How can the Maltese language be used in a more inclusive way? Is what we write accessible to all? Are we, unwittingly, excluding groups of people in the way we write and present our material? How can we create material that can be understood and enjoyed by more people?
These questions will be addressed in the conference Niktbu għal kulħadd: il-kitba inklużiva u l-kontenut aċċessibbli f’Malta (Inclusive language and accessible content: the state of play in Malta) taking place at the University of Malta Valletta campus on December 2, 2023.
The conference will feature local and international experts who will discuss ways in which language can be a vehicle for inclusion and equality. Prof. Jorge Díaz Cintas is a worldwide authority on accessibility and sensitive content in the media, and is regarded as a pioneer in the field of audiovisual translation. He will be delivering the keynote speech on sensitive content in the media.
European Commissioner for Equality Dr Helena Dalli, who is tasked with strengthening Europe’s commitment towards equality and inclusion in all their senses, including through language, will be delivering the opening address on the topic.
Commenting ahead of the conference, Dr Dalli said: “Next year, we will celebrate 20 years of Maltese as an official EU language. This status is of critical significance as it permits access to EU institutions and ensures that all Maltese persons can voice their concerns and receive information in their own language. The EU institutions are committed to make information accessible to all, in all official languages, breaking down barriers. We strive to reach everyone with clear and accessible language and through different means, recognising the unique characteristics of each language. I thank all those who contribute to the translation of texts and simultaneous interpretation to Maltese for the great service rendered to the Maltese nation, including the development of the language itself.”
The local context will not be lacking. Dr Giselle Spiteri Miggiani from the Department of Translation, Terminology and Interpreting studies, who introduced the stream of audiovisual translation locally, will be presenting the work being done in Malta to make cultural works accessible to a wider audience.
“Language and translation are also a means to make audiovisual content and visual and performing arts accessible on a linguistic and cultural level, as well as on a sensory level, to include persons with visual and aural impairment, thus fostering inclusion in a wider sense,” Dr Spiteri Miggiani, one of the conference organisers, said.
Romario Sciberras from the Department of Maltese will be sharing his ongoing research on gender-inclusive language in Maltese, addressing the challenges and possible alternatives the Maltese language offers.
“We will be looking at ways in which Maltese, which has always kept up with the times, offers us language to speak about realities which are new or which we didn’t want to acknowledge in the past,” Prof. Adrian Grima, the head of the Maltese Department at the University of Malta, said.
“But we will also be looking at ways in which we can consciously use what is already in Maltese and what we can introduce into Maltese to create new language that reflects everybody’s voice. Which is to say, reflects the different experiences – all of them important – of the communities and individuals who use Maltese and will start to use Maltese.”
“When we strive to make our language as inclusive as possible, we draw from the deep well of an old language that is constantly replenished with fresh water,” he concluded.
This activity is part of the Translating Europe Workshop series organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation (DGT) across the European Union, and is being organised in conjunction with the Department of Maltese and the Department of Translation, Terminology and Interpretation Studies at the University of Malta. The presentations will be livestreamed and interpretation into English and Maltese sign language will be available for onsite participants upon request.
Participants will also have the opportunity to put ideas into practice through hands-on workshops on inclusive language and clear writing. The latter builds on DGT’s work on clear writing, which is a simple and effective way of helping people understand and exercise their rights as EU citizens.
“Language is a living expression of a nation’s identity. It has the power to divide and unite, to hurt and to heal, and it is therefore essential to examine the way in which we use and present language if we truly want to live in a fairer and more inclusive society,” David Schembri, the DGT representative in Malta and main conference organiser said.
“In this conference we hope to take stock the global and local situation in this area, and to learn more about the challenges and alternatives in considering everyone in the content we produce for the public. We won’t always have clear or easy solutions, but it is important that we start by asking the right questions,” he concluded.
The full conference programme is available in the following link: programme
Registration, which is free, can be done through the following link: registration
Where: Aula Magna, University of Malta Valletta Campus
When and what time: 2 December 2023, 09:00
What: European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli opens the conference Niktbu għal kulħadd: il-lingwa inklużiva u l-kontenut aċċessibbli f’Malta (EN title: Inclusive language and accessible content: the state of play in Malta) with an address on the topic
Organisers: The European Commission Representation in Malta together with the Maltese Department and the Department of Translation, Terminology and Interpreting Studies at the University of Malta
Contact person: david [dot] schembriec [dot] europa [dot] eu (David SCHEMBRI) (+356 2342 5207)
- Publication date
- 29 November 2023
- Representation in Malta