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UK Supreme Court on Language Analysis for the Determination of Origin in asylum claims

UK Supreme Court on Language Analysis for the Determination of Origin in asylum claims | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
Hundreds of asylum seekers may have been wrongly deported from Britain due to the Home Office’s reliance on a Swedish firm to analyse their language, it was claimed last night.

Via Tim Grant
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Tim Grant's curator insight, May 27, 2014 4:38 AM

IAFL have long been cautious and somewhat critical about Language Analysis for the Determination of Origin.  

 

 - the IAFL statement on this work (adopted in 2003 published 2004) can be found here: http://bit.ly/1lOuJIb

 

- a good summary of the criticism can be found in Peter Patrick's IAFL conference speech in 2009: http://bit.ly/1oDrF5n .  

 

- also worth a look is Peter's LARG network website with loads of links and updates at  http://www.essex.ac.uk/larg/Default.aspx

 

 

And as a final link the full Supreme Court judgement can be read here: http://supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2013_0202_Judgment.pdf

 

  

If you read the judgement (which you should) you'll see that it is not critical of Sprakab's language analysis per se.  

 

Quoting the previous hearing - 

 

"It accepted that Sprakab was a bona fide organisation which has devised and refined a system for analysing language requiring interaction between several employees. That process minimises the opportunities for the incompetence of one to lead to a false result. [...] The Upper Tribunal noted that Sprakab did not claim to be infallible.” [para 3.9]

 

However the judgement also notes that 

 

"the Upper Tribunal did not have the benefit of oral evidence from experts critical of Sprakab’s methods. That was another reason for caution." [para 47]

 

There then follows an interesting discussion of the current legal guidelines for LADO analysis and a call for review of those guidelines. There is some legal nicety about not wishing to pre-judge the review but in essence the Supreme Court asks for two main changes to the guidance:  

 

Of particular importance is the advice that the "safeguard requiring the Secretary of State to make the recording available to any expert instructed for the claimant is not only sensible, but essential." [para 51.I.c]

 

and also that

 

"Sprakab reporters should limit themselves to identifying [..] lack of [regional] knowledge, rather than offering opinions on the general question of whether the claimant speaks convincingly. (It is not the function of an expert in language use to offer an opinion on general credibility)." [para 51.III.b]

 

An interesting and important judgement – watch this space…

 

------Addition to original post--------

 

Prof Peter Patrick who has worked hard in this area for a number of years wrote on the topic to the forensic-linguistics@jiscmail.ac.uk email list.  He's kindly given his permission so that I can add  the contents of that email to this post:

 

 

 

Last week the UK Supreme court handed down a judgement (SSHD v MN & KY [2014] UKSC30) concerning the use of linguistic evidence – in the form of commercial language analysis reports (LADO, seehttp://www.essex.ac.uk/larg/) – in UK asylum tribunals. The Home Office had appealed a decision by the Scottish appeals courts, which I reported here last year (having been linguistic consultant to the asylum seekers’ legal team). In last week’s decision, the Home Office, hence the UK Border Agency, lost their appeal.

 

The unanimous decision sends tribunals back to the drawing board to reconsider the basis for linguistic evidence in asylum cases. The previous standard was RB (Linguistic evidence – Sprakab) Somalia [2010] UKUT 329 (IAC), upheld by the Appeals Court in 2012; the Supreme Court decided RB had been “unduly prescriptive and potentially misleading”, both in recommending that language reports from Sprakab (the Swedish commercial firm which has been the UKBA’s provider in recent years) should automatically receive considerable weight, and in removing the onus from individual cases to determine whether the anonymity Sprakab analysts routinely enjoy – unlike most forensic linguistic witnesses – is justified. The Court cited the Guidelines for the Use of Language Analysis in relation to Questions of National Origin in Refugee Cases (Language & National Origin Group, published 2004 in IJSLL) in their judgement.

In the particular cases decided, the Court further observed that Sprakab’s “comments on knowledge of country and culture were inadequately supported by any demonstrated expertise of the authors”, and “went beyond the proper role of” an expert witness, who “should never act or appear to act as advocates”.

 

It seems likely that the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration & Asylum Chamber will choose a case soon in which to revisit the “evidence both for and against Sprakab’s methodology”. Pointers given by the Court include that “expertise [must be] properly demonstrated and… reasoning adequately explained”, which one might think could hardly be disagreed with. In fact, they said Sprakab’s reasoning “can be better explained and not (as it often currently seems to be) left implicit”, perhaps raising the bar of linguistic argumentation.

