Interpretation, translation and intercultural communication in refugee status determination procedures in the UK and France

Robert Gibb, Anthony Good

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article explores the interplay between language and intercultural communication within refugee status determination procedures in the UK and France, using material taken from ethnographic research that involved a combination of participant observation, semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis in both countries over a two-year period (2007–2009). It is concerned, in particular, to examine the role played by interpreters in facilitating intercultural communication between asylum applicants and the different administrative and legal actors responsible for assessing or defending their claims. The first section provides an overview of refugee status determination procedures in the UK and France, introducing the main administrative and legal contexts of the asylum process within which interpreters operate in the two countries. The second section compares the organisation of interpreting services, codes of conduct for interpreters and institutional expectations about the nature of interpreters’ activity on the part of the relevant UK and French authorities. The third section then explores some of the practical dilemmas for interpreters and barriers to communication that exist in refugee status determination procedures in the two countries. The article concludes by emphasising the complex and active nature of the interpreter's role in UK and French refugee status determination procedures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-399
Number of pages15
JournalLanguage and Intercultural Communication
Volume14
Issue number3
Early online date30 May 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • interpretation
  • translation
  • refugee status determination procedures
  • interpreters
  • UK
  • France

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