TRAINING LANGUAGE AND CULTURE MEDIATION SKILLS IN LEGAL DOMAIN: TRANSFERRING DISCIPLINES WITHIN THE LAW SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
The topic of language and culture mediation involves different definitions, concepts and historical developments in various countries. Comparative study on language and culture mediation in Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy has revealed that this practice is in great demand though the phenomenon has been subject to little research so far . Moreover the practice mostly concerns the healthcare area though the language and culture mediation in the legal domain seems not to be of less importance.
The Russian practice in this field refers to the State-approved vocational training program on Mediation , the program mostly focuses on alternative dispute resolution techniques.
Nevertheless it has to be acknowledged that mediation is a complex cross disciplinary phenomenon that is the subject to research in different paradigms including cultural psychology, hermeneutics, law, linguistics, cultural anthropology, foreign languages training .
The European Universities practice reveals that language and culture mediation skills training is included in in-house social workers, translators and interpreters’ training . Meanwhile researchers underline that language mediation phenomenon has to be analysed taking into account different professional and institutional settings .
Our experience in teaching foreign languages at Peoples’ Friendship University Law School (PFUR, Moscow, Russia) has proved that training language and culture mediation skills in a specific domain is of current importance for future professional development as such graduates are supposed to be qualified and competent enough to work in a multicultural legal environment. The teaching practice and students’ interviews revealed that learning foreign language for specific (legal) purposes (LSP) was not enough to collaborate effectively both with peers and clients across cultures.
So, the foreign languages department of the PFUR law school has conducted the experimental training of law school students with the view to develop students’ language and culture mediation skills in the legal domain.
The report includes the experiment description and the comments on its results. The experiment has proved the importance of the training interdisciplinary nature. The training has got positive feedback from the students involved. Such a training requires restructuring the current legal training curriculum, transferring disciplines within the law school curriculum, changing the foreign language learning content, revising the list of competences that previously were related to cross cultural communication skills in the legal field.
 Comparative Study on Language and Culture Mediation in different European countries. – URL: http://www.transkom.info/pdf/transkom_en.pdf
 Vocational Training program on Mediation (Approved by the Russian Ministry of Education). – URL: http://www.mediacia.com/educationandsert.htm
 Zarate G., Gohard-Radenkovic A. , Lussier D., Penz H. Cultural mediation in language learning and teaching (2004). - European Centre for Modern Languages. – Council of Europe, Kapfenberg. – 251 p.
 Garzone G., Rudvin M.(2003) Domain-specific English and language mediation in professional and institutional settings. – Arcipelago, 199 p.