 

Also of interest to this list, the Court commented on Sprakab’s occasional practice of evaluating the credibility of asylum seekers based on their interview speech. Such observations have been made on the basis of unmeasured pauses or alleged hesitations, shortness of answers, etc. The Court said that an “observation that KY’s knowledge ‘sounds rehearsed for the occasion’ reads as that of an advocate rather than an independent expert witness, and was wholly inappropriate even if the relevant expertise had been established”. Sprakab’s linguist frequently submit as part of their qualifications that they have attended or spoken at IAFPA or IAFL meetings; perhaps future attendance will allow them to improve their understanding of linguistic forensic practices and standards.

 

I have made arguments similar to those in the Court’s judgement in submissions in over 60 cases since 2008, and have been criticized on occasion by colleagues as “biased” for continuing to do so. It is gratifying to see them upheld by the highest court in the land. I look forward to better use of linguistic expertise and fairer asylum decisions in the wake of this judgement.

 

Citation and Links:

Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant) vs MN and KY (Respondents) (Scotland) [2014] UKSC 30, given on 21 May 2014, case heard on 5-6 March 2014.

http://www.supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2013_0202_Judgment.pdf

 

Language & Asylum Research Group (LARG) http://www.essex.ac.uk/larg/

 

 

Prof Peter L Patrick

Dept of Language and Linguistics

University of Essex

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Appropriate terminology / Crimes against children / Crime areas / Internet / Home - INTERPOL

Appropriate terminology / Crimes against children / Crime areas / Internet / Home - INTERPOL | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
Interpol official site - International Criminal Police Organization - ICPO - Rapid access to official, controlled information.

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Top 100 Language Professional Blogs 2014 - Voting

Top 100 Language Professional Blogs 2014 - Voting | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
Vote for the best language professional blogs! (Click http://t.co/GAXV4yNYNW and vote for the unique public #terminology website of the #EU Institutions: TermCoord!

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TermCoord in an Open Day for Europe

TermCoord in an Open Day for Europe | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
On the occasion of Europe Day, on three different dates it was possible for the general public to visit the EU institutions in Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Brussels. On 17 May in Brussels the European Parliament opened up its doors and offered the opportunity for visitors to participate in a debate with MEPs about European elections, to visit the Chamber of the Parliament and to meet the political groups and the directorate-generals at their stands, to learn about their work, to have discussions and to participate in games and other interactive activities.
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Content is king and terminology is the queen

Content is king and terminology is the queen | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
I’m writing this post still inebriated by the enthusiasm of the lesson I gave yesterday at the University of Luxembourg in the frame of the Master in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts together with the team of TermCoord participating with a 20 hours module on terminology. I experienced the pleasure of being …
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Cloud Jargon: Getting a Handle on New Terminology - Channel Partners

Cloud Jargon: Getting a Handle on New Terminology - Channel Partners | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
Cloud Jargon: Getting a Handle on New Terminology Channel Partners If a dictionary existed for cloud terms, the number of definitions would be growing daily as new acronyms and terms are constantly being added.
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An Introduction to Medical Terminology for Health Care: A Self-Teaching Package By (author) Andrew Hutton - Germany Online Bookstore

An Introduction to Medical Terminology for Health Care: A Self-Teaching Package By (author) Andrew Hutton - Germany Online Bookstore | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
An Introduction to Medical Terminology for Health Care: A Self-Teaching Package By (author) Andrew Hutton - Free worldwide shipping of 6 million discounted books by Germany Online Bookstore (#Germany #Books #Deal An Introduction to Medical Terminology...
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IATE, 10 Years Together for European Terminology

IATE, 10 Years Together for European Terminology | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
IATE, the interinstitutional interactive terminology database of the EU turns 10 years in 2014. Discover it by reading this article and seeing this timeline
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How to Translate Social Media

How to Translate Social Media | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
Translating material about social media is a lot of fun, but also a challenging task. The translator's work is to provide the users the same fun experience that they could have if they were using the social media networks in English.

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TermCoord On Wikipedia

TermCoord On Wikipedia | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
From now on you can read about the Terminology Coordination Unit (TermCoord) of the European Parliament at Wikipedia.org!
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IATE Term of the Week: President of the (EU) Commission

IATE Term of the Week: President of the (EU) Commission | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
On the occasion of the European Parliament elections, the IATE Term of the Week is the President of the Commission. Since the Lisbon Treaty (2009) entered into force, the powers of the European Parliament are more extensive than ever.
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The Translator's Dream | Full Stop

The Translator's Dream | Full Stop | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
This translator goes to parties and tells fashionable ladies he's translating Homer. (Picture the salon scenes in War and Peace, crossed somehow with the uncanny modern hollowness of a Robbe-Grillet soirée.) This translator ...

