Book cover of the book Translation as Social Justice: Translation Policies and Practices in Non-Governmental Organisations

This book analyses the translation policies and practices of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), engaging in critical questions around the ways in which translation can redress power dynamics between INGOs and the people they work with, and the role of activist researchers in contributing to these debates.

The volume examines the duality of translation and interpreting in INGOs, traditionally undervalued and under-resourced while simultaneously acknowledged as a powerful tool in ensuring these organisations work according to their own values of equal access to information, dialogue, and political representation. 

This book was published in 2022 in Routledge’s New Perspectives in Translation and Interpreting Studies series. More here.

This book addresses, for the first time, the question of how development NGOs attempt to ‘listen’ to communities in linguistically diverse environments. NGOs are under increasing pressure to demonstrate that they ‘listen’ to the people and communities that they are trying to serve, but this can be an immensely challenging task where there are significant language and cultural differences. However, until now, there has been no systematic study of the role of foreign languages in development work. The book presents findings based on interviews with a wide range of NGO staff and government officials, NGO archives, and Southern NGOs in Malawi, Peru and Kyrgyzstan. It suggests ways in which NGOs can reform their language policies to listen to the recipients of aid more effectively.

This book was published in 2020 by Palgrave MacMillan. More here.

  • Decolonising NGO language
  • Plain language principles
  • Using Machine Translation ethically and responsibly
  • How to work with interpreters
  • And more!
GOAL learning brief

A case study on translation and cultural adaptation in GOAL’s information campaigns’. Dublin: GOAL HQ.

Picture of report
Research report Listening Zones project
Webinar for University of Cardiff

Title: 'Linguistic inclusion in international NGOs: Multilingual challenges and informal translators'. February 2021

Webinar for Accountable Now

Title: 'Language and multiculturalism: improving communication to advance Dynamic Accountability'.
With Dr Angela Crack, April 2019

'Language and sustainable development' Webinar

Tite: 'Translation as empowerment: Language, sustainable development, and academic-NGO collaboration'. With Dr Enida Friel, June 2021.

More info on webinar series here.

other publications

Book chapters

  • Wine Tesseur (2022) Linguistic Hospitality and Listening through Interpreters: Critical Reflections and Recommendations on Linguistic Power Relationships in Multilingual Research. In: Prue Holmes, Judith Reynolds, and Sara Ganassin (eds). The Politics of Researching Multilingually. pp. 31-48. Multilingual Matters. Author accepted manuscript.
  • Wine Tesseur (2021) NGOs, media and translation. In: Esperança Bielsa (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Media. pp. 474-489. Routledge. Author accepted manuscript.
  • Wine Tesseur (2021) NGOs and translation. In: Yves Gambier & Luc van Doorslaer (eds) The Handbook of Translation Studies, Vol. 5. pp. 165-169. John Benjamins. Author accepted manuscript.
  • Wine Tesseur (2020) ‘Listening, languages and the nature of knowledge and evidence: what we can learn from investigating ‘listening’ in NGOs’. In: Robert Gibb, Annabel Tremlett, and Julien Danero Iglesias (eds), Learning and Using Languages in Ethnographic Research. Multilingual Matters. Author accepted manuscript.2022

Edited special journal issues

Translating and Interpreting in Danger Zones
Special issue of the Journal of War and Culture Studies 12: 3 (2019)
Guest editor – Wine Tesseur | Introduction: Author accepted manuscript

Translation and Interpreting in Non-Governmental Organisations
Special issue of Translation Spaces 7:1 (2018)
Guest editor – Wine Tesseur
 Introduction: Researching translation and interpreting in Non-Governmental Organisations | pp. 1–19 | Author accepted manuscript

Doctoral dissertation

Wine Tesseur (2015) ‘Transformation through translation: translation policies at Amnesty International’, PhD in Translation Studies, Aston University, Birmingham. Open access through Aston University.

Journal articles

  • Wine Tesseur, Sharon O’Brien, Enida Friel (2022) Language diversity and inclusion in humanitarian organisations: Mapping an NGO’s language capacity and identifying linguistic challenges and solutions. Linguistica Antverpiensia 21. Article accessible on Open Access here.
  • Wine Tesseur (2022) Translation as inclusion? An analysis of international NGOs’ translation policy documents. Language Problems and Language Planning 45(3): 261–283. Article accessible on Open Access here.
  • Wine Tesseur & Angela Crack (2020) ‘These are all outside words’: Translating development discourse in NGOs’ projects in Kyrgyzstan and Malawi. In: Carmen Delgado Luchner (ed.). Translation and Development. Special issue of Journal for Translation Studies in Africa 1: 25-42. Article accessible on Open Access:
  • Wine Tesseur (2020) ‘Local capacity building after crisis: the role of languages and translation in the work of development NGOs in Kyrgyzstan’. In: Sharon O’Brien & Federico Federici (eds). Translation in Cascading Crises. Special issue of Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal 29 (2): 214-226. Author accepted manuscript.
  • Wine Tesseur & Hilary Footitt (2019) ‘Professionalisms at war? Interpreting in conflict and post-conflict situations’. In: Wine Tesseur (ed.). Translating in Danger Zones. Special issue of Journal of War and Culture Studies 12 (3). Author accepted manuscript.
  • Wine Tesseur (2019) ‘Communication Is Aid — But Only if Delivered in the Right Language: An Interview with Translators without Borders on Its Work in Danger Zones’. In: Wine Tesseur (ed.). Translating in Danger Zones. Special issue of Journal of War and Culture Studies 12 (3). Author accepted manuscript.
  • Wine Tesseur (2017) ‘The translation challenges of international NGOs: Professional and non-professional translation at Amnesty International’. Translation Spaces 6(2): 209-229. Author accepted manuscript.
  • Wine Tesseur (2017) ‘Incorporating translation into sociolinguistic research: translation policy in an international non-governmental organisation’. Journal of Sociolinguistics 21(5): 629–649. Author accepted manuscript.
  • Wine Tesseur (2014) ‘Institutional Multilingualism in NGOs: Amnesty International’s Strategic Understanding of Multilingualism’. In: Traduction et plurilinguisme officiel / Translation and Official Multilingualism. Special issue of META 59(3): 557-577. Article accessible Open Access:
  • Christina Schaeffner, Sabina Luciana Tcaciuc & Wine Tesseur (2014) ‘Translation practices in political institutions: A comparison of national, supranational, and non-governmental organisations’. In: Translation in Institutions. Special issue of Perspectives 22(4): 493-510. Author accepted manuscript.
  • Anthony Pym, Gabriel González Núñez, Marta Miquel-Iriarte, Sara Ramos Pinto, Carlos S.C. Teixeira & Wine Tesseur (2014) ‘Work Placements in Doctoral Research Training in the Humanities: Eight Cases from Translation Studies’. Across Languages and Cultures 15(1): 1–23. Author accepted manuscript.
  • Wine Tesseur (2013) ‘Amnesty International’s language strategy put into practice: a case study of the translation of press releases’. In G. González Núñez, Y. Khaled & T. Voinova (eds), Emerging Research in Translation Studies: Selected Papers of the CETRA Research Summer School 2012. Leuven: CETRA. Article accessible open access: