Conference highlights contemporary interpreting issues in UK

Languages students

8th July, 2010

Aston University in Birmingham, UK will host the 6th international Critical Link conference this month. It is the first time that a conference with a focus on public service interpreting will take place in the UK.

This unique event will bring together representatives from every sphere of the worldwide public service community including academics, interpreting practitioners, employers, trainers, policy makers, service providers and service recipients. The aim is to shed new light on the vital role that public service/community interpreters play in our world and debate issues around the role of interpreting in our changing world.

‘It still happens too frequently that family members perform interpreting tasks in medical and legal settings instead of qualified interpreters, which can lead to problems and even danger for individuals such as asylum seekers who cannot speak English,’ explains Professor Christina Schaeffner from the School of Languages & Social Sciences at Aston, who is an organiser of the event.’ There is also not enough training provision in the UK, let alone government support for training courses. The conference will therefore have a significant role to play in raising awareness of some of the key issues around community interpreting.

‘We hope that the conference will provide a unique link between Aston University’s research in this area and wider professional practice and academic research. As such, we are inviting public service employees such as police and health professionals to attend. We are particularly keen on having service providers, service recipients and policy makers as delegates. The theme of the conference is Interpreting in a Changing Landscape and the overall aim is to explore political, legal, human rights, trans-national, economic, socio-cultural and sociolinguistic aspects of public service/community interpreting.’

Other strands to the conference will include the use of innovative new practice and technologies to improve public service interpreting such as webstream interpreting, interpreting in conflict zones and the ‘virtual courtroom’.

Christina continued: ‘The Critical Link International Committee decides on the venue of the conference on the basis of bids. Our successful bid has been a major achievement for Aston and we hope that the conference will enhance the public visibility and status of community interpreting in Birmingham and the UK.’

Find out further information with a copy of the full conference programme and list of speakers or contact Professor Christina Schaeffner at c.schaeffner@aston.ac.uk.


For further press information please contact Sally Finn on 0121 204 4552.

 Notes to editors:

  • Previous Critical Link conferences have taken place in Vancouver (1995 and 1998), Montreal (2001), Stockholm (2004) and Sydney (2007).

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