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





Fabio Alves1, Igor Silva2 & Adriana Pagano1        

1 Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil

2 Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (UFU), Brazil


In Search of a Novel Account of Expertise within CTIS and Beyond

Since its emergence in the early 2000s, the expert-performance approach (EPA) (Ericsson 2000) has provided cognitive translation and interpreting studies (CTIS) with a framework to investigate expertise as an alternative to studies on translation competence. Developed within the field of cognitive psychology, EPA provides a framework to account for and experimentally investigate translator expertise drawing on the premises that (1) expertise is individually probed (absolute expertise) rather than through comparison between individuals (relative expertise), and (2) as the outcome of deliberate practice, it shows consistently through a range of reproducible, representative tasks in a given domain. In the light of emerging perspectives aimed at developing epistemologically consistent constructs and frameworks for CTIS (see Marín García 2017), one may argue that EPA’s contribution to CTIS can be enhanced if the approach is expanded to incorporate embedded, embodied and extended factors. To this end, we draw on EPA and on a sociological approach to expertise (Collins and Evans 2007) which can contribute through its account of two types of specialized tacit knowledge: contributory expertise (held by those who are trained and perform within a domain) and interactional expertise (acquired through socialization with individuals from that domain). Translators are a particular case in point because they hold contributory expertise in the field of translation but develop interactional expertise in other domains. A framework combining a sociological and a psychological approach may provide CTIS with the necessary basis to experimentally investigate translation in ecologically valid conditions. Such a framework, which echoes discussions in sociology, examines expertise resulting from deliberate practice in individuals who show expert performance in reproducible, representative tasks, as well as in individuals engaged in an embedded, embodied and extended activity performed in interaction with other individuals. In this paper, we propose to outline a framework that may advance our understanding of expertise by grounding it on an epistemological basis which is both CTIS consistent and capable of providing insights to other disciplines which are also concerned with expertise.



Collins, H. and R. Evans (2007) Rethinking Expertise, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Ericsson, K. A. (2000) ‘Interpreting Expertise: An expert-performance perspective’, Interpreting 5(2): 187-220.

Marín García, Á. (2017) Theoretical Hedging: The scope of knowledge in translation process research, Unpublished PhD dissertation, Kent State University.

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Irem Ayan, State University of New York, Binghamton, US

Sabotaging Neutrality: The (In)visible Work of Conference Interpreters

Norms of professional practice deny both the position and the positioning of conference interpreters in an interpreted encounter by requiring them to remain neutral regardless of the context. This means that adopting a persona that interpreters do not always genuinely believe in becomes an indispensable part of their role. Relying upon a combination of ethnomethodological and sociological tools provided by Hochschild’s (2003) notion of emotional labour and her application of Marx’s alienation theory, this paper aims (i) to analyze the concept of impartiality as a form of emotional labour; and (ii) examine the alienating nature of performing this imposed neutrality.

Between March-August 2018, I interviewed twenty-one conference interpreters working in various social, cultural, and institutional settings. Drawing on their narratives and in part on my own, I propose a definition of emotional labour in the context of conference interpreting, and I argue that the taken-for-granted nature of interpreters’ role represents a variant of objectively alienating work that has subjective consequences for interpreters. Interpreters sell their voices for someone else’s benefit by remaining neutral, and it takes to hide and suppress their own personal beliefs to achieve this expected neutrality. Adler argues that the “subjective feelings of alienation are the inevitable counterpart of the workers’ objective alienation” (Adler 2009: 76). In this presentation, I explore the dark side of performing the imposed neutrality by looking at interpreters’ subjective manifestations of alienation, that is how they consciously deviate from the professional norms of practice – e.g. when interpreters are asked to interpret utterances that are diametrically opposed to their own ideologies and worldviews. I also describe contexts in which interpreters are faced with unreasonable and abominable situations but are still expected to maintain their professional performance and countenance. Finally, this presentation categorizes various forms of sabotage and work refusal performed by interpreters. My data set shows that interpreters carried out various acts of sabotage in situations where they felt exploited. They confessed that in some contexts they refused to tend to their clients’ needs; in other cases, they wanted to ‘punish’ their clients for uttering sexist remarks. Cleverly sabotaging their work using their own “weapons of the weak” (Scott 1985), interpreters introduce a breach into the socially acceptable way of practicing their profession, which is helpful to see the alienating nature of their work, and how impartiality can be manipulated.



Adler, P. (ed.) (2009) The Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Organization Studies: Classical Foundations, Oxford University Press.

Hochschild, A. R. (2003) The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling, University of California Press.

Scott, J. (1985) Weapons of the Weak, Yale University Press.

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Brian James Baer, Kent State University, USA

The Genealogies of Sexual Knowledge in Post-Soviet Russia

The lifting of censorship restrictions that accompanied the fall of the Soviet Union unleashed a flood of works on sexuality, including the republication of pre-Soviet works alongside old and new translations of works mostly from the West. These works played a central role in the fashioning of a new vocabulary for public discussion of sex and sexuality, one that was neither moralizing nor obscene. This paper traces the role of translation in the fashioning of a public discourse on sex and sexuality, especially on homosexuality, that took place in Russia between the de-criminalization of homosexuality in 1993 and the passage of a national law banning “homosexual propaganda” ten years later. What occurred at that time was not, however, simply the importation of individual terms but of what Joseph Massad in Desiring Arabs (2007) refers to as “the western sexual epistemology.” But unlike Massad, who analyzes works of fiction to document the infiltration of this epistemology into the cultures of the Middle East, I will focus on translations as privileged vehicles for that importation in the Post-Soviet context. Part of a larger corpus-based study designed to document shifts in the frequency and valence of words related to homosexuality and homosexuals in a variety of print media venues, this paper focuses on Western borrowings in two Russian periodicals oriented toward LGBTQ-identified readers, one from the early 1990s (Ty) and the other from the late 2010s (Kvir’), comparing them with works of pop-psychology oriented toward non-LGBTQ-identified readers. The study reveals that the same Western terminology is dominant in both corpora, underscoring the fact that the Western language of sexual identity is used both to support the dignity of Russian LGBTQ individuals and to fuel anti-LGBTQ discourse. At the same time, the importation of a Western sexual epistemology into post-Soviet Russia has failed to produce a viable activist movement, while it has succeeded in producing an especially virulent strain of homophobic rhetoric. The results of this study suggest the unpredictable effects of importing a Western epistemology into a society with a very different political and sexual culture.

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Salah Basalamah, University of Ottawa, Canada
Toward the Advent of ‘Citizen Translation’ in Academia: The ‘Second Modernity’ of Scholarship in the Human Sciences         

The exclusion, or at least the marginalization, of conceptual (as opposed to empirical) research in Western translation studies (TS) can be considered a form of invisible violence in that metatheoretical approaches have traditionally been minoritized and deemed a dispensable or secondary branch of research because dominant figures in the field declared TS as an empirical discipline (Holmes 1972), and because of the general assumption that research on translation should be linked to or in/directly serve the purposes of the practice of translation. The hypothesis of epistemicide can also be corroborated by the rejection, or at least the shaming, of the openness to other epistemologies, cultures or theoretical presuppositions that integrate or welcome moral and spiritual dimensions in scholarship, which are otherwise denigrated by Western academia.

One of the current problems of the liberal humanist tradition, moreover, is the growing privatization of all matters pertaining to irreconcilable differences and all questions entailing fundamental anthropological convictions, such as ethics, morality, religiosity and spirituality. Hence, a civil dialogue needs to take place and be driven by ‘citizen academic translators’ (Basalamah 2005) – including research groups and schools of thought – who engage, as engaged philosophers used to do, in raising the questions that spark the development of discourses founded on intimate convictions and moral issues in order to work towards consensus. These conversations should be based on the ethics of discussion in the public sphere (Habermas 1993).

