Emma Seddon: “Exploring the identities of language professionals with assemblage theory”

In Former students by jvnf65


This project, supervised by Elaine Campbell, Lisa Garforth, and Jackie Leach Scully, explores the identities of language professionals through the application of assemblage theory (AT). The term “language professional” here refers to an individual who works within the language industry, which can be defined as the sector dedicated to facilitating written and oral multilingual communication. Sociological research in Translation Studies (TS) has hitherto explored the idea that translation is more than a linguistic or intercultural activity, and as a professional practice involves complex and multi-faceted social networks and processes. However, to date, sociological analyses of language work have tended to focus on only one sociological scale by foregrounding either the micro, meso or macro-level of practice. In contrast, the application of assemblage theory will see translation and related professions treated as part of a multi-scaled social reality. Rather than taking the existence of such professional identities as given, it will demonstrate that they emerge from the complexities of relational networks by exploring how they are socially, culturally, spatially and politically assembled. Industry reports and academic research have highlighted the fact that the majority of translators are female, freelance and part time, constituting a potentially vulnerable cohort of professionals. The research will therefore contribute to debates on the sociology of professions and the sociology of gender, as well as engaging with current concerns about professional identities and status in the language industry.

Prior to starting this project, I undertook a BA in French Studies at the University of London Institute in Paris (2006-2009), and an MA in Translation Studies at Durham University (2013-2014). I then worked as a freelance translator for approximately 2 years, which, along with my MA dissertation exploring AT in the field of TS, inspired my research. Most recently, I completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Sociology and

Social Research at Newcastle University (2016-2017 – pending) as part of my ESRC studentship.