Image © GOAL Zimbabwe

Languages for an inclusive world

Research and practice on the role of language in civil society

A festival of online events from NUI Galway and Dublin City University

16 April-23 April 2021

How can languages help us create a more inclusive world?

In the year 2020, the world was shaken by global challenges and by new social forces that have dramatically changed the social and political landscapes:

· The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that communicating health information in languages that are accessible to linguistically diverse groups is essential in the fight against the virus.

· The Black Lives Matter movement has raised awareness on institutional racism and the legacy of colonialism; and on the need to include language in the debate on equity, diversity and inclusion.

Yet at the same time, NGOs, researchers and activists alike have been overwhelmed by pressure to respond and adapt to the reality of COVID-19, leaving little time or opportunity to meet, listen and learn from each other. The “Languages for an inclusive world” festival aims to create a space where NGOs, researchers, language specialists, students and activists can come together and talk about the role of languages in building tomorrow’s world.

Programme (all times are Irish summer time, UTC+1)

Friday 16 April, 14:00-15:00

How languages can help your career in the NGO sector

Careers event for university students

The career event is designed for university students in modern languages who are interested in finding out how their language skills can help in the non-profit sector. Of course, you are welcome to join also if you are studying a related subject (education, sociology, geography...) and you are curious about language jobs; or if you graduated already and are considering your next move.

In this event, you will have the possibility to have a chat with translators, interpreters, NGO officers, educators who will share information about their jobs. Ready to find out how your language skills can help build a just, more inclusive world?

You will be able to meet & greet:

  • Barbara Scottu, Senior Translation Coordinator, Oxfam

  • Jenny Ackermann, Learning and Development Officer, Misean Cara

  • Jessica Matthews, French & Portuguese to English translator for international development

  • Leïla Kherbiche, freelance interpreter, interpreter trainer & field delegate for the International Committee of the Red Cross

  • Luisanna Ramirez, desk officer Haiti and Niger, GOAL

  • Nadine Gleasure, Human Resources adviser for Concern Worldwide

  • Sara Horcas-Rufián, Spanish-English freelance translator for amongst others Médecins Sans Frontières and the World Bank

Tuesday 20 April, 16:00-17:00

Creating intercultural dialogue before and after COVID-19

Round table (interpreting available in Italian)

This event brings together activists, NGOs and charities from Italy, Ireland, and the UK to talk about how they responded to the challenges posed by COVID-19. Whether through a community garden, an arts project, a language class, or community interpreting, creating intercultural dialogue has always benefitted from the possibility of bringing people together in the same place. In the age of COVID-19, isolation and distance are important factor of everyone’s lives, and this is all the more true for migrants and refugees. How can grassroots activism bring people together during a pandemic? What are the lessons for the future?

Confirmed speakers (in alphabetical order), more to be added:

  • Cari Bottois (Charity Translators, UK)

  • Veronica Crosbie and Julie Daniel (Dublin City University / MELLIE project, Ireland)

  • Lamine Kidiera, refugee activist

  • Domenico Lizzi (Tamat, Italy)

  • Paolo Antonio Manetti (Associazione Bottegart, Italy)

  • Joy-Tendai Kangere & Mavis Ramazani (Rooted in Africa and Ireland Network, Ireland)

Wednesday 21 April, 12:00-13:00

Using machine translation ethically and efficiently at work

Introductory workshop for anyone who uses Google Translate or similar at work. (interpreting available in Spanish and French)

Led by: Professor Sharon O’Brien & Dr Patrick Cadwell, Dublin City University

[Cliquez ici pour la description en français]

[Leer la descripción en español]

This workshop will introduce Machine Translation technology to those who have limited or no understanding of how the technology works or how is has evolved over time. The workshop will also briefly introduce the concept of post editing, which is the task of fixing Machine Translation errors. Finally, we will focus on some of the ethical questions around the usage of Machine Translation. The workshop will be based on the course material already available on the Crisis Translation YouTube channel, which attendees can then listen to in more detail following the workshop. After attending this workshop we hope that attendees will have an enhanced understanding of how Machine Translation technology works, will have a good understanding of what is involved in the task of post editing, and will be aware of some of the ethical questions around the usage of Machine Translation for day-to-day communication.

Thursday 22 April, 13:00-14:30

Inclusive language(s): Beyond buzzwords

Round table (interpreting available in Spanish and Italian)

This event aims to bring together NGO practitioners, policy makers and researchers to discuss their experiences and views on the link between language, inclusion and power dynamics. It uses the publication of the book ‘Development NGOs and Languages: Listening, Power and Inclusion’ by Hilary Footitt, Angela Crack & Wine Tesseur as a starting point for a broader discussion on inclusive language and the use of buzzwords in the aid sector. The book raised important questions around the link between language(s) and power, and who speaks and listens in NGO work. While the book was being written and in production, two key developments have generated more awareness and debate around issues of inclusive language in the aid sector:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a new jargon of technical health terms that has largely originated in English, and is difficult to translate into other languages.

  • The Black Lives Matter movement has intensified debates in the aid sector on equity, racism and decolonisation, and discussions about the language(s) we use have become a core part of these debates.

This event aims to continue the discussion on languages, inclusion and power. We will pose the question: how can we move beyond the dominance of English buzzwords? How can we be more conscious of our language choices and their implications for principles of inclusivity and equity? What changes do we need to make to how we use language(s) to ensure two-way dialogue and learning?

Confirmed speakers:

  • Michelle Winthrop, policy director, Irish Aid

  • Celeste Amador, MEAL coordinator, GOAL Honduras

  • Lorraine Marulanda, Head of Programme Operations and Funding, War Child UK

  • Helen Wishart, Editorial Manager & Shaz Elahee, Campaigns Officer, Oxfam UK

  • Patrizia Spada, president & founder, Tamat

  • Professor Hilary Footitt, University of Reading & Dr Angela Crack, University of Portsmouth

  • Nguyen Nguyen, Dublin City University

  • Nhan Vuong Thi Thanh Nhan, Vietnam National University

All events free & open to everyone. Please register to secure your spot for the events you would like to attend via this link: . You will receive the Zoom link a few days before the event.

Organisers: Dr Andrea Ciribuco (NUI Galway) & Dr Wine Tesseur (DCU)

The projects “Language Integration and New Communities in a Multicultural Society” and “Translation as Empowerment” have received funding from the Irish Research Council and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 713279.

More information on the project "Language Integration and New Communities in a Multicultural Society'":