Language barriers and multilingualism in sexual and reproductive healthcare. A linguistic ethnography of a Belgian abortion clinic

Start - End 
2019 - 2023 (ongoing)
Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication
Research Focus 
Additional tags 
Linguistic ethnography
Language policy
public service interpreting
sexual and reproductive health
Non-professional interpreting



This PhD project comprises a linguistic ethnographic study of an abortion clinic in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. The aim is to obtain insights into the various ways multilingualism and language barriers come into play in this particular setting. In doing so, it looks at the use of (non-professional) interpreters and their performances during abortion consultations, and the use of other strategies (e.g. Google Translate, multilingual websites, linguae francae), while also taking into account institutional language policies, discourses, translation practices, and viewpoints on linguistic diversity. The project seeks to gain understanding of the discursive and interactional nature of multilingual abortion consultations, as well as to examine the various ways in which language in the clinic is connected with access to information and services.



Phd Student(s)