Dr Charlotte Bosseaux: How can we best respond to the ethical demands of Gender-Based Violence translation?

Dr Charlotte Bosseaux, of the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to consider the ways in which the voices of gender-based violence survivors are translated in a practice-based, multilingual documentary underpinned by new research into the ethics of translation.

The project’s primary goals are to establish which translation method – for example subtitling or voice-over – is the most ethical when translating audiovisual personal narratives, and to provide good practice guidelines for translators, translation companies, filmmakers and charities, including on how to work together effectively.

UN figures indicate that one in three women will experience gender-based violence in their lifetime. 

“Beyond the UN statistics there are human beings, survivors, whose stories I want to explore.”

Charlotte will be focussing on testimonies told by survivors because she is “interested in the ethical role played by translation when transmitting their experience, and in the way translators cope with working with challenging sensitive material.”

Charlotte’s 18-month project will see her work collaboratively with Saheliya, a Scottish-based charity supporting survivors, the filmmaker Ling Lee, and language professionals recruited via the specialist company Screen Language, a number of whom will be surveyed about how they feel about their work.

Crucially, with the help of Saheliya, she will also work with survivors to understand their expectations before filming starts, to incorporate their perspectives into the film-making process, and to make sure the filming and translation processes are undertaken ethically.

The documentary will focus on the stories of survivors and the role translation has played when sharing these stories. It will be multilingual; survivors will speak their mother tongue (including Arabic and Urdu) and translation will be carried out as soon as filming starts.

More on Charlotte’s project can be found here. Read more about Charlotte at the genderED Directory.

Featured image: Dr Charlotte Bosseaux (l) speaking to Indian writer and activist Meena Kandasamy (r) at the third Whose Voice is it Anyway symposium. Image © Hui Yao.