Annarita Taronna: “Translation and interpreting across the Mediterranean as a form of negotiation, resistance and activism”

Annarita Taronna

The massive increase in migration flows through the Afro-Mediterranean routes during the last decades have shaped previously homogeneous populations into linguistically and culturally diverse ethnoscapes. On this background, migration has strongly contributed to the acquisition and the use of English as a first, second and foreign language and to the burgeoning of new Englishes all over the world (Crystal, 1997; Trudgill et al, 2002; Jenkins, 2003) thus problematizing our traditional knowledge of language as a social projection of territorial unity held together by shared behavioral norms, beliefs and values.

Specifically, taking into account the communicative and translation processes in which 12 interviewed volunteer interpreters, translators and cultural mediators have been engaged during their interaction with newly-arrived migrants in Southern Italy, this paper addresses three main research issues concerning: a) the use of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in the volunteers’s practice of language and cultural mediation and the extent to which this language may be perceived either as a barrier or as a bridge, thus affecting the relationship between the mediator and the migrant and the shaping of a politics of hospitality in the Mediterranean; b) the different linguistic and extra-linguistic strategies which volunteers, translators and cultural mediators can adopt in the state of migration emergency not only to serve communicative purposes, but also to humanize the migrants’ transfer to, and internment at, the different camps across Italy; c) the interviewed language mediators’ narratives as a testimony of negotiation, activism and resistance to the strict institutionalized protocols of the Italian immigration policies.

Finally, in this work we also intend to investigate the extent to which the interviewed translators and cultural mediators form not a mere aggregation of individuals achieving the task of translation as a mere linguistic transfer, but a ‘living’ network held together by a conscious and critical sense of the performative power of their words and their mediation conceived as a way to create meanings which form and transform human reality.

[1] Abstract di articolo di pubblicazione per il volume a cura di M.G.Guido, La mediazione linguistica interculturale in materia di immigrazione e asilo, Lingue e Linguaggi 11 (2015), ISSN 2239-0367, e-ISSN 2239-0359,, © 2015 Università del Salento, Lecce, pp.73-89.

Paola Zaccaria: “The Art and Poetics of Translation as Hospitality”


The value of tolerance is no longer suffi cient to the task. And we appeal to another concept of hospitality.

Jacques Derrida, “Displaced Literatures”

I come from Bari, a city located on Italy’s southeastern shores, and, in 1991, the site of one of the most dramatic events to prove our unpreparedness to deal with mass exoduses. Th e event was called “the Albanian emergency,” in which the word “emergency” was already used as a synonym for danger of invasion, fl ooding, or border crisis. I am evoking and invoking one of the most outrageous and shocking sights resulting from the breakdown of a totalitarian hegemony inside the last post– Cold War Eu ro pe an communist state, Albania. Continua a leggere “Paola Zaccaria: “The Art and Poetics of Translation as Hospitality””