Centre’s particular focus is on comparative work emphasising the applied dimensions of culture, with “culture” defined broadly in anthropological terms.

Departmental Scholarships

We welcome applications from suitably qualified candidates to develop projects in the following areas:

Additionally, appropriate candidates may apply to join the international doctoral program on transformation processes in Europe. Current themes of the program are: migration/ interculturality, urban society/culture, and worlds of work.

Professorial Scholarship: Public Service Interpreting

Lead Supervisor: Professor Claudia Angelelli

In multilingual societies, cross-linguistic/cultural communication is increasingly frequent, especially when it relates to accessing services. As a result of mobility, immigration, and displacement, users of services (e.g. health care, justice, education) often do not speak the same language as providers (who generally speak the societal language). When providers and users cannot communicate directly, language mediators, translators and interpreters broker communication. Language brokers, translators and interpreters vary in their abilities and qualifications, and for some language combinations or communicative settings there simply are no professional interpreters or translators. This project explores constructs of linguistic rights and linguicism by studying access to communication, quality and professionalism across languages in various settings.

How to apply

Please submit your application via our online application portal.  If you have any problems with the online application process please email your query to pgadmissions@hw.ac.uk

The closing date for applications is 31 January 2016.

For further information on the application process as well as the relevant requirements, please visit this page.

We look forward to receiving your applications.

InDialog in Berlin

By Stacey Webb

19-21 November 2015 if you were looking for Ursula Böser, Jemina Napier, Stacey Webb, Eloisa Monteoliva Garcia or Yvonne Waddell you wouldn’t have found them around Heriot-Watt campus or anywhere in Edinburgh, as this lot was deep ‘in dialogue’ in Berlin Germany! The InDialog conference, “Community Interpreting In Dialogue With Technology” was the second InDialog conference held at Russisches Haus für Wissenschaft und Kultura. This conference is dedicated entirely to the many facets of community interpreting. Themes included, Technology & Practice; Legal Settings; Quality and Best Practice; Highly Sensitive Settings, Training for Practice; Research Methodology; Community Issues; National Perspectives; and Healthcare Settings.

Heriot-Watt staff and students are truly doing some interesting research and I am proud to work amongst them. Below is a brief description of the papers presented by LINCS colleagues.

Ursula Böser, Professor of Intercultural Studies and Languages, presented a paper aiming to contribute to the formulation of best practice in the mediated co-construction of evidence, which involves child speakers of foreign languages. Combining research findings about child interviewing and studies in face-to-face interpreting, this paper focused on the importance of engaging the minor in the interpreting process in a child-aware fashion; arguing that setting, rehearsing and maintaining ground rules of mediated communication is crucial in ensuring the integrity of interviews in the highly sensitive setting of bilingual child interviews. Drawing on the example of children to highlight the heterogeneity of profiles of non-institutional users of PSI it highlighted questions, which arise from the perspective of a specific group of users in the wider context of PSI practice and research.

Jemina Napier, Head of Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies, gave two presentations.  First she gave an overview of research findings from the Insign project she led in 2014 with other colleagues from LINCS: Prof Graham Turner and Robert Skinner. This project, funded by the Directorate General Justice of the European Commission, aimed to develop a web-based service platform, enabling European Deaf and Hard of Hearing citizens to have dialogue with EU Institutions and Members of the European Parliament in their preferred sign language.  Jemina explained that the Insign project broke ground as it was the first Video Relay Service of its kind to provide access to deaf people in more than one spoken-signed language pair.  All other services focus on national spoken and signed languages. The role of the research team was to evaluate the communicative outcomes of the Insign VRS, and they analysed recordings of VRS calls between Deaf sign language users and hearing people, as well as ethnographic observation field notes, surveys and interviews with Deaf people, interpreters, captioners/respeakers and MEPs.

Jemina’s second presentation was a co-authored presentation with Prof Lorraine Leeson from Trinity College Dublin (who was not able to be at the conference) and was on the benefits of using mixed-methods in community interpreting research.  The paper gave an overview of how the mixed-methods approach was adopted in two related studies exploring deaf people’s participation in, and access to, justice: 1) The Deaf Juror Project and 2) The Justisigns project. By using a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative methods such as surveys, interviews, non-participant observation, simulation, discourse analysis, these researchers were able to triangulate data in each study to look at the overarching research questions from varying perspectives to provide a deeper understanding of the issues being investigated, and validating findings gleaned from different sources.  (Be sure to check out Jemina’s book, co-authored with Sandra Hale, on varying research methods to use in your interpreting related research. If you mix your methods you may find it to be very beneficial!)

