Brussels Institute for Applied Linguistics
BIAL (Brussels Institute for Applied Linguistics) is a research group within the Applied Linguistics Department of the VUB that conducts applied linguistic research with a focus on transculturalism. We define transculturalism as a form of cultural hybridity which emerges when different cultural elements interact and eventually integrate with each other. Since Brussels is a natural melting pot of cultures, the emphasis on transculturalism is contained in the B of BIAL ("Brussels").
We approach our overarching research theme from different angles. The research can be categorised according to the following lines of enquiry:
- Translation and Interpreting
This line of research comprises a variety of topics within translation and interpreting studies. Examples of translation research include text-based, contrastive studies (including literary translation and translation in specialized contexts such as institutional translation), the translation of migration literature and intersemiotic translation, intermediality and adaptation, as well as studies on transculturalism in translation practice.
Research topics in interpreting include studies on the practice of interpreting (e.g. community interpreting) and the evaluation of interpreting skills according to the European Framework of Reference with a view to the professionalization of sworn interpreters.
- Foreign Language Acquisition and Multilingualism
Research within this domain focuses on the validation of teaching methods with a view to optimizing foreign language teaching, as well as research on multilingualism from the perspective of migration, transculturalism and education.
- Jargon, terminology and communication in a multilingual, transcultural perspective
Lines of enquiry in this field include application-specific terminological analyses in a socio-cognitive perspective, the possibilities and limitations of ontology-based terminological databases, the importance of terminology (neologisms) within the dynamic process of understanding, multilingual neology, European terminology and equal authenticity of texts in different languages, terminological variation, and the role of vagueness and indeterminacy in language.
One of the current research projects in this field relates to multilingual transcultural communication in Brussels hospitals, with an emphasis on the negotiation of meaning in patient-oriented communication, paying particular attention to misunderstandings in multilingual contexts.
- Language Practice in transcultural society
This category concerns interdisciplinary research on the relationship between political concepts and language use in different languages and their associated cultures. The focus lies on the philosophy of language, language and ethics, and language and critical theory, themes which are then applied to and linked with translation issues, discourse analysis and social theories.