LINGUA (Federal Office for Migration – FOM), Switzerland

LINGUA is the unit within the Swiss Federal Office for Migration (FOM) that is in charge of producing scientific linguistic and socio-cultural analyses for asylum seekers and other foreigners whose allegations concerning their origin are doubtful. LINGUA analyses aim to give more information on a person's country, region and/or milieu of socialisation on the basis of an interview that is conducted exclusively for this purpose. The analyses are written by external experts, i.e. linguists who are not only specialized in the different languages but who also have a first-hand experience in the country, region and/or milieu under scrutiny. In order to ensure that the interview contains information and linguistic data relevant for the ensuing analysis, LINGUA developed the so-called «direct analysis»: whenever possible, the experts who will write the analysis will also conduct the interview. A research project by an external research team on this very specific kind of interview has just been concluded and the results of the research will be presented for the first time at this workshop.

LINGUA exists since 1997. Initially composed of two people it currently comprises a staff of 10 people. Recently, LINGUA has expanded its activity and is now also in charge of controlling the quality of interpreters working for the FOM and testing the competence of people who apply for a job as interpreter at the FOM. This new task has led to the development of a test that all new interpreters must pass before being employed by the FOM. Currently, LINGUA is refining the test procedure and tries to define and implement the quality standards that must be fulfilled by all interpreters working for the FOM.

Ultima modifica 24.11.2009

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