My focus is primarily on undertaking multilingual research; however as a speaker of more than one language, I have also become aware that multilingualism does not necessarily address the questions of researching multilingually. A researcher working with a multilingual community may well wish s/he speaks the community languages, and understandably so, however speaking these languages does not solve the multilingual problems, it merely raises a different set of questions such as: how do we reconcile different versions of the same event? Can we rely on mother tongue speakers as more accurate interpreters than non-mother tongue speakers, and how do we achieve joint understanding of meaning?. Words can fail us, whatever the language/s; ignoring them isn’t an option.
I am the Director of MA Studies in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sheffield, where I have worked since 1993. I initially set up the Spanish for non-specialists provision across the university, ran a training course for University language teachers and later initiated a Masters’ programme in Intercultural Communication which has been running since 2003 with a cohort of students from many parts of the globe. This MA is part of a suite of four Applied Languages courses, focusing on language, communication, translation and multilingual information management. Major fundamental questions such as Steiner’s statement that all communication can be considered as an act of translation, whether intercultural communication is a theoretically justifiable notion (see Koole & ten Tije), the relationship between language and culture and culture as ‘brought about’ or ‘brought along’, and questions of linguistic ownership, exclusion and becoming multilingual are all highly relevant to my professional life.
Me pregunta también por qué no usamos otros idiomas en nuestra presentaciones personales.