Recontextualisation and advocacy in the translation zone



Blackledge A & Creese A (2021) Recontextualisation and advocacy in the translation zone. Text and Talk, 41 (1), pp. 1-21.

This paper reports an element of a team linguistic ethnography which investigated the ways people communicate with each other in the changing, dynamic environments of superdiverse cities in the UK. The particular example examined here is that of a ‘translation zone’ between an advice worker and her Chinese clients in a community centre with a remit to support Chinese people in the city. In the interaction the advice worker, herself a migrant from China, translates relevant aspects of the complex, bureaucratic welfare benefits system, deploying interlingual, intralingual, and intersemiotic translation. More than this, however, the advice worker engages in recontextualisation, co-constructing and re-shaping the client’s narrative so that it meets the criteria of the government welfare benefits office. Recontextualisation is a consistent feature of the discourse practice of the advice worker as she seeks to support her clients. We propose that it may well be a salient feature of interactional encounters as people seek help and advocacy to negotiate complex bureaucratic systems.

advice centre; advocacy; narrative; recontextualisation; translation; translation zone

Text and Talk: Volume 41, Issue 1

FundersArts and Humanities Research Council
Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online23/09/2020
Date accepted by journal02/06/2020

People (2)


Professor Adrian Blackledge
Professor Adrian Blackledge

Professor in Education, Education

Professor Angela Creese
Professor Angela Creese

Professor in Education, Education