- Current position 2018 Visiting Research Fellow
University of Alcalá, Spain / From September to December 2018 / Communication between migrants and asylum seekers, and public service providers
Dr. Raquel Lázaro Gutiérrez is a PhD Assistant Professor at the Modern Philology Dep. in the University of Alcalá (Madrid, Spain). She is a member of FITISPos-UAH research group and an expert in intercultural communication and public service interpreting and translation (PSIT), having carried out extensive research into the quality of communication between public service providers and migrant users. She is also a member of the organizing committee for the International Conference on Public Service Translation and Interpreting and of the International Young Researchers' Conference on Translation and Interpreting. She has a good number of scientific publications and is a usual lecturer at national and international conferences. She is a founder member of ENPSIT, European Network of Public Service Interpreting and Translation and of AFIPTISP, the Spanish Association of Trainers, Researchers and Practitioners of Public Service Translation and Interpreting.
Spain, the country Raquel is based in, presents many similarities with Belgium in that both countries have a long history of migrants and asylum seekers reception. During her 2018 visiting fellowship at the Brussels Centre for Urban Studies, she will carry out research about communication between migrants and asylum seekers, and public service providers, focusing in particular on public service interpreting and translation in Brussels. Data will be compared and contrasted with previous outcomes of Spanish similar projects and former projects already carried out in Belgium.
Asylum and migration constitute a highly relevant current topic due to the increase in the population movements brought about by the existing conflicts in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan or Irak. The Brussels superdiversity is a phenomenon that can no longer be ignored, as people from a great variety of origins and nationalities live together in a multicultural and multilingual society. Equal access to public services for all inhabitants of the city is only possible when barriers, among which language barriers, are overcome. Therefore, the main objectives of this visit are the following:
1. To acquire an understanding of the impact of the refugee crisis on the linguistic reality in Brussels and on the language practices in multilingual public service provision, in particular by focusing on the communication needs, strategies and mechanisms in the context of asylum procedures and from the perspective of public service interpreters and the (vulnerable) end users, such as women and (unaccompanied) minors.
2. To make comparisons between the Brussels situation and the situation in Madrid, which is another superdiverse city.
3. To explore how higher education institutions, through research and training, can provide answers or solutions to the communicative challenges that public service organisations face.