UK first for international interpreting conference

Aston University

14th October, 2009


Aston University in Birmingham, UK will host the 6th international Critical Link conference in July 2010. It is the first time that a conference with a focus on public service interpreting will take place in the UK.

This unique event will bring together representatives from every sphere of the worldwide public service community including academics, interpreting practitioners, employers, trainers, policy makers, service providers and service recipients. The aim is to shed new light on the vital role that public service/community interpreters play in our world.

Professor Christina Schaeffner from Aston University’s School of Languages & Social Sciences, who is organising the event said: ‘This conference is of world-wide importance and will provide a forum for researchers, trainers and practitioners. We hope that it will provide a unique link between Aston University’s research in this area and wider professional practice and academic research. As such, we are inviting public service employees such as police and health professionals to attend the conference. Aston University specialises in rigorous research that makes an impact on individuals, organisations and society.

We are particularly keen on having service providers, service recipients and policy makers at the conference. It still happens too frequently that family members perform interpreting tasks in medical and legal settings instead of qualified interpreters. There is also not enough training provision in the UK, let alone government support for training courses. The conference will therefore have a significant role to play in raising awareness of some of the key issues around community interpreting.

The theme of the conference is Interpreting in a Changing Landscape and the overall aim is to explore political, legal, human rights, trans-national, economic, socio-cultural and sociolinguistic aspects of public service/community interpreting.’

Abstracts for papers addressing key strands in interpreting research and practice including the role of the state in the certification of public service interpreters, national and political responsibility for service provision, codes of ethics and conduct, regulation of interpreters and interpreting services and the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers to communication services are encouraged.

Other strands to the conference will include the use of innovative new practice and technologies to improve public service interpreting such as webstream interpreting, interpreting in conflict zones and the ‘virtual courtroom’.

Christina continued: ‘The Critical Link International Committee decides on the venue of the conference on the basis of bids. Our successful bid has been a major achievement for Aston and we hope that the conference will enhance the public visibility and status of community interpreting in Birmingham and the UK.’

The deadline for submission to Critical Link 6 of abstracts and proposals is 31 October 2009. The draft programme will be available on 1 May 2010 and registration is now open. The conference will take place between 26-30 July 2010.

For further information visit or contact Professor Christina Schaeffner at


For further press information please contact Sally Finn on 0121 204 4552.

 Notes to editors:

  • Previous Critical Link conferences have taken place in Vancouver (1995 and 1998), Montreal (2001), Stockholm (2004) and Sydney (2007).

For further information about Aston University visit