Stacey Webb, Assistant Professor of Sign Language Studies, presented on her doctoral research, which explores the job demands, and job resources interpreter educators have and how they perceive such demands as influencing student learning outcomes. Through the Job Demand Resource Survey-Interpreter Educators (JDRSIE), developed by Webb based on an initial scoping study (see Webb and Napier 2015), preliminary findings show that interpreter educators do not feel they have enough time or resources to fully prepare students.  Although respondents feel they are doing the best with what they have, they also feel their students are not prepared as they should be upon graduation (e.g. 50% have agreed to passing students who were deemed not ready to advance).  Although this research explores sign language interpreters, Ineke Crezee from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand expressed how she strongly relates to the findings of this work and hopes to see this study replicated for spoken language interpreter educators in the future.

Eloisa Monteoliva Garcia, doctoral researcher, shared her paper focusing on hybridity in a case study of interpreter-mediated police interviews. Drawing on her ongoing PhD research, she highlighted the particular ways in which triadic sequences mediated by a qualified interpreter and same-language interaction between primary participants are combined in police interviews conducted in English with Spanish-speaking suspects. Her research explores how interaction occurs when transparency is acknowledged and limited resources in the other’s languages are used even if an interpreter is present.  Thus, she presented preliminary findings of a CA-based study of multimodal interaction, and stresses the particular dynamics observed in the hybrid communicative format used in the specific context of the police interview as a discourse genre, an event that plays a vital role in the criminal process.

Yvonne Waddell, doctoral researcher, presented on an initial scoping study as part of her doctoral research. This study included participant observation methods to explore the language and communication strategies utilized by a psychiatric nurse over a 3- month period when interacting with deaf patients on his case load, who use British Sign Language (BSL) and a BSL/English Interpreter, working within a specialist mental health service for deaf people in Scotland. Two major themes emerged from her thematic analysis of her field notes and semi structured interviews: 1) The establishment and maintenance of a therapeutic relationship with Deaf patients and 2) The development of a collaborative working relationship with the interpreter.  She explains how her research may be of benefit to understanding the communicative strategies nurses use with their patients when working with an interpreter and could contribute to pedagogical practice of both psychiatric nurses and interpreters working in community mental health settings.

For more information on this Indialog conference and to learn about future conferences click here

A taste of the real thing

by Fanny Chouc

Heriot-Watt’s interpreting students were given a great opportunity to apply their skills to a real-life setting thanks to Heriot-Watt Engage. They interpreted for the Illuminations event, which was held on campus on Wednesday 02 December to mark the end of the UN Year of Light.

As part of this event, Professor Jim Al-Khalili gave a fascinating talk on the history of optics, looking at all the scientists who contributed to the build up towards our current understanding of Light. Students were given a unique chance to interpret his speech into French, Spanish, German and British Sign Language, working either in booths or in front of the stage.

All students involved have been training as interpreters, but this was, for most, their first experience outside a classroom environment. And what an experience! They provided simultaneous interpreting to a live and e-audience (the event was streamed online), in an auditorium set to welcome 450 people. A particularly daunting prospect for our BSL students, as they were facing a particularly large audience! Students in the booths also took on a challenge for their first taste of professional interpreting: they volunteered knowing that the topic would be challenging, and in some cases, they were working into their B language.

So how beneficial was this first taste of the real things? Student volunteers saw this as a very good reminder of the key skills highlighted in class, with one of them saying: “it reminded me how important it is to stay informed not only in the field of politics and current affairs but also in the field of science”.  They also valued the chance to put their skills to the test in a real, live setting, stressing that “from a learner’s point of view it was very useful to be given the chance to interpret in a professional context in front of a live audience”. And this opportunity also enabled them to make the link between preparation and the actual interpreting process.  But most importantly, they enjoyed this chance to put their skills to the test, with one of them stating that “it was fun and a great opportunity”.

The feedback from the audience was also very positive, especially considering that some of these students only started their simultaneous interpreting training three months ago: they kept going, providing a clear and lively rendition of Prof Al-Khalili’s speech in the target languages, and coming up with clever strategies to convey the sometimes technical explanations of this well-known scientist, delivering a pleasant and efficient version of the speech in the various languages.

In the end, this proved to be a very successful experience for all, and a very good warm-up in preparation for our annual multilingual debates, scheduled for Wednesday 23rd March.

