1st Edition

Translation as Social Justice Translation Policies and Practices in Non-Governmental Organisations

By Wine Tesseur Copyright 2023
    196 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    196 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book analyses the translation policies and practices of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), engaging in critical questions around the ways in which translation can redress power dynamics between INGOs and the people they work with, and the role of activist researchers in contributing to these debates.

    The volume examines the duality of translation and interpreting in INGOs, traditionally undervalued and under-resourced while simultaneously acknowledged as a powerful tool in ensuring these organisations work according to their own values of equal access to information, dialogue, and political representation. Drawing on over ten years of ethnographic fieldwork and interview data with a wide variety of INGOs, Tesseur offers unique insights into if and how INGOs plan for translation and interpreting needs while also critically reflecting on her own experience and the ways in which activist researchers like her can ensure social justice efforts are fully reflected in their own working practices. Encouraging a new interdisciplinary research agenda, the volume seeks to raise the profile of language and translation in humanitarian and development contexts and cross-disciplinary dialogue in scholarship on these issues.

    The book will be of interest to scholars in translation and interpreting studies, sociolinguistics, development studies, and international relations.

    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Introduction

      1. Introduction
      2. INGOs, language, and T&I
      3. Conceptual framework
      4. Engaged research and critical reflexivity
      5. A note on international development terminology
      6. Underpinning research
      7. Structure of the book
      8. References

    Chapter 2: Translation management in INGOs throughout history

      1. Introduction
      2. Save the Children UK: a history of language silence?
      3. Organisational growth and restructuring as an incentive for translation management
      4. Translation management choices and challenges: limitations of policies and internal services
      5. Translation as a resource, as risk management, or as inclusion?
      6. Concluding remarks
      7. References

    Chapter 3: Translating One Global Amnesty: Managing Amnesty’s message and voice in translation

      1. Introduction
      2. Becoming One Global Amnesty
      3. Amnesty press releases
      4. Diverging views on the role of translation in a changing Amnesty
      5. Discussion and concluding remarks
      6. References

    Chapter 4: Managing volunteer translation: On quality, risk, and ethics in Amnesty’s Urgent Action translations

      1. Introduction
      2. Amnesty’s global Urgent Action network
      3. Managing volunteer translation: Amnesty Flanders (AIVL) network of Urgent Action translators
      4. Translation output
      5. Volunteer translation, risk, and social justice
      6. Improving practice
      7. Discussion and concluding remarks
      8. References

    Chapter 5: Language and translation ideologies in international NGOs: Explaining the paradox between English as a lingua franca and social justice values

      1. Introduction
      2. Language and translation ideology
      3. Interview data
      4. Narrative 2: Encourage mutual language learning and translation
      5. Narrative 1: English as a lingua franca as the best possible solution
      6. Concluding remarks
      7. References

    Chapter 6: Informal translation practices as empowerment? Balancing the need for access and dialogue with risk reduction

      1. Introduction
      2. Case study 1: Multilingual staff as informal translators and interpreters
      3. Case study 2: Free machine translation at work: A tool for empowerment or risky business?
      4. Case study 3: Translating COVID-19 health information as part of humanitarian crisis response
      5. Concluding remarks
      6. References

    Chapter 7: Towards a more comprehensive approach to translating for social justice in international NGOs

      1. Introduction
      2. Key findings on T&I provision in INGOs in light of social justice values
      3. Ideas for a more socially just approach to language and translation in INGOs
      4. Key findings and implications for translation research and training
      5. Limitations of the research
      6. References

    Chapter 8: Influencing translation policies as an activist researcher: Evaluating research impact and learning from linguistic choices

      1. Introduction
      2. Evaluating Research Impact
      3. Linguistic reflexivity: a critical account of linguistic research choices
      4. Concluding remarks


    Wine Tesseur is Coordinator of External & Internal Communications at the Belgian NGO Trias and also freelances as an NGO consultant. She has published extensively in international journals and guest-edited special issues for Translation Spaces (2018) and the Journal of War & Culture Studies (2019). She is the co-author of Development NGOs and Languages: Listening, Power and Inclusion (2020).