I will argue in this presentation that the fragmentation of TS research and the multiplicity of its branches is prompting, on the one hand, a centripetal dynamic whereby a reaction to the explosion of subdisciplinary fields of research is reiterating the initial protective move of the founding scholars toward preserving the newly isolated object of study, i.e. translation. And on the other hand, the subdisciplinary multiplicity is yielding an opposite centrifugal dynamic whereby new (peripheral) voices are calling for a ‘second modernity’ (Ferry 2013) of scholarship in the human sciences, i.e. openness to areas of knowledge that Western, dominantly materialistic epistemologies have banned from their respective purviews. 



Basalamah, Salah (2005) ‘La traduction citoyenne n’est pas une métaphore’, TTR : traduction, terminologie, rédaction 18(2) : 49-69.

Basalamah, Salah (2018) ‘Toward a Philosophy of Translation’, in P. Rawlings and P. Wilson (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Philosophy, London: Routledge, 478-491.

Ferry, Jean-Marc (2013) Les lumières de la religion, interview with Elodie Maurot, Paris: Bayard.

Habermas, Jürgen (1993) Justification and Application. Remarks on Discourse Ethics, translated by C.P. Cronin, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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Salah Basalamah, University of Ottawa, Canada

Translating Modernity and “the Religious” in the Public Sphere

Modern western democracies are founded on the principle of the separation and differentiation of their spheres of cultural values, such as art, moral philosophy and science. This historical development has led to what Max Weber called the ‘disenchantment of the world’. Since the Renaissance, the modernization of western democracies has been accompanied by a secularization process whereby religion was steadily removed from the increasingly influential, but nonetheless differentiated, domains of the public sphere, namely the political and the legal. As this development unfolded, the debate between science and religion, on-going since the Ancient Greeks and mediated through Jewish philosophers, such as Philo of Alexandria, Moses Maimonides and Juda Halevi, Christian philosophers, such as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, and Arab Muslim philosophers, such as Avicenna and Averroes, has continued to pervade western scholarship.

However, in the age of post-metaphysics and the call for post-secularism, the very concept of modernity has been questioned, so much so that postmodernity has been articulated as a possible overcoming of its excesses and contradictions, including those perpetuated by scientisticist, positivist and structuralist epistemologies. Attempts at redefining the natural sciences as being just as subjective as are fields of knowledge within the human sciences, insofar as every object of knowledge is not perceived but interpreted, have enabled the emergence of the new paradigm of epistemological pluralism. Truth is no longer the distinguishing feature between what is recognized as science and what is not. All fields of knowledge stand on an equal footing. Despite this apparent egalitarianism, science in general has still not recognized this view, and the discourse of the modern public sphere has not yet been able to account for epistemologies beyond common secular rationality.

In the footsteps of Habermas (2008) and in a move to further his thought on the place of religion in the public sphere, Ferry (2013) has sought to integrate what he calls the ‘lights of religion’, i.e. the archived memory of humanity, its values and moral narratives. The hypothesis of this presentation is that such an integration will occur provided ‘the religious’ is able to become reflexive, accept criticism and translate itself into ‘a second modernity’, that is, a post-secular modernity, by revealing the civic duty to translate in turn its logics into a discourse intelligible to the legal and political rationalities of the public sphere. Although a conservative literalist understanding of translation would reject this use of the concept as metaphorical, this presentation is entirely built on a transdisciplinary conceptualization of translation that considers the fundamental criterion of ‘regulated transformation’ as a guiding principle to be implemented on a new range of sociopolitical, rather than linguistic, phenomena purposefully designated as ‘translations’.



Basalamah, S. (2005) ‘La traduction citoyenne n’est pas une métaphore’, TTR : traduction, terminologie, rédaction (TTR) 18(2) : 49-69.

Basalamah, S. (2018) “Toward a Philosophy of Translation”, in P. Rawlings & P. Wilson (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Philosophy, London: Routledge, 478-491.

Ferry, J.-M. (2013) Les lumières de la religion, interview with Elodie Maurot, Paris: Bayard.

Habermas, J. (2008) An Awareness of What is Missing. Faith and reason in a post-secular age, trans. C. Cronin, New York: Polity.

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Mario Bisiada, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

Movement or debate? Differing discourses on the #MeToo hashtag in English, German and Spanish

Hashtags play a defining role in the production and establishment of key cultural and political concepts. By definition cross-linguistic, international hashtags inform and shape debates, perceptions and knowledge (Dimitrova 2018) and are thus interesting from a translational and contrastive discourse point of view. Through social media, individuals are able more than ever to participate in the spread and adoption of frames and concepts, as the empowering effect of social media surpasses the reach and challenges the power of news organizations that traditionally occupied the main role in this process.

Hashtags carry significant linguistic interest due to their categorizing and evaluative potential without being inherently evaluative (as opposed to traditional, media-established terms such as “crisis”) (Zappavigna 2015). They are also interesting from a translational point of view because it remains to be seen to what extent the translation of hashtags achieves the desired effect (cf. “#MoiAussi” vs “#MeToo”). However, neither linguists nor translation scholars have devoted much attention to the study of hashtags; nor has the question of how the #MeToo hashtag in particular has contributed to both expert and lay cross-linguistic discourses on feminism and women’s rights received much attention by language scholars (for an approach in Gender Studies, see Mendes et al. 2018).

This presentation aims to explore the different ways the #MeToo hashtag is framed across languages depending on the word that accompanies it, such as ‘debate’, ‘movement’ or ‘moment’, which evoke different associations in readers as to the current state of the issue. Through a qualitative analysis of the semantic prosody of the #MeToo hashtag in a corpus of 3,000 German, English and Spanish tweets dating from July to August 2019, I investigate the framing by collocates (Vessey 2013) as well as the authors’ stance conveyed by the rest of the tweet in cases where the hashtag appears unaccompanied, based on van Gorp’s (2010) frame analysis. By underscoring the cross-linguistic differences in the semantic prosody of the #MeToo hashtag, as well as the authors’ stance towards it, the study seeks to address the question of how discourses around what seems to be the same concept diverge across languages and how this might impact the translation of texts surrounding #MeToo.



Dimitrova, D. (2018) ‘Comparative News Framing Analysis: Explaining and measuring patterns of frames in political news’, in P. D’Angelo (ed.) Doing News Framing Analysis II: Empirical and theoretical perspectives, London: Routledge, 274-292.

Mendes, K., J. Ringrose and J. Keller (2018) ‘#MeToo and the Promise and Pitfalls of Challenging Rape Culture through Digital Feminist Activism’, European Journal of Women’s Studies 25(2): 236–246.

Vessey, R. (2013) ‘Challenges in Cross-linguistic Corpus-assisted Discourse Studies’, Corpora 13(1): 1–26.

Van Gorp, B. (2010) ‘Strategies to Take Subjectivity out of Framing Analysis’, in P. D’Angelo and J. Kuypers (eds), Doing News Framing Analysis: Empirical and theoretical perspectives, New York: Routledge, 84-108.

Zappavigna, M. (2015) ‘Searchable Talk: The Linguistic Functions of Hashtags’, Social Semiotics 25(3): 274–291.

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Karen Bennett, Universidade Nova de Lisboa / CETAPS, Portugal

Stalling the Creep: A Critical Rhetorical Approach to the Study of Knowledge in Translation

Exactly what constitutes valid knowledge in the modern world is a matter that is urgently in need of debate. In much of the Western world, the empiricist paradigm enjoys such prestige (due, no doubt, to its close links with science, technology, industry and business) that even humanities subjects are coming under pressure to assimilate their objectives, procedures and discourse to those used in the harder sciences. In such a scenario, there is an urgent need for a critical approach to the study of academic translation that is able to problematize the very vehicle through which knowledge is construed and transmitted. Most of the methods currently favoured in translation studies (whether product-, process- or participant-based) are themselves grounded in the empiricist paradigm and thus shed little light upon the issue, possibly even contributing to the process of epistemological colonization.