The topics chosen this year are: “This House believes that new technologies are killing real human interactions” (morning debate) and “This House believes that accessing public services in your native language should be a recognized and implemented human right” (afternoon debate). And as last year, it will also be possible to follow the event online and to listen to the interpreters in the booths or watch BSL interpreters at work. Note that the BSL interpreting will be provided for the first time by Heriot-Watt students: the first ever cohort on our M.A. in BSL interpreting has reached their final year and they’ll be joining their peers in our annual events. So save the date, and check this link if you are interested in the live streaming.

 

 

Translating Cultures and the Mediation of Indigenous Rights in Peru

Raquel

While we were all busy teaching, marking papers, setting exams, attending conferences and writing papers, Dr Raquel de Pedro Ricoy spent part of the first semester in the jungle. Literally.

Raquel is working on an AHRC-funded project entitled “Translating Cultures and the Mediation of Indigenous Rights in Peru” with Prof. Rosaleen Howard (Newcastle University) and Dr Luis Andrade (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú), in partnership with the Directorate for Indigenous Languages of the Ministry of Culture and the rural development agency SER. The project looks at new state-sponsored initiatives to facilitate better communication between the Spanish-speaking majority and speakers of the many Amerindian languages of the Andean highlands and the Amazon basin. The aim of the project is to research how far translation and interpreting, in contexts of mediation between the Peruvian state and its indigenous populations, can achieve the state legislated goals of upholding indigenous rights, while also sustainably developing the resource-rich territories where the indigenous populations live Ever since the Spanish conquest, Peru’s indigenous languages have lost ground to Spanish, which dominates all fields of formal communication and is seen as having greater prestige than the local Amerindian tongues. Indigenous people often suffer discrimination on linguistic as well as sociocultural grounds. However, this situation is gradually being reversed. Languages such as Quechua and Aymara in the highlands, and Asháninka and Shipibo in the rainforest, are spoken in schools and health centres, and bilingual indigenous people are becoming trained professionals in a variety of fields. Laws passed in 2011 make translation and interpretation a right, and the government is responding by translating the laws into the native languages as well as training bilingual indigenous people to be interpreters.

This is why Raquel spent two weeks in the high jungle town of Quillabamba,where the Ministry of Culture was running a training course for speakers of indigenous languages. As part of the project, Raquel and the rest of the teamobserved the training sessions, contributed to a panel on language rights and ran a workshop with the participants on the experience of translation. The trainees were speakers of: Matsigenga, an Arawak language; Harakbut a highly endangered language spoken by just 2,800 people in Madre de Dios department; and five different varieties of the Andean language Quechua. Raquel subsequently travelled to Pucallpa, in the Peruvian western jungle, where she interviewed community leaders who had used the services of interpreters in a consultation process facilitated by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. During her stay in Lima, Raquel delivered a plenary lecture at the XII International FIT Forum and joined government representatives and legal experts for a round-table discussion on legal translation and interpreting for indigenous languages.

The team is currently working on an article about the indigenous experience of translating indigenous rights law, involving translators in the difficult task of expressing western concepts such as ´rights´ and ´law´ in their own Amazonian and Andean tongues.

 

EU study on Public Service Translation in Cross-Border Healthcare is out!

After 10 months of non-stop work, we are delighted to announce that an EU study on Public Service Translation in Cross Border Healthcare, led by Prof Claudia V. Angelelli is published. The Report, commissioned by the Directorate-General for Translation, responds to an increasing interest in the role of language provision and information access in cross-border healthcare.

Linguistic diversity permeates every thread of the European Union fabric. Cross-border healthcare is increasing among EU citizens and residents who seek care under Directive 2011/24/EU or Regulation (EC) N° 883/2004.

In a multilingual and intercultural society like the EU, patients and providers may not share a language. If patients cannot access healthcare services in a language they fully understand, equal access to safe and high-quality healthcare is not guaranteed. Through the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods, this exploratory study examines language policies as well as responses provided (or lack thereof) to linguistically diverse patients in areas of Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. The cost of language provision as well as good practices are also studied.

Results show that a variety of responses, ranging from professional translation and interpreting support to informal and unprofessional ad-hoc solutions, are used to address the language needs of patients. In the absence of formal language guidance in EU legislation, in most observed cases appropriate language services are not provided for patients who do not speak the language of the Member State in which they seek healthcare. This study has implications for policy makers, healthcare providers, educators, translators and interpreters serving the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse patients.

The full document of the study is available here