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Indeterminacy in Terminology and LSP

Indeterminacy in Terminology and LSP | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
This book deals with the oft-neglected tensions between perspicuity and fuzziness in specialised communication. It describes the manifestations, functions and implications of indeterminacy phenomena in a range of LSP specialisations where it has been customary to expect precision and consistency. The volume presents case studies and methodological frameworks that draw on theoretical, anthropological and cognitive linguistics, safety-critical translating, history and theory of terminology studies, development of ontologies, software localisation, jurisprudence, macroeconomics and interoperability of digital knowledge representation resources. With chapters by leading scholars drawn from eleven countries, this book contributes to the benchmarking of indeterminacy scholarship in LSP studies and is a fitting tribute to its dedicatee, Professor Heribert Picht who, even in retirement, remains a constant presence in LSP and terminology studies. The book should be of interest to scholars of the aforementioned areas.

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Starting out as a freelance translator

Starting out as a freelance translator | terminology and translation | Scoop.it

Key advice for translators starting out on a freelance career


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Lucy Brooks's curator insight, May 23, 2014 3:15 PM
If you are new to the translation and interpreting profession, have a look at this page where you will find many items of interest to get your career off on the right foot.
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Resources for translators: DGT TM AutoSuggest Dictionaries

Resources for translators: DGT TM AutoSuggest Dictionaries | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
Since 2004 the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation has made its multilingual Translation Memory for the Acquis Communautaire (DGT TM) publicly accessible in order to foster th...

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Dai futuri chef un dizionario sardo-inglese

Dai futuri chef un dizionario sardo-inglese | terminology and translation | Scoop.it

Il sardo come l’inglese, dunque, per arricchire ulteriormente il dibattito sul tema sempre attuale del plurilinguismo «che rappresenta - come ha fatto notare il rettore Mastino, citando il compianto Giovanni Lilliu - l’unica strada percorribile per realizzare una comunicazione che non sia univoca».


Al riguardo va rimarcato il fatto che nel volume non c’è un termine in italiano e questo di per sé è un elemento di novità. Tra le sezioni che compongono il volume merita una citazione speciale quella intitolata “A giru in sa tzidade mea/around my town” in cui si ritrovano, tradotti in inglese direttamente dal sardo, immagini e didascalie relative ai fatti più importanti, una mini storia di Sassari raccontata in pillole che rievoca vicende e feste, ma anche personaggi storici noti.


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IATE Term of the Week – exit poll

IATE Term of the Week – exit poll | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
An election exit poll is a poll of voters taken immediately after they have exited the polling stations.
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Top 100 Language Professional Blogs 2014 - Voting

Top 100 Language Professional Blogs 2014 - Voting | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
Vote for the best language professional blogs! (Click http://t.co/GAXV4yNYNW and vote for the unique public #terminology website of the #EU Institutions: TermCoord!
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Workshop: Solving terminology problems more qui...

Workshop: Solving terminology problems more qui... | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
"IntelliWebSearch is a sophisticated free-standing macro that semi-automates the terminology search process so your task can be completed more rapidly and effortlessly in the interest of your sanity." (IntelliWebSearch workshop at METM14 | #translation...
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Vote for TermCoord – Vote for European Terminology!

Vote for TermCoord – Vote for European Terminology! | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
The Top 100 Language Lovers 2014 competition hosted by bab.la language portal and Lexiophiles language blog has started, and our language professional blog “TermCoord” has been nominated.
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Is English really the international language?

Is English really the international language? | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
Today, the English language has certainly reached a global level. Wherever in the world you travel, especially to popular tourist locations, it is almost expected that the locals can understand you. For many, English has become a natural second language, yet how far can it be said that it has become the 'international mother tongue'?
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Changes in the translation industry: interview with Paul Sulzberger

Changes in the translation industry: interview with Paul Sulzberger | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
How has the translation industry changed over the last few decades? What is the biggest challenge facing translators today? And what does the future look like for translators? I was delighted to be...

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TermCoord – Terminology Coordination Unit Home Page

TermCoord – Terminology Coordination Unit Home Page | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
TermCoord, Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. Resources, Traineeships, Glossaries, Articles about Terminology.
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TermCoord On Wikipedia

TermCoord On Wikipedia | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
From now on you can read about the Terminology Coordination Unit (TermCoord) of the European Parliament at Wikipedia.org!
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Translating Between Cultures | When SEO and translation work hand in hand | BeTranslated Blog

Translating Between Cultures | When SEO and translation work hand in hand | BeTranslated Blog | terminology and translation | Scoop.it
Languages and SEO work hand in hand. Check BeTranslated if you want to target a wider audience

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