In an attempt to stall this creeping empiricism and reaffirm the value of an ecology of knowledges, this paper proposes a method of critical analysis designed to shed light upon the epistemological and ideological shifts that occur when knowledge is transferred across linguistic and cultural boundaries. The solution found is based on a method of textual analysis called Rhetorical Criticism, developed in the United States to explore the unacknowledged or unconscious assumptions underpinning semiotic phenomena of all kinds (e.g. Foss 2009, Kuypers 2009, Hart and Daughton 2005, Brock and Scott 1980). It starts from the premise that reality is a symbolic creation, constituted through rhetoric, and therefore not susceptible to objective analysis. The aim is generally to shed light upon the worldview (i.e. the system of unconscious assumptions, values and beliefs) underpinning the text, and to explore the way that subject and participants are constructed by it. This paper offers a suggestion for how this method could be adapted to enable its application to the study of academic or philosophical texts in translation.



Brock, B. L. and R. L. Scott (1980) Methods of Rhetorical Criticism: A twentieth-century perspective, 2nd ed. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

Foss, S. K. (2009) Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and practice, 4th ed. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press

Hart, R. and S. Daughton (2005) Rhetorical Criticism, 3rd edition, London/New York: Routledge.

Kuypers, J. A. (ed.) (2009) Rhetorical Criticism: Perspectives in action, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

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María Pilar Castillo Bernal, Universidad de Córdoba, Spain

Rewriting Science: English and Spanish Translations of Robert Koch’s Works on Cholera and their Epistemological Impact

Since the publication of Montgomery’s work (2000), the translation of science has become an object of interest for researchers both in scientific and translation studies, as can be seen in the special issues published by Meta (Vandaele and Boulanger, 2016), The Translator (Olohan and Salama-Carr, 2011) or Annals of Science. Along these lines, some recent research has dealt with the translation of German scientific literature from the late 19th century, the so-called heroic age of German medicine and related sciences. As a follow-up to a previous study on the translation of German scientific articles on microbiology and biochemistry into Spanish, the present communication now focuses on Robert Koch’s works on cholera (1887) and their translations into Spanish and English. The aims are to analyse the texts in terms of translation techniques and adaptation in a broader sense, as well as to study the impact of the translated versions on the target scientific communities. The research method follows Byrne’s (2014) and Montgomery’s (2000) description of translation techniques in scientific texts. For the purposes of this presentation, the most relevant techniques detected in the period in question are direct translation (literal translation and calque), adaptation (omission and expansion) and displacement as a general strategy to bring the texts closer to the target culture. All of these show a somewhat flexible approach towards the rendering of scientific texts into foreign languages. The reception of translated scientific works is also an object of interest in this presentation, as well as the translators of the English and Spanish versions themselves, since their names are known and included in the publications alongside some paratexts. The general purpose of this presentation is to explore the role of translation in the epistemological construction of science in the target cultures and the circumstances whereby the transfer of knowledge occurred through translation in the period in question. More specifically, an evolution both in the language of science and in translation standards since the 19th century becomes apparent. The latter is a logical consequence of the recent professionalization of the translator’s activity and of the rise of translation as a separate field of study, albeit strongly connected to science in the present work. This calls for interdisciplinary approaches: Translation studies can provide a useful tool to complement research in history of science, scientific discourse, sociological impact of science, among other fields.



Byrne, J. (2014) Scientific and Technical Translation Explained, London & New York: Routledge.

Koch, R. (1887) Bericht Über die Thätigkeit der zur Erforschung der Cholera im Jahre 1883 nach Egypten und Indien Entsandten Kommission, Berlin: Springer Verlag.

Montgomery, S. L. (2000) Science in Translation: Movements of Knowledge through Cultures and Time, Chicago: University of Chicago.

Olohan, M. and M. Salama-Carr (eds) (2011) The Translator, 17: 2.

Vandaele, S. and P.-P. Boulanger (eds) (2016) Sciences en traduction/Sciences in Translation, Meta, 61.

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Piotr Blumczynski, Queen’s University Belfast, UK

How Process Thought Can Inform Cognitive Translation and Interpreting Studies

This paper seeks to advance the recent drive towards “integration of process and product perspectives on translational phenomena” (Halverson 2015: 311) – but, importantly, does so from a philosophical rather than experimental perspective. Specifically, it challenges the distinction between translation product and process which has become standard in translation studies at least since Holmes. The way in which this distinction is normally applied can be illustrated with reference to Bühler’s (2002) and Kade’s (1968) views. Bühler argues that “from interpretation as the activity of interpreting we can distinguish interpretation as a finished object resulting from the interpreting activity. This object is a text which is presented orally or in a written form. Analogously we can distinguish between translation as an activity and translation as the result of the activity of translating” (2002: 58). In a similar vein, Kade (1968) distinguishes translation from interpreting by pointing out to the fixity of the translation situation; in his view, “a source language text is permanently available and repeatable ad libidum into a target language text than can be corrected and repeated any time” (Hebenstreit 2009:22).

These broadly held positions, founded on Aristotelian ontology and Newtonian physics, are countered by Whitehead’s (1968) process thought – also known as ontology of becoming – which allows us to reject such views as naïve and counterfactual. A processual perspective questions the reality of permanent, fixed and eternally available texts (more broadly, any a-temporal entities), arguing instead that “there is a rhythm of process whereby creation produces natural pulsation […] The Newtonian description of matter abstracts matter from time. It conceives matter ‘at an instant’ […] If process be fundamental such abstraction is erroneous” (Whitehead 1968:88–89). A text approached again is never “the same” text, even to “the same” reader; a “product” of translation is still a process in how it is conceived by the translator and received by the target audience. Cognitive translation studies appears already quite sympathetic to a processual perspective; for example, Muñoz Martín’s view that “meaning is not a thing; it is a process, a continuous mental, constructive flow that depends on each person’s dynamic mental experience” (2016:362) reverberates with Whiteheadian echoes. This paper traces this affinity in a systematic way; in doing so, it follows on from recent attempts to stimulate further metatheoretical reflection in translation and interpreting studies (Blumczynski and Hassani 2019).



Blumczynski, P. and G. Hassani (2019) ‘Towards a Meta-theoretical Model for Translation: A multi-dimensional approach”, Target [online]. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/target.17031.blu.

Bühler, A. (2002) ‘Translation as Interpretation’, in A. Riccardi (ed.) (2002) Translation Studies: Perspectives on an emerging discipline, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 56–74.

Hebenstreit, G. (2009) ‘Defining Patterns in Translation Studies’, in Y. Gambier and L. van Doorslaer (eds) The Metalanguage of Translation, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 9–26.

Halverson, S. (2015) “Cognitive TS and the Merging of Empirical Paradigms: The case of literal translation”, Translation Spaces 4(2): 310–340.

Kade, O. (1968) Zufall und Gesetzmäßigkeit in der Übersetzung, Leipzig: VEB Enzyklopädie.

Muñoz Martín, R. (2016) ‘Of Minds and Men – Computers and translators’, Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics 52(2): 351–381.

Whitehead, A. N. (1968) Modes of Thought, New York: Free Press and Macmillan.

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Julie Boéri, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar

Insurrectional translation: engagement and grassroots organizing in the global justice movement

In its resistance to military, economic, social and environmental violence, the movement for global justice epitomizes a mouvance (a “movement in movement”) which is transnational, insurrectional and translational in nature. In this transient space of social justice experimentation, knowledge is socio-politically resemiotized across generations, territories, cultures, languages and media. This emerging insurrectional epistemology has enlarged the concept and the practice of translation to empower social justice activists to embody inclusion in the very way in which they communicate, mobilize and organize.

