University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > MEITS Multilingualism Seminars > Institutional multilingualism: theories, policies and practices of language and law in the EU

Institutional multilingualism: theories, policies and practices of language and law in the EU

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The European continent is widely known for its multilingualism. As compared to other geopolitical powers (as it is the case of the United States, the Commonwealth, China, or the Islamic world, for instance), there is no one-and-only language tied to a European identity. At the moment, there are 24 official languages in the European Union. With the aim to ensure communication among Member States, the EU founded the Directorate-General for Translation and the Directorate-General for Interpretation, which are entrusted the task of overcoming language barriers among its citizens. Nevertheless, although all the EU official languages hold an equal status, there is a disguised hierarchy (Nic Craith 2006 and Biel 2014) organizing languages in accordance with their use in institutions that increases disparities already existing in national domains.

The main objective of this paper is to assess the implications of the language regime of the EU institutions. Firstly, it will describe the evolution of language and translation policies in the European Union. Secondly, I will put a particular focus on the role of legal translation in these institutions, and will explore the ways in which translation embodies the hegemonic multilingualism (Krzyzanowsky & Wodak 2010) within the European Union. Finally, by presenting a practical case study from Spain, the potential future directions in the development of institutional multilingualism will be discussed.

This talk is part of the MEITS Multilingualism Seminars series.

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