Language and the Symposium

The core theme of the Symposium is language and the multiple means through which we communicate. How language brings us together and how language keeps us apart. We are here to think about and to experience how language structures our relationships and simultaneously has the power to include and exclude. In order to do this, for the first time, the Symposium will be multilingual - trilingual in fact, with English, Spanish and Catalan being the working languages of the event.

We invite you to become involved, whether through presenting papers, running workshops, conducting groups or by beginning to think about coming to Barcelona and involving yourself in a multilingual matrix in which the convenience of monolingualism will be replaced by a more complex and challenging total situation.

Technology will be helping us with some of the challenges. We have decided to be as paper-free as possible and so, for the first time, there will be a Symposium App, which will include all the necessary documentation and information, facilitating and making easier the sharing and distribution of papers in the 3 working languages. We are not asking participants in the scientific programme to provide professional translations of their work. We are satisfied that machine generated translations, such as Google Translate, while far from perfect, nowadays are good enough for our purposes. We greatly encourage colleagues to familiarise themselves with these easily available and user-friendly online programmes.

Below, we outline the current thinking and proposals of the organisers on the use of languages in the different symposium spaces in which we will meet during the event:

Keynote lectures
The lectures will be given in the language in which they were written. We will employ interpreters to provide a live translation to the two other working languages. Suitable headphones will be made available at the start of each day. The interpreters will also help us translate the post-lecture discussions. PDF versions of the lectures will be available via the Symposium App which we will have installed on our tablets or smartphones.

Sub-plenary/paper presentations
We ask those giving sub-plenary lectures and paper presentations to make their talk available in at least one of the other languages (using Google Translate) – this would then be made available to those attending in PDF form via the Symposium App. We will make clear in advance the languages in which the sub-plenary/panel event will take place. Sub-plenary events taking place in the main auditorium would be able to make use of the interpreters.

In all of the other spaces, during discussions, we hope that either volunteer translators will be available or that the resources of the group will help facilitate translation between languages.

The language/s of each workshop will be announced on the Symposium App in advance. To facilitate translation between languages, we hope that either volunteer translators will be in attendance or that the resources of the group will be sufficient to do this work.

Social dreaming matrix/small/median/leaderless groups
Most of the experiential groups will be multilingual. However, there will be small/median groups made available in each of the 3 working languages of the symposium. We will be asked at the start of the event to register our interest in attending either an English, Spanish, Catalan or multilingual group. We anticipate that bi/multilingual groups will use their own internal resources to translate between languages.

Large group
We, the organisers, have been exploring different ways of addressing trilingualism within the context of the large group. Many questions and concerns have arisen in our discussions. We have researched and tested possible technological facilities. We have discussed a possible role for interpreters and translators working from either outside or inside the group. Are we able to accept external non-member interpreters and translators or must they be participating members? Will the group be able to work multilingually using its own internal resources? Will we be able to accept and work with the inevitable slowing down of the interactive process as we translate between languages. Will we gravitate to monolingualism? What will be the role of the convenors in holding the group to the trilingual commitment?