FES | Federación Española de Sociología

XII Congreso de la FES

Bias in translation: immigration, crime and irregularity/illegality

GT 14 Sociología Jurídica y Criminología

Maria João Guia (Instituto Jurídico, Faculdade de Direito, Universidade de Coimbra)


Sesión de comunicaciones orales Franja 5 : Derecho y cambio social
Responsable(s): Rafael Alcázar Ruiz (Universidad de Alicante)
Tipo de sesión: Sesión de comunicaciones orales
Día: sábado, 2 de julio de 2016
Hora: 09:00 a 10:45
Lugar: 105

Translating is one of the hardest and more creative arts in use. Through words the translator bridges the author with the public, becoming a vehicle of information but also of ideas. In fact many questions arise if the object of translation is focused on immigration and crime. Being a recent topic of research, one should split realities when focusing on immigration and crime: one aspect is to translate about immigrants as offenders (being convicted for having committed a crime) and another is to reflect upon irregularity/illegality.

With this article, we want to highlight the debate around ethical decisions a translator must take into a triple point of view: using a specific term with an clear aim (negative or positive); translating a non-existent term in the arrival language; the dilemma of a decision to translate literally the term, knowing that it contains a pejorative/negative involvement /repercussion or to choose a different one, accepting that it could be more a translator’s interpretation of the intention, instead of a literal approach of the term.

We will specify the reality of irregular immigration terminology and how terms may contain in itself ideological charges that may function in a positive or negative repercussion. We will also make an overview on some terms used to designate this reality and how those terms may contain in themselves a negative/neutral connotation, debating issues such as the choice for a specific term that may work as a vehicle of a political ideology. We will present as methodology the result of a Focus Group with invited elements from institutions of translation with experience on the field of translating these subjects. Participants will debate the translation of certain legal documents where immigration and crime and the terminology associated with irregular immigration is focused, mainly the Immigration Law Act and also the European Parliament documents. The aim of this methodology is to discuss bias when translating this area, focusing on finding the differences whether terminology has been used with the etymology “illeg-“ or “irregul-“ and also other different terms to designate this same reality. The result of this analysis will present the perceptions, ideological problems and choices of institutions and individuals responsible for legal translations when it comes to translate the reality of immigration and crime, giving the public a clear notion of the strength of the chosen words.

Palabras clave: Immigration; Crime; Irregularity; Illegality; Translation; Bias