Translation Policies of Minoritised Languages through Organised Activism: a Comparative Study of Catalan and Welsh

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Moreno-Rivero, Javier 

This thesis investigates the role of states and activist organisations in the development of translation policies aimed at promoting minoritised languages. Activists have been crucial in securing language rights in Catalonia and Wales over the last six decades, and their campaigns and initiatives have resulted in supportive legislation. While recent scholarship has recognised translation as a tool for social cohesion, little attention has been paid to the extent to which translation rights can contribute to language revitalisation and normalisation processes. This research identifies intersectional areas where translation is embedded in these processes by conducting a contrastive examination of the scope of existing policies and the priorities of language activists. Using a comparative approach, it investigates the work of five organisations that advocate for the rights of Catalan and Welsh speakers. This thesis includes a cross-sectorial analysis of translation management, practices, and ideologies in both Wales and Catalonia, combining policy analysis of international, supranational, and national legislation with an ethnographic study, involving observations and individual interviews.

This study explores the macro and meso-level support for minoritised languages in each jurisdiction, as well as the micro-level policies developed by activists, revealing a misalignment between existing legislation and practices. While translation has traditionally been looked at from a communicative perspective, I argue that, in the context of minoritised languages, translation policies must encompass sociolinguistic principles of language equality, rights, and revitalisation. Therefore, as well as arguing for the importance of studying the societal implications of translation in order to formulate sociolinguistically-informed policies, my work makes two significant contributions. First, it contains the first cross-sectional analysis of minoritised language translation policies, arguing for an inclusive principle of translation equality. Secondly, it asserts that translation policy, frequently overlooked in language policy studies, is a dynamic concept with which to investigate tensions in diglossic societies and should be considered when researching the democratic participation of linguistic minorities. In this way, the thesis argues for the relevance of considering activists’ translation ideologies in shaping inclusive policies that address the needs of a specific linguistic community. Overall, this research argues that involving language advocates is critical in the formulation of translation policies supporting linguistic minorities.

Ayres-Bennett, Wendy
jurilinguistics, language activism, language policy, law and language, minoritised languages, minority languages, sociolinguistics, sociology of language, specialized translation, translation policy
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge
Fundación la Caixa