Is there a right to untranslatability? Asylum, evidence and the listening state

Craig, S. and Gramling, D. (2017) Is there a right to untranslatability? Asylum, evidence and the listening state. Tilburg Law Review, 22(1-2), pp. 77-98. (doi:10.1163/22112596-02201005)

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This article focuses on Refugee Status Determination (RSD) procedures, in order to understand the relationships among language, translation / interpreting, evidentiary assessment, and what we call the ‘listening state’. Legal systems have only recently begun to consider whether adjudicative processes ought to take place in multiple languages concurrently, or whether the ideal procedure is to monolingualize evidence first, and then assess it accordingly. Because of this ambivalence, asylum applicants are often left in the ‘zone of uncertainty’ between monolingualism and multilingualism. Their experiences and testimonies become subject to an ‘epistemic anxiety’ only infrequently seen in other areas of adjudication. We therefore ask whether asylum applicants ought to enjoy a ‘right to untranslatability’, taking account of the State's responsibility to cooperate actively with them or whether the burden ought to remain with the applicant to achieve credibility in the language of the respective jurisdiction, through interpretation and translation.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gramling, Dr David and Craig, Ms Sarah
Authors: Craig, S., and Gramling, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Tilburg Law Review
Publisher:Brill Academic Publishers
ISSN (Online):2211-2596
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Koninklijke Brill NV
First Published:First published in Tilburg Law Review 22(1-2): 77-98
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
629411Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law, and the StateAlison PhippsArts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/L006936/1ED - EDUCATION