Translating cultures and the legislated mediation of indigenous rights in Peru - AHRC

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Dr Raquel de Pedro Ricoy was successful in obtaining AHRC Research Innovation Grant funding under the Translating Cultures theme.

Dr de Pedro Ricoy's project, entitled 'Translating cultures and the legislated mediation of indigenous rights in Peru', to be conducted over 20 months (October 2014 - June 2016), has been awarded over £200,000. In this century, escalating industrial exploitation of the natural resources lying below indigenous lands has triggered serious conflicts. Efforts are being made to implement legislation that recognizes the interconnected principles of language rights and the indigenous communities' right to prior consultation. The aim of this project is to examine translation and interpreting processes between Spanish and the indigenous languages in formal contexts between agents of the state, other outside bodies and members of the indigenous communities. The research team includes Professor Rosaleen Howard (Chair of Hispanic Studies, Newcastle University) and Dr Luis Andrade (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima), and will work with Peru's Ministry of Culture and the NGO Servicios Educativos Rurales as Project Partners. For more information, please contact


Translating the Deaf Self

CMYK Portrait

Project Overview

The 'Translating the Deaf Self' project is funded through a Research Innovation Grant under the Arts & Humanities Research Council Translating Cultures Theme, and seeks to explore whether translation is constitutive of Deaf culture(s).

The project will be managed jointly between the Department of Languages & Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University (Professor Jemina Napier & Dr Noel O'Connell) and the Social Research with Deaf People (SORD) programme at the University of Manchester (Professor Alys Young & Rosemary Oram), in close collaboration with Deaf community organisation Action Deafness, and other Deaf community representatives.

This project asks: (1) How is translation constitutive of Deaf culture(s) in their formation, projection and transformation? and (2) What is the impact of consistently experiencing existence to others as a translated self on personal identity, achievement and well being? It takes a novel interdisciplinary approach in combining Translation and Interpreting Studies, Deaf Studies and Social Research.

Its objectives are to: (i) establish whether the questions are valid and recognizable by Deaf people; (ii) scope the parameters of 'translated self as constitutive of culture' and 'translated self as impact on well being' through exploration of every day lived experience(s); (iii) test out a range of data capture tools to allow us insight into these issues in a signed language; and (iv) use our findings to propose a theoretical model which builds on previous research both in respect to translation, culture and Deaf people, and intercultural communication theory in general.

For more information about the project in English and British Sign Language, please visit this link.



CTISS members contribute to the European Legal Interpreters and Translators Association (EULITA) which brings together professional associations, legal translators and spoken and sign language legal interpreters in the EU to help improve quality standards in legal interpreting and translation. We have given input to the following initiative:

  • TRAFUT provides information and training through a series of workshops to help member states implement the Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings.

EU DG Criminal Justice - Police Interpreting


The following projects that CTISS members take part in are funded by the EU:

  • IMPLI aims to develop best practice in interpreter mediated investigative interviews and improve police and legal interpreting.
  • CO-Minor/Inquest focuses on vulnerable victims, suspects and witnesses under the age of 18 (vulnerable due to age and native language) and looks at how to provide the necessary information, support and protection this group needs. For more information on this project, you can check out this article on the Heriot-Watt website and the articles titled 'Promoting Access to Justice in a Multilingual World' and 'Obtaining interpreter-mediated evidence from children in legal contexts' in the 2013 Annual Report of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research.

British Sign Language Corpus Project (BSLCP)

Funded by The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), this project involved partners across the UK. Its aim was to create a digital BSL corpus: a collection, publicly available on the internet, of video clips showing Deaf people using BSL, and to carry out research using this collection into BSL grammar and vocabulary, social variation in BSL usage, and how signing in the UK is changing. Internationally the BSL Corpus is one of only a few large sign language corpus projects and it contributes to wider research in the field of linguistics worldwide.

Sign language interpreting






Justisigns is a 30-month project funded through the European Commission Leonardo Da Vinci Lifelong Learning Programme, and the aim of the project is to promote access to justice for deaf sign language users through interpreters, with a particular focus on police settings. Jemina Napier, Graham Turner and Robert Skinner from the Languages & Intercultural Studies department at Heriot-Watt University are conducting the project in collaboration with consortium partners: Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education in Switzerland, KU Leuven in Belgium, efsli (European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters) and EULITA (European Legal Interpreters & Translators Association). The project is scheduled to end in May 2016.


Medisigns: awarded the coveted European Languages Label in 2013, this project aimed to help spread good quality interpreting throughout European health services.


InSign project: in collaboration with the European Union of the Deaf, European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters and others, this project seeks to develop and examine a platform for video remote signed language interpreter provision across European institutions.


Deaf juror project: in collaboration with University of New South Wales, Australia, this longitudinal study is investigating the feasibility for deaf sign language users to serve as jurors with support from sign language interpreters. For project update, click here.

Teacher-student interaction: this project analyses authentic classroom interaction with deaf high schools students and their teachers and interpreters, including coding of the interaction sequences - in collaboration with Macquarie University and the Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children in Sydney.


New speakers in multi-lingual  Europe

This new project is supported by a £400k grant from COST (European Co-operation in Science and Technology) and is led by CTISS member Professor O’Rourke. It involves 29 expert academics from 13 countries across Europe and will look at Europe’s minority languages, including Gaelic, as spoken by “new speakers” – that is, individuals who were not brought up speaking the language but who acquired it as a second language.

Happy to translate initiative

CTISS has contributed to the Happy to translate scheme which aims to promote equal access to services in the public and voluntary sectors for all those who might face a language barrier in Scotland. Organisations signing up to the initiative are committed to providing language assistance wherever required in the form of confidential translation and interpretation.

Doctoral research

currently addresses areas including:

  • Interpreting in the media
  • Healthcare interpreting
  • Translation and localization
  • Interpreting pedagogy with languages including Arabic, Chinese and American Sign Language
  • The function of agencies in the induction of practitioners
  • Business negotiation interpreting
  • The structure of dialogue in police interviews
  • Audience expectations and skopos theory in churches
  • Sign language translation and interpreting developments in the USA, UK and China