Across cultures, languages and modes: Mediation for inclusive multilingual societies

Under the influence of globalization, migration and mobilities, multilingualism has become the new norm. In this multilingual world, communication occurs more often than not in mediating contexts, that is, between (non) native speakers of different languages and representatives of different cultures, between people with different abilities, and across diverse communication modes. This trend is paired with an increasing focus on inclusion, facilitating access to information in super-diverse settings across communication barriers, be it physical, cultural or imagined ones. The TricS group represents research areas that cater for the broad and developing needs of these two trends in society and communication, addressing communication in all its diverse mediating contexts, with a clear focus on Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies.

Translation and interpreting (T&I) practices have diversified exponentially in recent decades and continue to do so.  Changes in communication channels and advances in carrier technology have resulted in the proliferation of new, often hybrid, text types and modes. Accordingly, the borders of what it means to translate, interpret, write, (post-)edit are being stretched. By means of translation in a broad sense, which covers interlingual, intralingual and intersemiotic translation, access to information and communication in multilingual contexts is ensured. These contexts include, but are not limited to, education (e.g., subtitling lectures taught in a foreign language), policymaking (e.g., online communication between government and citizens), literature and media (e.g., interactive support of theatre plays by means of audiodescription and subtitling) and entertainment (e.g., localisation of videogames). These developments result in new, interdisciplinary research questions in dire need of both sound academic footing, making use of state-of-the-art technologies proliferating new methods and of well-established methods to map processes of cross-linguistic and intercultural mediation of language use.

Changes in T&I practices and the diversification of the communication landscape also require novel academic pedagogies for the training of intercultural and cross-linguistic mediators. TricS scholars, therefore, also conduct research to support state-of-the-art T&I academic curricula. Such curricula integrate evidence-based teaching methods for the acquisition of T&I competences in the diverse areas listed in the European Master´s in Translation framework: language and culture, translation, technology, (inter-)personal and service provision, all of which are intrinsically linked with current T&I practices.

Contemporary T&I research is quintessentially interdisciplinary and is often conducted in collaboration with other fields of study, such as diverse subdisciplines of linguistics, literary and media studies, intercultural studies and anthropology. T&I research is also transdisciplinary in that it often relies on interaction with professional stakeholders, such as language specialists, accessibility managers and public servants. This collaboration with professional actors and policy makers, at the Flemish, national, European and international levels, allows the TricS research group to achieve societal impact by promoting evidence-based multilingual inclusive communication policies and practices.