In an attempt to account for this emerging epistemology of insurrectional translation, this presentation will explore some of the translation practices displayed by social justice activists in different contexts, ranging from inter-linguistic and inter-semiotic to cultural and political translation. While these practices all involve complex textual-linguistic acts of translation proper, this element has tended to be downplayed in the all-encompassing concept of translation that has recently emerged in the Humanities. Yet, social structures, media design and event logistics cannot be studied at the expense of language and textual mediation if an insurrectional epistemology is to radically transform patterns of exclusion.

I propose to examine how insurrectional translation is planned (macro-level), performed (micro-level) and accounted for by activists, professionals and scholars (meso-level). I will focus in particular on Babels, the international network of volunteer translators and interpreters and of loose networks of activist translators and interpreters who refer to their practice as “language justice interpreting”. I will explore how these networks prefigure  inclusion not only at the level of translation performance (in the booth, while fansubbing or subtitling, etc.), but also at the level of translation planning (choice of languages, technological tools, communication set up, etc.). Finally, I will examine how these practices are acknowledged, “mapped” and “historiographed” in the profession and in the academic field. It is hoped that the triadic model provided will empower scholars and activists alike to contribute to an insurrectional epistemology of translation towards justice.

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Jan Buts, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Intelligent Designs: Conspiratorial Evolutions in Creationist Discourse

The development of the internet has significantly facilitated the production, exchange, and consumption of information. In this regard, dreams of global democracy and informed citizenship have been offset by increased fears of extensive manipulation and propaganda, as well as by the sheer overload of available information. The kaleidoscopic clash of viewpoints generated by the medium has not inaugurated a novel period of enlightenment, but rather eroded trust in mechanisms of representation and the authority of expert discourse. The technological and community-forging affordances of the internet have furthermore allowed for the rapid spread and consolidation of viewpoints formerly on the fringes of ‘common sense’. In this climate, conspiracy theories, which involve ‘stigmatized knowledge’ not accepted by ‘mainstream institutions’, typically concerning secret machinations with ‘malevolent [ends]’, have surfaced as a major force of social contestation (Barkun 2013: 12).

This presentation focuses on the Biblical creationist movement. For centuries, creationism was cross-culturally considered to be an incontestable truth, but today it is often situated on the margins of mainstream opinion, forcing creationist claims to validity into a defensive posture. Drawing on a specialized subcorpus of online creationist publications that form part of the Genealogies of Knowledge corpus, this study documents the positioning of creationist authors in relation to the broader scientific community. A corpus based-analysis of a cluster of concepts containing terms such as ‘evidence’, ‘expertise’, ‘truth’, ‘proof’, and ‘knowledge’ indicates an effort towards a full equivalence between ‘science’ and Holy Writ, which is often accompanied with opposition to ‘evolutionists’. The pursuit of truth through empirical research is by no means condemned by the contemporary creationist authors studied, but the scientific community itself is factionalised. The argument against ‘consensus science’ is typically presented as a fully rational, scientifically sceptical endeavour. Yet the lines between skepticism and suspicion are easily blurred, and so, the analysis shows, are those between consensus and conspiracy.



Barkun, Michael (2013) Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic visions in contemporary America, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Genealogies of Knowledge: The Evolution and Contestation of Concepts across Time and Space: https://genealogiesofknowledge.net/genealogies-knowledge-corpus/

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Qing Cao, Durham University, UK

Constructing the Nation-State: A Corpus-based Investigation of Adapting Western Ideas in Late Qing China

One of the fundamental changes experienced in modern China is the transformation from a traditional dynasty to a modern nation-state. Institutional transformation is often accompanied and guided by a system of ideas, expressed through language, but studies on transformation during the late Qing period give insufficient attention to the role of language in the ideational world of representation. Based on a large-scale corpus-based empirical study, this article examines the use of language in the construction of nation-state, using the prevalent concept of guomin as an example, from the perspective of conceptual maps and semantic regrouping. It argues that, contrary to the conventional understanding of guomin as highlighting such western values as liberty and individualism, guomin prioritises the obligations of the people to the state, in an effort to transfer their loyalty from the family to the newly imagined nation-state. Thus, guomin as modelled after the German term volk emerged as a new western concept after the 1895 Jiawu defeat, when China was lost in the maritime war with Japan. It operated as an elitist demand for normative behaviour on the part of people to assist in China’s nation-state building efforts.

The presentation will outline four levels of historical semantic meanings of guomin as a statist construction of a ‘nation’ intended to transform the Qing empire into a modern republic. The study is based on two corpora. The first is a purpose-built corpus of late Qing press debates consisting of 231,781 Chinese characters. The second is the Database for the Study of Modern Chinese Thought and Literature 1830-1930, developed by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Taiwan National Chengchi University and consisting of over 100 million Chinese characters.

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Michael Carl, Kent State University, US

On the Complementarity of TPR and 4EA Translatology

A recent call for papers for a special journal issue on cognitive translation studies (Xiao and Muñoz 2020) posits the existence of diverging “computational approaches (mainly labeled Translation Process Research [TPR]), [and] 4EA cognition approaches (e.g. Cognitive Translatology)”. On the one hand, the 4EA approaches (e.g. Muñoz, 2017:563 ff.) assume that cognition is (i) embodied, as it uses the full body (e.g. spatial metaphors); (ii) embedded, because the brain is nested into both a body and a physical and sociocultural environment; (iii) enacted, because the environment is selectively created; (iv) extended, since the brain/mind actively offloads tasks and procedures into the ‘outside’ world; and (v) affective, as emotions drive and fine‐tune our mental processes and our behaviour.

On the other hand, for Jakobsen (2017:21), TPR is concerned with the question “by what observable and presumed mental processes do translators arrive at their translations?” He traces the roots of TPR back to Krings’s pioneering studies on post-editing, among others, and posits that “TPR has conceptualized the human mind and brain in information processing and computational metaphors, either implicitly or explicitly”. However, for him TPR “was not motivated by any strong behaviourist convictions” (ibid.: 28) or for that matter any other theoretical framework. He suggests the expansion of the TPR methodological repository to include electroencephalograms (EEG), gunctional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), as well as “physiological reactions, such as respiratory speed, pulse rate, blood pressure, skin conductance, and muscle reactions”, and concludes that the “extended [i.e. 4EA] perspective is therefore a highly relevant complementation of TPR’s traditional focus”.

However, despite the obvious focus of TPR on extended (e.g. MT post-editing, external research, etc.) and embodied cognition (e.g. physiological reactions), for Muñoz (2017:561) these two approaches are “mutually exclusive views on human cognition”, a statement which he underpins by several assumptions, claims and dichotomies, concerning allegedly diverging views on the existence and nature of mental representation.

This presentation will elaborate some of these points and show that the dichotomies are either a matter of (philosophical) discussion, not central to TPR and not necessarily exclusive, not supported in the existing literature or even scientifically outdated. It concludes that the basic 4EA assumptions of Cognitive Translatology are not incompatible with the methodologies used in empirical TPR, but rather complementary methodological and theoretical aspects in cognitive translation studies.



Jakobsen, A. L. (2017) ‘Translation Process Research 21’, in J. W. Schwieter and A. Ferreira (eds) The Handbook of Translation and Cognition, Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics Series, Wiley 21-50.

Muñoz Martín, R. (2017) ‘Looking toward the Future of Cognitive Translation Studies’, in J. W. Schwieter and A. Ferreira (eds) The Handbook of Translation and Cognition, Blackwell: Wiley, 555-573.

Xiao, K. and R. Muñoz (2020) ‘Cognitive Translation Studies. Theoretical Models and Methodological Criticism’, Call for Papers for a Linguistica Antverpiensia 19. Available at https://lans-tts.uantwerpen.be/index.php/LANS-TTS/announcement/view/12

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I-Hsin CHEN, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Knowledge Innovation in Joseph Percy Bruce’s Translations of Zhu Xi’s Concept of Li

This presentation aims to demonstrate how the British missionary-scholar Joseph Percy Bruce (1861–1934) introduced a new theory of knowledge in translating the prominent Chinese thinker Zhu Xi’s (1130–1200) concept of li 理, which may be glossed as ‘principle’, ‘law’ or ‘pattern’, among other potential meanings. In translating this complex concept, Bruce (1922, 1923, 1925) resorts to more than twenty English words and creatively combined lexicon. Educated in Manchester and London, Bruce went to China as a missionary of the Baptist Missionary Society in 1887 and founded Cheeloo University in China’s Shandong Province. He received a D. Litt from the University of London in 1922 in recognition of his scholarship in Chinese philosophy, and became the first Professor of Chinese at the same institution in 1925. I will argue that his translational choices are informed by his cultural background, education and personal experience, and that they create new understandings of li.

