Open Panel: Digital Approaches to Translational Epistemologies

An international conference hosted by the
Centre for Translation and the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies,
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

In collaboration with the
Genealogies of Knowledge Project, University of Manchester, UK

7-9 April 2020



Digital Approaches to Translational Epistemologies: Themes, Methods and Case Studies

Convenor: James St. André, Chinese University of Hong Kong

This panel brings together researchers working at the intersection of translation studies and digital humanities to reflect upon recent developments in digital humanities (including both challenges and strengths), propose new ways forward, and share best practice through the discussion of particular case studies.

The unprecedented mass digitization of historical material, combined with the increasingly digitized nature of all new forms of cultural production, has spurred the development of new tools and techniques to come to terms with ‘big data’ in the humanities and social sciences. The size, growth and often unstructured nature of big data pose a sharp challenge to the tradition of close reading and detailed analysis of individual texts, yet also open up exciting new possibilities for the way in which we conduct research and the types of questions that we ask. This panel asks, in particular, how big data opens up new horizons for the interdisciplinary study of translational, transnational, and transdisciplinary epistemologies.

We welcome panel contributions, including case studies and research prompting methodological reflection and innovation, on a wide range of themes, including but not limited to the following:

  • The use of computational techniques to study conceptual change over time
  • Corpus-based insights into the production, circulation and negotiation of values and concepts in past and present times
  • The use of visualization tools to map and reveal changes in the historical evolution of networks of interconnected concepts
  • The use of quantitative textual analysis in multilingual datasets involving the transfer of concepts between cultures, or demonstrating how disparate cultures may share concepts
  • Obstacles to the extraction of concepts from large textual datasets, and/or new tools and techniques to overcome those obstacles
  • The implications of computational techniques for our theoretical understanding of conceptual change through translation
  • How well do digital humanities tools serve minor languages, ancient languages, or non-Latin writing systems?
  • Use of digital humanities tools on stable data repositories versus digital ephemera (Wikipedia entries, social media postings, chatrooms, etc.)



Arthur, P.L. and K. Bode (eds) (2014) Advancing Digital Humanities: Research, methods, theories, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hayler, M. and G. Griffin (eds) (2016) Research Methods for Creating and Curating Data in the Digital Humanities, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

McGann, J.J. (2014) A New Republic of Letters: Memory and scholarship in the age of digital reproduction, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Panofsky, R. and K. Kellett (eds) (2015) Cultural Mapping and the Digital Sphere: Place and space, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: The University of Alberta Press.

Svensson, P. (2016) Big Digital Humanities: Imagining a meeting place for the humanities and the digital, Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press.


Panel Convenor

James St. André is Director of the Centre for Translation Technology and Associate Professor of Translation at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include the history of Chinese-English translation, metaphors of translation, translation theory, and digital humanities. He has published articles in various journals, including META, TTR, The Translator, Translation and Interpreting Studies, Journal of Pragmatics and Target. He is also co-editor of the Journal of Translation Studies. His book projects include Thinking through Translation with Metaphors (2010) and, with Peng Hsiao-yen, China and Its Others: Knowledge Transfer through Translation, 1829–2010; his monograph Translating China as Cross-Identity Performance (2018) develops the queer metaphor of translation as cross-identity performance. He is currently working on another monograph, Conceptualizing China through Translation, in which he examines how certain key concepts used to understand Chinese culture have developed interlingually between Chinese and English from the eighteenth through the twenty-first century.


Submission of Paper Proposals

Submissions should be sent to the panel convenor (James St. André, by 30 September 2019.

Submissions should consist of:

(1) Abstract (300-400 words, including up to 5 bibliographic references).

(2) Contributor’s 150-word (maximum) biodata written in the third person. See examples from a previous event here:

(3) Full affiliation(s)

Notification of acceptance will be sent by 30 October 2019.