Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS)

Translating Values: Insights from Multilingual and Multiethnic Focus Groups in Northern Ireland

Dr Piotr Blumczyński (QUB) and Prof John Gillespie (Ulster)

Culture revolves around values: they hold the cultural community together and underpin the mutual interests. A cultural group whose members hold opposite or otherwise incompatible values is hardly conceivable, which demonstrates that the concept of culture is predicated on shared values. However, values are often “invisible” (Hofstede 2001: 11), i.e. wrapped in thick layers of cultural material inseparable from ethnic and linguistic considerations. Changing a language (e.g. when moving to a foreign country) will affect a range of attitudes and perceptions, including a sense of belonging (or displacement), fulfillment (or frustration), inclusion (or exclusion), dignity (or humiliation), etc., all translating into social integration, cohesion, and respectful co-existence. This presentation reports on a recent collaborative research project “Translating values” (funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council) whose findings were consulted broadly with a range of multi-ethnic and multilingual communities across Northern Ireland (Belfast, Cookstown, Londonderry) through a series of focus groups held in 2015. It provides insights into the complex interactions between linguistic, cultural and religious communities by exploring shared and conflicting systems of values and evaluative concepts, with a view to improving translation and interpreting practice and informing cross-community relations as well as relevant elements of public policy.

This seminar took place on 15 June 2016

Policy Briefing