Interpreting and Translation in Service of Social Inclusion: Interpreting and Translation in Public Services of Kingdom of Spain

Edina Spahić, Ivana Bošković


In the year 2017, Spain has received the highest number of refugees since 1984, when the Law of Asylum was adopted. Poverty, as well as the conflicts that take place all around the world are the reason why so many people today seek legalization of their status in Europe. It goes without saying that after the long and complicated procedure, not everyone is given the asylum. This displacement of the population has affected significantly the demographic changes in Spain in the last years. Multiculturalism and multilingualism represent important characteristics of contemporary Spain. The assimilation of the new population demands a lot of effort in order to adapt to the new life conditions. The communication with these new entrants would be impossible if there were not for translators and interpreters whose role in these situations becomes very important, which makes the need for interpreters and translators in public services grow constantly all across Spain. Refugees come in contact with employees of the ministries of local affairs or social services, as well as doctors, psychologists or lawyers. These encounters cannot even be imagined without translators and interpreters who are the main link between people who seek international protection and that of local authorities, and the entire bureaucratic procedure is greatly complex for someone who does not know the language of the country they came to. The entrants are almost always treated as the Others, those who are different than Us, often even seen as inferior people, and they cannot belong to our group as such. That is why interpreters and translators are an indispensable link in an intercultural communication such as this one, not only because of linguistic misunderstandings, but also because of the socio-cultural ones.
The goal of this paper is to analyze several aspects of translation and interpreting in public services, both in everyday and conflict or crisis situations.
Social awareness, especially in the Balkans, as well as the fact that there is an insufficient number of investigations on this topic in our region, were also motives for this research.


interpreting and translation; public administration; immigrants; mulitilingualism

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