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language, Crisis, and development

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Languages of Hong Kong's International Aid

Principal Investigator of a research impact project to look at the linguistic opportunities and challenges of Hong Kong's international relief aid. As a result, the study aims to raise awareness within Hong Kong’s relief and development sector of the role of languages and translation and to discuss actions that could be undertaken to address some of the challenges identified. In the long term, the study aims to initiate concrete policy changes in these organizations in terms of translation and language use in order to provide more equitable and more inclusive aid to local beneficiaries in disaster affected countries. 


2022-2023 HKBU Arts Faculty Research Impact Grants, PI

2024-2025 RGC General Research Fund, PI

Dandelion Meadow

Translation for Sustainable Development

One aspect of development that has received a general consensus is that the language used has power over how development is conceptualized, which in turn directs actions. However, translation has so far rarely been considered as crucial to development work. In a sector that would be unable to operate without translation and despite the interest in the role that language plays in development, the first attempt to connect translation studies with development studies has only been made within the past decade.

Orange Blossom


Climate change is the single most important issue facing humanity today and no area of human enquiry, including translation, has remained unaffected by its consequences. The last decade has witnessed a considerable growth of interest in the area of translation research broadly defined as ‘Eco-translation’. Scholars working in this area are to be found across the globe working in a wide variety of disciplines ranging from comparative literature and environmental history to computational science and philosophy.


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 In the context of Hong Kong relief organizations, communication with local crises-affected communities happens through an intermediary partner. This study will investigate translation practices of Hong Kong-based humanitarian organisations when providing crisis relief aid to local communities affected by disasters around the world. 

Todorova, Marija. 2023. "The Languages of Hong Kong’s International Crisis Relief Response.” In Christophe Declercq & Koen Kerremans (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Translation, Interpreting and CrisesRoutledge.

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 This special issue will be open to research on translation practices in development-related settings in terms of both the underlying ‘western’-centric conceptual assumptions and global development trends, but we want to move the debate further and focus on topics that have not been tackled as much. 

Todorova, Marija and Kobus Marais (eds.) 2022. Linguistica Antverpiensia Special Issue on Translation and Inclusive Development


This chapter interrogates the translated language used in development aid in terms of its underlying Anglocentric conceptual assumptions as well as in terms of its discursive products. It argues that this export of jargon-specific language has impeded the mission of developmental aid, and it provides a case study to support these arguments.

Todorova Marija and Kathleen Ahrens. 2020. "Translation and Development." In Ji, Meng and Sara Laviosa (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Translation and Social Practices. Oxford University Press.

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Rapidly unfolding crises such as natural disasters, public health emergencies, and conflicts have underscored the critical importance of effective communication in emergency response. This research delves into the sociological aspects of emergency translation and interpreting, identifying the vital roles played by language professionals. 

Todorova, Marija. 2024. "Translation and Emergencies.” In Sergey Tyulenev & Wenyan Luo (eds.) Routledge Handbook on Translation and Sociology. Routledge.

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With environmental factors and issues increasingly becoming sources of risk there is an increased need to consider the role of translation practices involved in environmental protection. Language is becoming more widely perceived as a tool to manage environmental risk. This article analyses the role translation plays in environmental protection activities by focusing on the translation practices of environmental civil society organisations (CSOs) in North Macedonia.

Todorova, Marija. 2022. "The role of translation in environmental protection: an inclusive approach." The Translator 28(4), 415-428.

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The research supports the thesis that the overwhelming public perception of civil society in the countries of Southeast Europe (SEE), as non-homegrown and imposed from abroad, has to do not with their lack of historical precedence in the region but with the fact that its transitional political discourse was one of translation. 

Todorova, Marija. 2018. "Civil Society in Translation: Innovations to Political Discourse in Postcommunist East-Central Europe." The Translator 24(4), 353-366.

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