When issues of fundamental importance are identified, the Board convenes Special Interest Groups or Working Groups to bring together committed member representatives to analyse the data, discuss possible avenues forward, and submit recommendations for policymakers or experts in the field. Here you can find an overview of the active and concluded CEL/ELC working groups:
Special Interest Groups (SIG) 2023
– Languages in Higher Education;
– Translation and cross languages communication;
– Language, research, and communication of science;
– Language policies and multilingualism.
Each Working Group is coordinated by a CEL/ELC Board member.
Language and Education
Professors Piet Van De Craen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
The group on ‘Language and Education’ focuses on aspects of multilingualism in higher education as well in schools. It is an undeniable fact that in a number of European countries school systems, primary and secondary, have made significant progress in multilingual education through the implementation of the ‘Content and Language Integrated Learning’ (CLIL) approach. However, this progress in higher education is not always observable. Needless to say, that in countries where CLIL has not gained a foothold in primary and secondary, higher education is falling even further behind. In other words, despite the progress made there is still much to be done with regard to multilingual education policies in most European countries.
In countries where multilingual education is hesitant to implement, often the result of one ideology or another, a number of arguments have been put forward to discredit multilingual education, despite research showing that these are false. This can only be counteracted by sustained opinion editing and the demonstration of good practical results. As it turns out, the implementation of multilingual education at any level is a slow process that has been going on for some 25 years and is likely to continue for at least the same number of years.
With more and more countries facing the need for multilingual education, any form of ideology seems counterproductive because it does not fit the evolving times. Just as issues surrounding climate change and AI cannot be denied, multilingual education cannot be ignored.
While the available scientific research consistently demonstrates the benefits of multilingual education, much remained to be done. Six issues are listed below but this is far from a complete list and members are invited to come forward and suggest others.
– The impact of multilingual education on students who do not speak one of the school languages, referring to the burning migration issue. There is strong evidence that the CLIL approach is working well with all kinds of students. However, a comprehensive overview of the experiences is lacking and is badly needed.
– Ways to implement multilingual education in higher education especially in countries with no tradition of multilingual education in primary and/or secondary schools. This important issue needs urgently to be addressed.
– Aspects of multilingual education related to language pedagogical aspects, such as reading and writing advantages / disadvantages. It is important to address practical issues in order to increase our knowledge regarding multilingualism.
– It is often assumed that multilingual education would be unsuitable for vocational and technical education, which is a complete misconception. An overview of successful initiatives is both urgent and important.
– Examples of good practice regarding opinion-forming on multilingual education in a European perspective. Europe’s future will also depend on the quality of its education and therefore spreading the best possible practices is important.
– Examples of good practice regarding the training of multilingual teachers. Well-trained teachers are a precondition for good education. However, training for multilingual teachers at all levels has so far much to be desired. School boards and universities need help and encouragement in this regard.
Colleagues interested in becoming members of the Group and willing to contribute to its activities are invited to contact the group leaders, Piet Van de Craen (email@example.com) and/or Mireia Trenchs (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than 30 September.
Artificial Intelligence in T&I
Professors Maurizio Viezzi (Università di Trieste) and Kris Peeters (Universiteit Antwerpen)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gaining ground at breakneck speed and is already having an impact on interlingual communication. That impact will only grow in the future and needs to be carefully investigated as AI is likely to redefine and revolutionize T&I as we know it, with currently unpredictable effects on T&I professions and processes, as well as on the quality of T&I products. All areas of T&I are likely to be affected – from interpreting in its various settings (conference, healthcare, court etc., either on-site or remote) to multilingual terminology to translation in its many fields (technical, legal, medical, tourist etc., including audio-visual and even literary) and other forms of inter- and intralingual mediation, such as audiodescription and media accessibility.
While AI may seem to be offering a wealth of opportunities, especially in terms of productivity, it also looks fraught with problems or difficulties with regard to linguistic and cultural diversity (which are potentially undermined by English bias) and important legal and ethical issues (often ignored, at least at the beginning, by breakthrough innovations).
The Conseil Européen pour les Langues / European Language Council (CEL/ELC) is setting up a Special Interest Group to investigate these themes and pave the way for a project proposal (a COST Action or similar EU-funded project) to be submitted next year.
Possible research questions include but are by no means limited to the following:
- What are the dominant and less dominant narratives regarding AI and how do these present the potential (immediate and future) impact of AI on linguistic diversity, inter- and intralingual mediation, translation and interpreting?
- What is the translators’ and interpreters’ perception of AI and its potential impact in the field?
- What is AI already being used for in T&I professions and how? In what fields and areas of T&I is AI already in use or likely to be used? What good practices are there? What are the positive and less positive experiences?
- What precisely are the immediate and future risks and liabilities of AI for T&I practices and professions in the areas outlined above? How and to what extent is AI changing the professions?
- What are the advantages of AI for T&I practices and how could it contribute to T&I quality? What is its potential for T&I? How can it be used to the benefit of T&I?
- How precisely does AI affect T&I processes? How does it change post-editing? How does the quality of prompting and pre-editing affect T&I processes?
- What possible impact does the increasing use of AI have on linguistic and cultural diversity? What are the effects of AI’s linguistic and cultural (Anglo-American) bias on T&I practices involving other languages, especially languages of lesser diffusion?
- What are the legal and ethical implications of using AI in T&I practices in the areas outlined above? Are these the same for all possible applications and in all fields of T&I?
- How can linguistic diversity be preserved in the age of AI? What role can language policy play in this respect?
Colleagues interested in becoming members of the Group and willing to contribute to its activities are invited to contact the convenors, Kris Peeters (email@example.com) and Maurizio Viezzi (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than 30 September.
Specialised Communication /Communication spécialisée
Professors Maria Teresa Zanola (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore), Manuel Célio Conceiçao (Universidade do Algarve)
Language Policy at Higher Education
Professors Maria Teresa Zanola (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore), Javier Martos (Universidad de Sevilla)