The Linguist

The Linguist 58,2-June/July 2019

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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8 The Linguist Vol/58 No/2 2019 FEATURES Many predators also use abbreviations. 'LMIR' means 'let's meet in real life' and is usually sent following an online grooming process designed to get the child or young person to trust the predator. Part of this process often involves admiring the victim's body online, with ever-increasing requests for explicit videos that culminate in the abbreviation 'NIFOC' – a request that the child should be 'naked in front of the camera'. A message from the victim containing 'PIR' warns the predator that there is a 'parent in the room', indicating that it is not a good time to talk or broadcast from a phone or webcam. Obviously, 'PIR' doesn't apply where the abuser is a parent, close relative or family friend, as is sometimes the case. Another abbreviation, which leaves no doubt as to the predator's true intentions, is 'CU46', meaning 'see you for sex'. Of course, text speak doesn't always transfer easily from one language to another. In French we have ASV, meaning Age, Sexe, Ville ('Age, Sex, Town') and tabitou (tu habites ou?/'where do you live?') Paedophiles signing off with bizh for 'kiss' (rather than bise or bisous) are likely to live in, or at least have links with, Brittany (Breizh is Breton for 'Brittany'). New emojis and abbreviations are being developed constantly both by predators and by the children and young people they target. Predators will need to be as fluent in these new 'languages' as their victims, so they can interact with them online without raising suspicion, which is why many have online profiles that suggest they are a similar age to their targets. Likewise, language professionals need to be au fait not only with these types of coded messages but also with IT terminology in this field, for example 'live-streaming' and 'default settings', as well as slang such as 'subs' ('subscribers'). We need to comprehend relevant concepts such as grooming, which refers to the process whereby the perpetrator befriends a target with the aim of gaining their trust. Rather than doing CPD in chat rooms and on the dark net, which could cause additional trauma, we can obtain up-to-date information from publications produced by charities and others working in the field. The language used by predators in their messages is rarely age-appropriate as far as the victim is concerned, and aims to desensitise the child to the proposed sexual exploitation. Over time, initial resistance from DEVIOUS COMMUNICATION Predators use emojis and abbreviations to give the impression they are the same age as their victims Child abusers are using a whole new language online, says Sue Leschen, who considers the difficulties for interpreters C hild Sexual Exploitation (CSE) cases have created a sharp new learning curve for many language professionals working in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) as transcribers, translators and interpreters. In order to work effectively in this area together with other professionals, we have had to learn several new 'languages'. Some of these new 'languages' come in the shape of emojis, which are commonly used by sexual predators as a sort of shorthand in the texts and WhatsApp messages they send to the children and young people they are communicating with. At first sight these emojis may appear to be harmless, but within the context of sexual exploitation they can have much more sinister meanings. An emoji of a hand may denote 'masturbation', a camera is often a predator's request for the child to send nude photos, and a devil emoji might indicate that the predator is feeling 'horny'. Each set of communications is unique to that encounter and each emoji has to be understood in that context. 'Horny' emojis may pose translation headaches, as such words can be difficult to convey in the other language. Register is all important here, and rather than equivalents such as 'aroused', we look for less formal terms – excité in French, for example. GROOMINGwords

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