In addition to his translational choices, Bruce develops a metalanguage for discussing li that allows him to engage in continual conceptual remapping and rewriting. This metalanguage includes metaphors that he invents in presenting arguments for his choice of a given translation, and I will be examining the significance of these arguments for changing or extending the meanings of specific lexical items he selects as expressions for li. For example, in translating li as the capitalized Law, Bruce (1923:99) draws an analogy between Zhu’s statement tian ji li 天即理 (Heaven is Law) and the Christian metaphor ‘God is light’. Acknowledging the difference between li and Western philosophical categories, Bruce adopts the above metaphor not to adapt Zhu’s li system to Christian orthodoxy but to creatively conceptualize Zhu’s “theory of the universe”, which for him concerns elements that constitute and harmonize cosmological reality and the morality of human nature. He combines the Christian ideal for the one God with the contemporary scientific study of evolution in presenting Zhu’s li system as an evolving cosmic cycle in which a universal moral ground for humanity can be established. This presentation thus ultimately hopes to illuminate how Bruce integrates different understandings of religion and philosophy while theorizing them in new ways, thereby producing new knowledge about the cosmos, the moral nature of being human, and the harmonious fusion of the two.



Bruce, J. P. (1922) The Philosophy of Human Nature by Chu Hsi, Translated from the Chinese, with notes, London: Probsthain & Co.

Bruce, J. P. (1923) Chu Hsi and his Masters: An introduction to Chu Hsi and the Sung School of Chinese philosophy, London: Probsthain & Co.

Bruce, J. P. (1925) The Humanness of Chu Hsi: A paper read before the China Society on January 15, 1925, London: East and West.

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Xuemei CHEN, Lingnan University, Hong Kong

Interaction between Translators and Readers in Cyberspace. A Study of Xiao Mao’s Translation of E.B White’s Children’s Novels

Drawing on one of the earliest instances of online literary translations in China, carried out in the early 2000s, this presentation explores how the interaction between translators and readers in online communities facilitates the collaborative production and transcultural circulation of ‘mixed fantasy’ literature – a genre that Gates et al. (2003) define as fantasy fused into reality – in the Chinese context. My data set consists of Xiao Mao’s three online Chinese translations of three classic children’s novels – i.e. Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte’s Web (1952), and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970) – written by E.B. White, the winner of the Children’s Literature Legacy Award in 1970.

Xiao Mao, a non-professional translator and one of the editors of the New Threads Magazine – the first Chinese electronic magazine devoted exclusively to Chinese literature – carried out his online translations between 2000 and 2001. During the translation process, Xiao Mao would sometimes e-mail members of the New Threads online community and request their input on how to solve a range of translation problems (e.g. proper names, culture-loaded terms). After finishing his translations, Xiao Mao shared them with members of the New Threads mailing list; some readers then published the translations on their personal websites, and contributed to their dissemination through other electronic media – including blogs and discussion forums. The popularity of his free online translations facilitated the transnational distribution of White’s children’s novels and paved the way for the penetration of the mixed fantasy genre into the Chinese context.

This paper adopts a triangulation method to explore the interaction between Xiao Mao and his readers during the translation process. It first analyzes paratexts (prefaces, postscripts, notes) of these translations and mailing list archives documenting Xiao Mao’s correspondence with readers; this is complemented by insights from interviews with the translator and his readers. Actor-Network Theory (ANT) (Law and Hassard 1999, Latour 2005) is employed to better account for the role of both human and non-human actors (e.g. computers, the Internet and mailing lists). Drawing on the epistemological inspiration of ANT and studies on “materialities of communication” (Gumbrecht 2004, Littau 2016), it foregrounds the role of various social media (blogs, forums, reading websites etc) in disseminating and shaping these translations.

The initial analysis suggests that the “making” and dissemination of these online translations involve a network of actors, including readers from the New Threads online community and non-humans such as computers, the Internet, communication tools, social media, etc. By examining the computer-mediated communication between Xiao Mao and his readers, this paper attempts to demonstrate that their interactions contribute to the collaborative production and transcultural dissemination of White’s originals and mixed fantasy in China.



Gates, P. et al. (2003) Fantasy Literature for Children and Young Adults, Oxford: Scarecrow Press.

Gumbrecht, H. U. (2004) Production of Presence: What meaning cannot convey, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Law, J. and J. Hassard(eds) (1999). Actor Network Theory and After. Oxford: Blackwell.

Littau, K. (2016) ‘Translation and the Materialities of Communication’, Translation Studies 9(1): 82-96.

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Carmen Quijada Diez (University of Oviedo, Spain) and Marta Gómez Martínez (University of Cantabria, Spain)

Translating Ideology and Contents in Medical Dictionaries Published in Nineteenth-Century Spain and their Relevance for the Spanish Medical Lexicographic Thesaurus (TELEME)

The extraordinary boom of lexicographic medical works that took place in Europe during the nineteenth century had in France a clear leader, but it rapidly spread to other countries, such as Germany and England, where many original works of this type were written and published in local languages, as opposed to the translations that were more common in other places, like Spain. In this country there were few local initiatives of this kind, so translation became the way for these encyclopaedias and dictionaries to enter the country. Most of the translations were carried out from French, but towards the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth, German and English-written works started to grow in importance, and therefore were also translated into Spanish.

The source texts, being in their majority encyclopaedias of medical content, included a large and diverse range of information, always adapted to the public they were intended to reach in the countries where they had been originally published. This was a cause of all sorts of problems for the translators, since they had to choose between staying true to the content of the source text or else adapting it to its new Spanish-speaking recipients, and also to the ideology and even the morals of nineteenth-century Spain. In this presentation we set out these adaptations and the reasons that might explain them.

In this presentation we also aim at exploring those translations, whether it be the introduction of concepts or ideas different from those transmitted in French, or the changes that medical language may have gone through; via some examples, such as the Handbuch der speciellen Pathologie und Therapie (1874-1885), by Hugo von Ziemssen, translated into Spanish by Francisco Vallina between 1887 and 1901; or The Dictionary of Practical Medicine (around 1900), by Malcolm Morris, Gordon Holmes and Frederick Langmead, translated into Spanish by Jesús Mª Bellido and Santiago Pi y Suñer in 1927.

The study of such dictionaries is supported to a large extent by the recent launch of the so-called Tesoro Lexicográfico Médico Español del siglo XIX (TELEME), an ongoing project in the course of development aimed at designing a searchable online medical lexicographic thesaurus covering lexicographical works published in nineteenth-century Spain.



Gómez Martínez, M. (in press) ‘El diccionario terminológico de medicina de Richard D. Hoblyn: razones de su éxito a ambos lados del Atlántico’.

Gutiérrez Rodilla, B. M. (1999) La constitución de la lexicografía médica moderna en España, La Coruña: Toxo-Soutos.

Gutiérrez Rodilla, B. M., and M. Gómez Martínez (in press). ‘Vocabularies versus Encyclopedic Compendia in 19th century Medical Lexicography: Richard D. Hoblyn’s Terminological Dictionary’, in Approaches to English Historical Lexicography and Lexicology, Oxford: Pembroke College.

Quijada Diez, C. (2018) ‘La recepción de la ciencia en la España decimonónica a través de la traducción’, in J. M. Castellano and A. Ruiz (eds) La traducción y la interpretación en contextos especializados (II): Un enfoque multidisciplinar para la transmisión del conocimiento científico, Granada: Comares, 129-136.

