in Multilingual Urban Settings

29 April 2016 / Brussels, Belgium



Co-funding partners


About the colloquium

TranslanguagingIn this era of globalization and migration, multilingualism is an extremely common phenomenon in many urban contexts in the world. Many urban dwellers use more than one language or language variety on a daily basis.

In this light, the term 'translanguaging' refers to the diverse linguistic resources that multilinguals have at their disposal and the flexible language practices they engage in. These flexible language practices frequently involve switching between and across a range of languages and language varieties, including dialects, global registers, and youth language. Together, these flexible language practices can be considered to form a new hybrid language system.

Urban multilingualism is a fascinating yet complex phenomenon, and as such it requires thoughtful and research-based policymaking. To this end, it is crucial to examine the dynamics of translanguaging in urban settings closely and gain a better understanding of the interaction between language (education) policies and (trans)languaging practices.

In this way, sensible and effective policy responses to multilingual language practices can be devised. Moreover, both language practices and language policies will impact on the role of future translators and interpreters in these multilingual settings, and this may eventually also require changes in translation and interpreting pedagogy. This pedagogical perspective is particularly relevant for translation and interpreting training programmes.

The Translanguaging in Multilingual Urban Settings colloquium brings together experts working on translanguaging in different European multilingual urban settings.

  • The six invited speakers are established scholars who will approach the topic from various applied linguistic perspectives (e.g. sociolinguistics, language education, language planning, intercultural communication, literary translation) as they present the methods and empirical results of their ongoing research.
  • The colloquium will also feature a panel discussion in which former students of the applied linguistics department will focus on the tensions between language practices and language policies in multilingual urban settings such as Brussels, and the possible implications of this for future translators and interpreters.

Join us to learn more about the practice of translanguaging in multilingual urban settings and its societal implications. The colloquium is open to anybody involved or interested in the practice of translanguaging, both in educational and professional contexts (e.g. students, teachers, language professionals, policymakers, etc.).

The colloquium will take place on 29 April 2016 at the Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique / Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België in Brussels, Belgium.


8:30 - 9:30


9:30 -9:40

Opening remarks

Hélène Stengers
(Coordinator of the Brussels Institute for Applied Linguistics)


Keynote session

Chair: Alex Housen

9:40 - 10:45 / keynote

Translanguaging as a theory of language: some conceptual and methodological considerations

Li Wei (University College London)

10:45 - 11:15

Coffee break

Session 'Translanguaging: policy vs. practice'

Chair: Koen Kerremans

11:15 - 11:50

Language education policies and sociolinguistic criticism

Jürgen Jaspers (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Jürgen Jaspers
11:50 - 12:25

Translanguaging on trial: Immediate versus mediated performance in the legal process

Katrijn Maryns (Universiteit Gent)

12:25 - 13:30


Session 'Different perspectives in studying translanguaging practices'

Chair: Arvi Sepp

13:30 - 14:05

Translanguaging in literary texts: an advantage or a handicap? The translation of contemporary French literature featuring urban youth language

Stella Linn (University of Groningen)

Stella Linn
14:05 - 14:40

Multilingual family practices

Luk Van Mensel (Université de Namur)

Luk Van Mensel
14:40 - 15:15

Technology-aided translanguaging in emergency department consultations

Antoon Cox (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

15:15 - 15:45

Coffee Break

Session 'Translanguaging practices in Brussels'

Chairs: Julie Deconinck & Esli Struys

15:45 - 16:45

Panel discussion: Translanguaging at work

Anil Demir

Anil Demir

(Language Trainer, Freelance reporter/translator

Margo Sijs

(Interpreter at the European Commission's Dutch Interpreting Unit)

Didier Lebrun

(Co-manager Lighthouse - projects Sprl Localisation - Translation - Project management)

Anila Shehu

Anila Shehu

(Consultant VDAB, Assessor Albanian Language, Interpreter/Translator)

16:45 - 17:00

Closing session

Rita Temmerman




Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique /
Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België

Keizerslaan 4, B-1000 Brussel

Visit KB Website


Organising Committee

In case you have any questions concerning the event, you can contact one of the members of the organising committee:

  • Deconinck, Julie (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • De Wilde, July (Universiteit Gent)
  • Eyckmans, June (Universiteit Gent)
  • Humblé, Philippe (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Kerremans, Koen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Stengers, Hélène (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Sepp, Arvi (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Struys, Esli (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Temmerman, Rita (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Scientific Committee

  • Boers, Frank (Victoria University of Wellington)
  • Dewaele, Jean-Marc (Birkbeck University of London)
  • Dewolf, Linda (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Darquennes, Jeroen (Université de Namur)
  • Housen, Alex (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Lavaert, Sonja (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Lázaro Gutiérrez, Raquel (Universidad de Alcalá)
  • Marzo, Stefania (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
  • Mitterbauer, Helga (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
  • Vandenbussche, Wim (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Vosters, Rik (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Groups audience: 
- Private group -