From Cultural Translation to Clinical Consultation

Working between Languages, Working between Disciplines


  • Anna-Louise Milne University of London


Cultural Translation, ethnopsychiatry, migration, transculturality, translation pedagogy


This article discusses the findings of a translation “workshop” run at intervals between 2011-2015, which brought together a) students of a liberal arts graduate program in Cultural Translation and b) recently arrived asylum seekers in Paris. The evolution of these workshops prompted the decision to explore the field of transcultural psychiatry and clinical practice as it has developed from its inception at the Hôpital Avicenne in Paris, where it continues to be developed and taught under the direction of Professor Marie Rose Moro. The aim of the collaboration was to support and theorize the inclusion of a marginalized, potentially traumatized and multilingual public within the frame of the liberal arts classroom. Reviewing, first, the reasons for reaching beyond the discipline of translation studies to that of psychiatry and psychotherapy, this article will explore this “case” of interdisciplinary practice through a comparative analysis of the group dynamics operating in the translation workshop, on the one hand, and in the teaching and clinical environment on the other. It examines the different modes of production for discursive acts in the two contexts—situating, first, the processes of positioning within each of these multilingual groups, in order, second, to foreground the relative importance accorded to textual productions versus oral enunciation. This difference offers a useful magnifier for understanding the conceptions of subjectivation at work in the respective approaches to multilingual transcultural communication.