Quijada Diez, C., and B. M. Gutiérrez Rodilla (2017) ‘La traducción al español de diccionarios médicos alemanes en el siglo XIX’. Revista de Lexicografía XXIII: 185-199. Available online at http://revistas.udc.es/index.php/rlex/article/view/rlex.2017.23.0.4702.

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Nicole Doerr, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Enacting citizenship and knowledge from below—resident migrants as political translators

This presentation seeks to explore how collective practices of political translation developed by U.S.-based global justice activists and migrant solidarity groups help resident migrants, particularly women, parents, and workers, to ‘enact’ citizenship in the context of local participatory democracy. Based on ethnographic data the paper explores how communities create critical knowledge collectively from below by using political translation as a communicative and disruptive strategy for negotiation with city officials and elected representatives. The context for the study are struggles for affordable housing in Californian cities experiencing increasing inequality and gentrification. I show how migrants and second generation migrants in California act as community translators who get trained and supported by global “language justice” interpreters coming from other US states. Community translators build on local epistemologies of political translation and construct community meetings that challenge mainstream knowledge production and top-down decision-making by facilitators and elected representatives in the context of local participatory democracy. Focusing on critical knowledge production in the context of negotiations about affordable housing in a Californian city, I compare multilingual meetings that do or do not involve political translation. My particular focus is on how political translators mediate time and space to allow migrants, linguistic minorities, women, parents, and workers to express their political claims within meetings that would otherwise be marginalizing these groups. The paper also explores the ephemeral trajectories of collectives of political translators in the context of local democracy as well as based on additional data coming from the US and the European Social Forums and their particular histories and geographies of radical democracy, within the global counterhegemonic drive. 

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Joel Feinberg, Binghamton University, USA and Beijing International Studies University, China

Translation in the Commission of Pseudo-Science

The question of the epistemological foundations of science has traditionally included a subset of issues concerned with demarcating the border between science and non-science. While the normative character of this demarcation problem is not immediately apparent, it becomes conspicuous in the context of the discourse surrounding ‘pseudo-science’. Pseudo-science is considered a particularly pernicious form of non-science with pretentions to scientific status (Gordin 2012).

From Karl Popper’s first delineation of the phenomenon of pseudo-science, psychoanalysis has been at the center of the controversy of where to demarcate science from non-science and how to identify pseudo-scientific pretenders. Until recently, it was unquestionable that psychoanalysis sought to be a science. This view can ultimately be traced back to Freud, but is nowhere more evident than in the translation of the Standard Edition of Freud’s texts by James and Alix Strachey. While the scientific status of psychoanalysis was controversial, it was not until the appearance of a number of texts in the 1980s that the historical legitimacy and philosophical foundations of psychoanalysis as a science was thoroughly criticized. Concurrently within the psychoanalytic community, Bettelheim’s critique of Strachey’s Standard Edition inaugurated a critical reassessment of both psychoanalysis’ scientific aspirations and the translation itself (Bettelheim 1983).

In the first part of my presentation, I will lay out the connection between Bettelheim’s translation criticism and contemporaneous criticisms of psychoanalytic scientificity. The transdisciplinary consensus achieved during this period agreed that psychoanalysis was not a science, but disagreed about who was to blame for its fall into pseudo-science. For the main historical and philosophical protagonists, the culprit was Freud himself. For Bettelheim, however, the guilt arose on account of the way in which Freud’s texts were translated in the Standard Edition. In the second part, I will sketch an alternative transdisciplinary approach to the question of the scientific status of psychoanalysis starting from different epistemological premises than those underlying Popper’s demarcation problem. This perspective grows out of Galison’s view that the practice of science is located in a ‘trading zone,’ and that scientific language displays features of conceptual creolization and pidginization as terminology undergoes processes of local negotiation (Galison 1997).



Bettelheim, B. (1983) Freud and Man’s Soul, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Galison, P. (1997) Image and Logic: A Material culture of microphysics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gordin, M. (2012) The Pseudoscience Wars, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

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Deborah Giustini, University of Manchester, UK

A glocal and translingual emergency: Japanese interpreters mediating and politicising the post-Fukushima nuclear disaster

Japan has marked the eighth anniversary of the tsunami disaster that took more than 18,000 lives, triggered a nuclear meltdown in Fukushima Daiichi plant, and turned communities into ghost towns, disrupting the lives of Japanese and foreign residents. The response to the disaster involved the deployment of personnel from national and international organisations, aid emergency responders, and medical associations, whose interactions with the affected population have been mediated by professional interpreters.

This presentation draws upon an ethnographic convenience sample from a wider comparative study of interpreting practices in the UK and in Japan using ‘facet methodology’ – a strategic combination of mixed methods covering different lines of enquiry that help to define the overall object of concern – (Mason 2011). It focuses on a group of specially-appointed Japanese conference interpreters, working within the nexus of governmental, institutional, and residents’ practices of political discussion in the post-Fukushima scenario. The presentation explores how these interpreters, tied to the political and environmental history and geography of contemporary Japan, engage in non-organised forms of social activism. Using their mediating role and the politics of language, these interpreters align with Fukushima’s surviving residents and territory to empower them against dominant political and media discourses of environmentalism and human rights. However, at the same time, these interpreters use the encounters and the setting as an opportunity to reinforce their own views on such discourses. These issues are addressed by offering a line of analytical development relating to Schatzki’s (2002) concept of teleo-affectivity (a range of normativized and hierarchically ordered ends, projects, goals, and emotions that are acceptable for participants in a practice – see also Welch and Yates (2018) that contributes to a contemporary practice theory approach to collective action in interpreting studies, and to the development of interpreting as a case in point in the sociology of collective practices and movements.

I argue that, far from their normative apolitical and neutral role, informants use their expertise to negotiate the socio-historical conditions in which they find themselves. I find that they consciously exploit their positioning to configure the transient spaces of their own professional engagements as activist spaces, to effect change at a local and global level through a strategic use of language and the cultural politics of emotion (Ahmed 2004/2013). Therefore, this presentation reveals the strategies of a group of interpreters motivated by a sense of professional, collective, and activist immersion into narratives of global justice, and whose identification with the local area and population provides the focal point for their counterhegemonic drive.



Ahmed, S. (2004/2013) The Cultural Politics of Emotion, New York: Routledge.

Mason, J. (2011) ‘Facet methodology: The case for an inventive research orientation’, Methodological Innovations Online 6(3): 75-92.

Schatzki, T. R. (2002) The Site of the Social: A philosophical account of the constitution of social life and change, University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Welch, D. and Yates, L. (2018) ‘The Practices of Collective Action: Practice theory, sustainability transitions and social change, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 48(3): 288-305.

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Manuela Guilherme, Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra

Transnational Research across Plurilingual and Intercultural Epistemologies

This paper reports on the findings of a project exploring plurilingual and intercultural epistemological exchanges that take place in transnational research contexts, and draws on data collected as part of an interdisciplinary study involving Brazilian research groups from the fields of social and life sciences. The project, entitled ‘Glocal Languages and Intercultural Responsibility in a Postcolonial Global Academic World’, aimed to boost researchers’ meta-reflection on critical issues that have so far been under-explored, including the transnational, interlingual and intercultural dimensions of the epistemological exchanges they are involved in. My exploration of such themes is structured around three main concepts: ‘glocademics’, which refers to the researchers’ identities and commitment as local and global citizens; ‘glocal languages’, a notion that highlights the global impact of European languages (Portuguese, Spanish and English), as locally reconstructed in Latin America, as well as the influence of Native American languages on their European counterparts throughout their colonial and post-colonial history; and ‘intercultural responsibility’ – a notion that in the context of this project exceeds the boundaries of the notion of intercultural competence – which is used to foreground the political, ethical and social dimensions of scientific work.

