About the Project

Principal Investigator of the project is Professor Angela Creese:

'The research will make a significant contribution to knowledge about the potential of multilingualism as a resource for communication, creativity, and civic participation'.

The project is funded as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Translating Cultures theme.

The aim of the project is to understand how people communicate multilingually across diverse languages and cultures. We define 'translation' as the negotiation of meaning using different modes (spoken/written/visual/gestural) where speakers have different proficiencies in a range of languages and varieties. When speakers do not share a common language they may rely on translation by professionals, friends or family, or by digital means. Such practices occur in 'translation zones', and are at the cutting edge of translation and negotiation. We view 'cultures' not as fixed sets of practices essential to
ethnic groups, but rather as processes which change and which may be negotiable. In our previous research in multilingual communities we found speakers are not confined to using languages separately, but rather they 'translanguage' as they make meaning. We will look closely and over time at language practices in public and private settings in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, and London. We will investigate how communication occurs (or fails) when people bring different histories and languages into contact. Outcomes will impact on policy on economic growth, migration, health and well-being, sport, cultural heritage, and law, by informing the work of policy-makers and public, private and third sector organisations.

Contact details

Professor Angela Creese
Telephone +44 (0)121 414 4842
Email a.creese@bham.ac.uk 

University of Birmingham


Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS)

Birkbeck College

University of Leeds

Cardiff University