Law, translation and migration: an enlightening relationship

Birmingham Law School
Thursday 21 September 2017 (09:00-16:00)

For further information please contact Sophie Boyron,



Dr Sophie Boyron and Dr Aleksandra Cavoski have been successful in obtaining a Socio-Legal Studies Association  grant to hold an SLSA seminar entitled: Law, translation and migration: an enlightening relationship.

Challenges of legal translation have existed for a long time in international law and international relations. However, the intense process of globalization since the latter half of the 20th century has led to a rapid increase of international treaties and agreements, regional governance, international organizations, NGOs and courts as well as growing reliance on international arbitration.

Much of this globalized legal work is performed through translation. In spite of its long history and recent proliferation, legal translation remains underexplored, particularly from a socio-legal perspective. In fact, research on the intersection of law and translation has tended to concentrate on a rather limited agenda with broader issues being neglected. Therefore, migration is an appropriate and innovative lens to pursue this broader investigation and to tackle the following key issues: what are the various effects of globalisation on this intersection? What is the impact of legal translation on the acceptance of concepts and ideas into other (legal) cultures? What are the effects of the ‘translated’ word on the perception of the very phenomena it portrays?

This seminar will not only further our understanding of the intersection of law and translation, but it will advance knowledge and analysis on migration, an issue central to our times. By addressing the intersection of law and translation in this way, it will  reveal novel questions, effects or links to migration, thus advancing the intellectual agenda of the socio-legal community.



9.30- 10.00 Registration

10.00-10.10 Opening Speech – Professor Robert Lee (Head of Birmingham Law School)

10.10-10.20 Dr Aleksandra Cavoski – Introductory remarks

Workshop 1 – Language and migration – A complex relationship

10.20-10.40 Professor Anne-Marie Fortier – University of Lancaster (Department of Sociology)
“On (not) speaking English: colonial legacies in language requirements for British citizenship”

10.40 – 11.00 Professor Eleanor Spaventa – University of Durham (School of Law)
“Language and the internal market”

11.00– 11.20 Professor François Grin – Université de Genève (Faculty of translation and interpreting)
“Language, mobility and inclusion in the EU: the MIME project”

11.20 – 11.40 Discussion

11.40 – 11.55 Coffee break

Workshop 2 – Portrayal of the nexus translation and migration

11.55 -12.15 Professor Lucja Biel – University of Warsaw (Faculty of applied linguistics)
“Translation and the law: A case study of a corpus of (legal) translation on migration”

12.15 – 12.35 Professor Loredana Polezzi – University of Cardiff (School of Modern Languages)
“The portrayal in contemporary literary texts of the relationship between migration, translation and the law”

12.35 –12.55 Discussion

12.55 – 14.00 Lunch 


Workshop 3 – ‘Translating migration’ in practice (Part I) – Chair Dr Karen McAuliffe

14.00 – 14.20 Professor Angela Creese & Professor Adrian Blackledge – University of Birmingham (School of Education)
“Translation in everyday practice”

14.20 -14.40 Dr Frances Rock – University of Cardiff (School of English, communication and philosophy)
“Just because she’s a solicitor that doesn’t make her any better than you”: Law, translation and migration in confronting disadvantage through enlightened relationships in legal advice”

14.40 – 15.00 Discussion

15.00 – 15.15 Coffee break

Workshop 3 – ‘Translating migration’ in practice (Part II) – Chair Dr Sofia Malamatidou 

15.15 -15.35 Dr Elpida Loupaki – Aristotle University of Thessalonika (Department of French studies and literature)
“Translating migration – beyond terminology” 

15.35 – 15.55 Piotr Wegorowski – University of Cardiff (School of English, communication and philosophy)
“Translating institutional procedures: the case of community policing”

15.55 – 16.15 Dr Kieren McGuffin – University of Birmingham (School of Law)
“The Perverse Humanitarians: the VPRS and the subversion of refugee law”

16.15 – 16.45 Discussion

16.45 – 16.55 Concluding remarks – Sophie Boyron & Dr Karen McAuliffe