Implementation research was carried out in collaboration with 5 research groups, based in Sao Paulo and Bahia, that work on a Brazilian Portuguese linguistic atlas, political science, Native American languages and cultures, biology/ecology and public policies/nutrition. Data pertaining to the transdisciplinary, linguistic, cultural and epistemological negotiations that, driven by a de-colonial perspective of knowledge, took place within each of these 5 groups were collected through various methods, including document analysis (reports and publications), individual interviews, meetings observation and a final focus-group interview.



Guilherme, M. (2019a) ‘Introduction: The critical and decolonial quest for intercultural epistemologies and discourses’, in Intercultural Multilateralities: Pluri-dialogic imaginations, globo-ethical positions and epistemological ecologies, special issue of Journal of Multicultural Discourse 14(1): 1-13.

Guilherme, M. (2019b) ‘Glocal Languages beyond Postcolonialism: The metaphorical North and the South in the geographical north and south’, in M. Guilherme & L. M. T. M. Souza (eds) Glocal Languages and Critical Intercultural Awareness: The South answers back, London: Routledge, 42-64.

Mignolo, W. and C. Walsh (2018) On Decoloniality: Concepts, analytics, praxis, Durham: Duke University Press.

Sousa Santos, B. (2018) The End of the Cognitive Empire: The coming of age of the Epistemologies of the South, Durham and London: Duke University Press.

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María Constanza Guzmán, York University, Canada

Translation in Periodicals: Toward a Genealogy of Latin American Imaginaries

This presentation is based on a decade-long project in which I have investigated practices of translation in influential twentieth-century Latin American and Caribbean periodicals (Guzmán 2017a, 2017b). Focusing on magazines and journals with a Latin Americanist scope that reach beyond the borders of their national emergence, I have looked at the discursive compositions that are constructed through translation and studied these periodicals as vectors of intellectual exchange. In order to illustrate this analysis, I will discuss some of the findings obtained through the comparison of translation practices observed across a selection of these Latin American and Caribbean periodicals. The study has included the examination of translation practices in the periodicals Crisis and Cuadernos de Marcha from the Southern Cone, Casa de las Américas and Bim from the Caribbean, Mito from Colombia, and Plural and El corno emplumado/The Plumed Horn from Mexico.

The presentation will thus offer a reflection on the landscape of knowledge construction and circulation in Latin America throughout the second half of the twentieth century, concentrating on the ways translation—but also languaging and multilingual editorial practice—led to the formation of linguistically plural narrative and intellectual webs that, whether intentionally or not, crossed national borders and became sites for transnational conversations. Specifically, I suggest that translation in these periodicals contributed to the emergence of new images of Latin America—and also of ‘latinoamericanismo’ and of the Americas at large—and, in so doing, helped either confirm or challenge pre-existing and colonial regional imaginaries.



Guzmán, M. C. (2017a) ‘Translation and Territorial Imaginaries: Vectors of exchange in the Cuban Casa de las Américas and the Uruguayan Cuadernos de Marcha’, TTR 28(1): 91-108.

Guzmán, M. C. (2017b) ‘El Caribe se traduce: La traducción como praxis descolonial en las revistas Tropiques, Bim y Casa de las Américas’, Mutatis mutandis: Revista latinoamericana de traductología 10(1): 167-181.

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Sandra L. Halverson (Agder University, Norway) and Haidee Kotze (Utrech University, The Netherlands)

Sociocognitive Constructs in Translation and Interpreting Studies: Situating Risk and Normativity

Within Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS), the epistemological status of constructs at the interface of the social and cognitive domains has been identified as an urgent concern (e.g. Halverson 2015; Kotze, in press). Several scholars are calling for a philosophical approach to ground constructs that are either irreducibly socio-cognitive or capable of integrating the domains in a principled way. There are few analyses, however, of how key constructs from TIS either require or demonstrate such an ontology. This paper explores two constructs, risk and normativity, which are often proposed as explanatory mechanisms in empirical TIS.

In TIS, the risk construct is primarily situated in the social domain, either as a ‘contextual’ counterpart to cognition, or as implicated in interpersonal relationships in translational settings (Pym 2015). While Pym (2015) does suggest a link between the social and cognitive dimensions in the risk construct, he describes them largely as constituting merely “different levels of analysis” (Pym 2015:67), without any attempt at integration. Moreover, it is difficult to see that the need for a risk construct has been convincingly established – as illustrated, for example, by the questions that still surround the relationship between the notion of risk in translation and the well-established construct of translational norms (Toury 1995/2012). The concept of norms in translation, however, is similarly fraught with tensions between the cognitive and social domains which have not been adequately interrogated.

We propose that many of the epistemological difficulties in TIS constructs can be resolved by adopting a usage-based, socio-cognitive model of language and communication (e.g. Harder 2010). This paper explores how these theoretical frameworks may be put to use in theorizing translational settings, while at the same time obviating the need for constructs that either cannot build the necessary relationships between the social and the cognitive or which violate Occam’s razor.



Halverson, S. (2015) ‘What’s out there vs what’s in there: Social and cognitive domains in translation theory’, Plenary lecture at Translation in Transition, 29-30 January 2015, Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz.

Harder, P. (2010) Meaning in Mind and Society, Berlin: De Gruyter.

Kotze, H. (In press) ‘Converging what and how to find out why: An outlook on empirical translation studies’, in L. Vandevoorde, B. Defranq and J. Daems (eds) Empirical Research in Translation and Interpreting Studies, London and New York: Routledge.

Pym, A. (2015) ‘Translating as Risk Management’, Journal of Pragmatics 85: 67-80.

Toury, G. (1995/2012) Descriptive Translation Studies – And Beyond, revised edition, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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Spencer Hawkins, Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany

Translating Mythic Thinking: Nuances of Translation from Indigenous Languages in Cassirer’s Philosophy of Symbolic Forms

A translation is a new publication and thus involves all of the marketing and framing decisions involved in a publication—not to mention usually featuring entirely new words and expressions. Translation thus reframes ideas in terms of genre and historical impact, but also in terms of rhetoric. It can make a foreign text appear more or less important, for instance, by using figures of auxesis (augmentation) or meiosis (reduction) respectively. A European translation of an indigenous text can thus amplify or reduce its refinement, depending on whether foreign locations are translated to sound sophisticated or made to sound simplistic, to suggest that a culture is inferior to its technocratic counterparts. While scholars of past centuries translated in a manner that was compatible with the nearly unquestioned belief in the superiority of technocracy, contemporary anthropologists like Eduardo Kohn (2013) focus on other-than-scientific conceptuality in ways that redeem indigenous ontologies. This focus calls for different methods of translation.

Epistemicide names the historical tendency to marginalize indigenous knowledge by rendering it incompatible with the insights of contemporary technocratic knowledge. Epistemicide is whatever reinforces cultural hierarchies through “a complex process of deployment of global imperial technologies of subjectivation taking the form of translating and re-writing other cultures, other knowledges and other ways of being, and presuming commensurability through Western rationality” (Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2013:33). This presentation looks specifically at the presentation of mythic thinking in German anthropological theorist Ernst Cassirer’s Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (1953). Compared to French anthropologists, from Charles de Brosses to Lucien Lévy-Bruhl to Claude Levi-Strauss, Cassirer was not a “primitivizing” thinker and at least shied away from such pejorative terms as ‘primitive’. Instead, Cassirer wanted to carve out a legitimate place for mythic thinking within the erstwhile science-specific transcendental episteme of neo-Kantian philosophers like his mentor Hermann Cohen. To find indigenous sources, Cassirer relied on Aby Warburg’s collection of translated indigenous texts and ethnographic accounts. By examining the rhetorical choices made in Cassirer’s cited translations of indigenous language, I consider to what extent this ambivalent witness to turn-of-the-century anthropology mitigated or amplified the epistemicide of indigenous cultures through his engagement with translation.



