Translation as a sub-set of public and social policy and a consequence of multiculturalism: the provision of translation and interpreting services in Australia

Jim Hlavac, Adolfo Gentile, Marc Orlando, Emiliano Zucchi, Ari Pappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Translation can be an overt feature of public policy, typically in situations where there are status planning regulations that prescribe the use of two or more languages that then enable the development of translation infrastructure. In New World countries, one language, usually that of a former colonial power, is the de jure or de facto official language and seldom does translation feature as a national policy in its own right. Accounts for the provision of translation in a country such as Australia are to be found elsewhere. This article adopts a “looking sideways” approach to account for the provision of translation in a range of settings – healthcare, welfare, court/police, etc. In these areas, and since the introduction of multiculturalism in the mid-1970s, linguistic diversity of the Australian populace has been a component of policy formulation and the provision of translation has become a means for policy to be implemented. A national policy on languages that expressly includes translation does exist in Australia. However, it is the cross-portfolio convention of addressing language barriers in the provision of government services and beyond that accounts for translation. It is here conceptualized not so much as a culturallinguistic value, but as a means for service deliver
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-88
Number of pages34
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2018


  • Translation studies
  • Policy Studies
  • Multiculturalism
  • Translation Policy

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