Multilingualism and Translanguaging in Migration Studies: Some Methodological Reflections


  • Tetiana Havlin University of Siegen



migration studies, multilingualism, translanguaging, linguistic biography, researcher positionality, qualitative research, interview method, data processing, interpretation, Russian-speaking immigrants


Research in the field of international migration engage a multilingual frame. Multilingualism raises a question of knowledge and meaning transferability in diverse linguistic and cultural contexts. Migration studies focusing on the transnational settings require a reflective use of languages while confronting methodological challenges at all research stages. This notion is especially valid in the case of qualitative research oriented to capturing meaning which can be lost in translation. As the first objective, in this article I reflect on language use in the research conduct in general and in migration studies in particular. I address a set of methodological challenges connected to multilingualism during data gathering, processing, and interpretation. The second objective is to approach translanguaging as one of the features of multilingual practices and as an epiphenomenon of immigration and transnationalism. I rely on a research project on immigrant agency of immigrants from the former Soviet Union (FSU), arriving in Germany between 1990-2005. I exemplify how multilingualism can be utilized in empirical research, and how translanguaging helps to understand cross-cultural experiences.


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Author Biography

Tetiana Havlin, University of Siegen

Tetiana HAVLIN is a lecturer and a post-doctoral follow at the University of Siegen. Additionally, she is assistant professor (adjunct) at the University of Maryland College Europe. Currently her research, writing, and teaching are devoted to migration studies (the habilitation project "Immigrant agency: A Case of Russian-Speaking Immigrants and Citizens in Germany") and European studies (the EU-funded project "Doing Europe: Social Cohesion and Integration in the EU"). She obtained her bachelor and master degrees from Mechnikov Odessa National University and her PhD degree from Karazin Kharkov National University in Ukraine.




How to Cite

Havlin, T. (2022). Multilingualism and Translanguaging in Migration Studies: Some Methodological Reflections. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 23(1).



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