Cassirer, Ernst (1953) The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, translation of Philosophie Der Symbolischen Formen, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Kohn, Eduardo (2013) How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Sabelo J. (2013) Empire, Global Coloniality and African Subjectivity, Berghahn Books.

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Philipp Hofeneder, Karl-Franzens-University Graz, Austria

Spatializing Translation History

In the 1980s, the concept of space, which had been neglected before in favour of the category of time, became a leading research category in the humanities (Crang and Thrift 2010). In recent years, this shift of focus can also be observed in Translation Studies (for an overview, see Simon 2018). Due to this development, the epistemological understanding of space has been broadened and differentiated.

Initially, space came to be predominantly understood as a discursive category (e.g. cultural spaces in a figurative sense), and thus as the product of social interactions (e.g. relationships between agents). This understanding is nowadays broadened by a physical approach that includes considerations about the material nature of translation (Littau 2016). Where, in a strict sense, does translation take place? Which places do translators come across? Which routes do translators and translations cover? Is it therefore possible to speak of a translation space in a manner that encompasses the planning, production and dissemination of translation? What can this spatial reading tell us about translational phenomena itself?

In my presentation, I will use several examples to demonstrate crucial theoretical and methodological considerations for spatializing translation history. These examples focus on translational phenomena in the first half of 19th century in the Russian Empire. Due to tremendous political, social and cultural changes (e.g. territorial expansions, incorporation of new religious groups, and military threat by Napoleon) a new imperial identity had to be formulated and spread, which should serve as an all-encompassing identity in this plurilingual and multi-ethnic society. Of interest therefore are the highly differentiated and complex movements of translators and translations as well as their location in space. Where do translators translate and how do authorities secure control of their work? Where are translations accessible and for whom are they intended? My main argument is that spatial considerations allow us to deepen our understanding of the role and significance of translation during a certain historical episode.



Crang, M. and N. Thrift (eds) (2010) Thinking Space, London & New York: Routledge.

D’hulst, L. and H. Van Gerwen (2018) ‘Translation Space in Nineteenth-century Belgium: Rethinking translation and transfer directions’, Perspectives 26(4): 495-508.

Littau, K. (2016) ‘Translation and the Materialities of Communication’, Translation Studies 9(1): 82–96.

Simon, S. (2018) ‘Space’, in S-A Harding and O. Carbonell Cortes (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Culture, London & New York: Routledge, 97-112.

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Nataša Jermen and Zdenko Jecić, The Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography, Zagreb, Croatia

Modern Encyclopaedias: From National to Transnational Sources of Organized Knowledge

This paper explores a range of initiatives seeking to build connections across national encyclopaedias within Europe, focusing on the role that Croatian encyclopaedistics plays within this wider project. This transnational partnership between European encyclopaedia publishers aims to tackle common challenges – e.g. providing free access to sources of trustworthy, general knowledge in the post-fact era – whilst promoting Europe’s cultural and linguistic diversity. The first of such initiatives launched in 2008 failed to deliver the European macro-encyclopaedia that it had sought to create by combining various national open access encyclopaedias. The ongoing activities involve the proposed establishment of the association of European encyclopaedia publishers and the development of a range of collaborative projects. The main purposes of these activities are to unify and bolster the diversity of the current online encyclopaedia landscape in Europe, and to challenge the growing ‘fake news’ phenomenon.

The advent of digital technologies has enabled a closer collaboration between professionally edited online encyclopaedias across Europe; ushered in new transnational means of preparing, organizing, systematizing and disseminating enyclopaedic knowledge; changed the epistemic configuration of encyclopaedias and, more widely, shaken the foundations of encyclopaedistics. Against this backdrop of increasing connectivity and accessibility, digital encyclopedias have developed a transnational scope and readership – unlike their traditional printed national counterparts. Additionally, automatic linking across individual databases via machine-readable tagged data facilitates the generation of ontologies and inclusion into the semantic web. This is opening up endless possibilities for interconnection between related content available in different national sources, which in turn is transforming online encyclopaedias into platforms for transnational knowledge networking without the involvement of lingua francas. Apart from facilitating access to reliable knowledge and verified facts in users’ mother tongues, this network of encyclopedias will yield insights into national perspectives on certain topics, which could impact on their objectivity and trustworthiness.



Bentzen, N. (2018) ‘Europe’s Online Encyclopaedias: Equal access to knowledge of general interest’, European Parliamentary Research Service.

Featherstone, M. and C. Venn (2006) ‘Problematizing Global Knowledge and the New Encyclopedia Project’, Theory, Culture & Society 23(2-3): 1-20.

Michel, P., M. Herren and M. Rüesch (2007) Allgemeinwissen und Gesellschaft, Zurich. Available online at www.enzyklopaedie.ch.

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Henry Jones, University of Manchester, UK

Re-framing the Demos and Democracy: Strategies of non-translation in Grote’s History of Greece (1846-56)

George Grote’s (1846-56) History of Greece is one of the defining works of nineteenth-century Britain. Most notable for its ‘glowing’ assessment of classical Athenian democracy, Grote’s magnum opus did not merely replace William Mitford’s (1784-1810) voluminous history (1838) as the definitive account of the rise and fall of the ancient Greek city-states, but it additionally contributed significantly to the radical shift in attitudes towards democratic systems of government that took place in British politics between the 1840s and 1870s (Saxonhouse 1996: 19; Turner 1981: 213). While his predecessors had typically presented Athens’ democracy as ‘ochlocracy’ or ‘mob-rule’ (Mitford 1838, 1: 253), Grote saw in this political model “the privilege, not only of kindling an earnest and unanimous attachment to the constitution in the bosoms of the citizens, but also of creating an energy of public and private action, such as could never be obtained under an oligarchy” (1851, 4: 239). Indeed, so convincing was the analysis and argument provided by his History that, following its publication, the Britons of the mid-nineteenth century increasingly came to envision themselves as “closer to the Athenians of the fifth century B.C. than to the British of the eighteenth century” (Saxonhouse 1996: 21).

This presentation explores a prominent but as yet unexplored feature of Grote’s text, namely, the repeated presence of multiple loanwords from classical Greek, transliterated but not translated within this English-language text. It focuses on Grote’s use of the word dēmos (‘people’) as a particularly intriguing example of this pattern of non-translation and, by applying a corpus-based methodology developed as part of the Genealogies of Knowledge project, attempts to uncover the possible motivations that may have lain behind the adoption of this strategy. I will conclude by arguing that the non-translation of this term allowed Grote to control more effectively the meaning and connotations of democracy for his target audience, and thus to contest dominant conceptions of this political ideology in his contemporary society.



Grote, G. (1846-56) A History of Greece, 12 vols., London: John Murray.

Mitford, W. ([1784-1810] 1838) The History of Greece, 5 vols., London: T. Cadell.

Saxonhouse, A. W. (1996) Athenian Democracy: Modern mythmakers and ancient theorists, Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Turner, F. (1981) The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

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Kamran I. Karimullah, University of Manchester, UK

Genealogies of Sex: Translation and the Formation of the Modern Arabic Medical lexicon, 1800–1882

Mehmed Ali Pasha (r. 1805–1848) and his heirs inaugurated a radical shift in Arabic medical discourse when they commissioned the translation of a large number of European scientific, historical, and philosophical texts into Arabic (Kuhnke, 1990). This ‘translation movement’ not only heralded a medical renaissance in Egypt, but ushered in a new way of conceptualising sex and gender in the Middle East (Gadelrab, 2016; Fahmy, 1998). Beginning in the 1820s and coinciding with the opening of al-Qaṣr al-ʿAynī, the first modern medical school and hospital in Egypt, dozens of medical texts were translated into Arabic mainly from French medical textbooks whose principles relating to sex and gender differed fundamentally from traditional Graeco-Arabic medicine (Gadelarab, 2010; Selove and Batten, 2014; Fancy, 2017; Ragab, 2015; