NaPP: Navigating Languages in Professional Practices

NaPP: Navigating Languages in Professional Practices

The last few decades of globalisation have seen an exponential increase in international communication. This has, on the one hand, led to increased use of English and other lingua francas generally, and in professional practice(s). On the other, it has led to a strong growth in professional as well as non-professional/amateur translation and interpreting activity.

The Navigating Languages in Professional Practices Research Group investigates how the need to relate to a multiplicity of languages is dealt with in various different kinds of workplaces, looking into issues such as: Which agents are (usually) handed the responsibility for cross-linguistic communication? How are cross-linguistic, workplace communication challenges negotiated? Does there seem to be a preference for lingua franca use, or for translation? Who carries out translations – translation/language professionals or non-professionals?

Special emphasis is placed on the notion of ‘translatorial action’ (Holz-Mänttäri, 1984), which places focus on the fact that translational text production often involves a tightly knit network of agents who engage in various forms of translated-related activities leading up to a ‘final’ product (which may or may not be a translation in the traditional sense).

The research group aims to identify the issues connected to the ways in which languages are navigated through various trajectories of translatorial action in various organizations, businesses and public service institutions, from the perspectives of those who encounter these issues every day. Also, what challenges can be detected by observing work flows, negotiations, communicative output?

The project employs a mixed-methods approach, including but not limited to case studies, surveys, participant observation, conversation analysis, and discourse analysis. The main aim is to provide a broad picture of current language practices in various professions and language (non-)professionals’ attitudes to them, with a view – among other things – to raising awareness and providing tools for thinking around these practices within the workplaces in question.
The main focus is on Norway and the other Nordic countries, but perspectives from elsewhere in the world are also drawn in for comparative purposes. 


Holz-Mänttäri, Justa. 1984. Translatorisches Handeln. Theorie und Methode. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.