Workshops

The workshops will be organised around the following themes:

Workshop 1. Translating and interpreting protocols and practices

Decisions about refugee status are based on the applicant’s narrative of persecution and, inevitably, the asylum process relies heavily on translation and interpretation. The proposed activities will explore the practice protocols which exist in the UK and other countries in relation to translation and interpretation in asylum contexts, and how such protocols have been implemented and applied in practice. What problems have practitioners identified with the operation of such protocols?What are the procedural, legal, ethical and linguistic issues which arise?

Workshop 2. Tools and Problems: Language analysis and the interview record

Tools used by asylum decision makers to address matters of language include the provision of an interview record and the use of linguistic analysis to determine nationality. However, some of these tools have been questioned, or shown to be unreliable and/or problematic.  Where expert evidence is adduced to challenge the use of such tools, what kind of expertise is relied upon by decision makers, and how is it ranked?

Workshop 3. Miscommunication and Silence: Problems and Potential Solutions

Shame and lack of trust may make applicants hesitant to disclose experiences such as rape and torture, and interviewers and translators should be competent to take account of the vulnerability of applicants. Matters of language and silence thus present significant challenges for interpreters, translators and other professionals involved in all stages of the asylum process, as well as for legal representatives and decision-makers. This workshop will provide an opportunity for an in depth analysis of these challenges as experienced by a range of professionals in their everyday practice and for the development of potential solutions and guidance. This series of workshops will enable a key group of participants to engage with these questions, draw on existing expertise and explore areas of overlap, consensus and interdisciplinarity which can lead to the development of protocols, practices and further research. In some jurisdictions outside the UK, concern about such issues has led to the development of guidelines. Members of the Language Analysis Research Group (LARG), an international group of academic linguists, will also contribute to the workshop

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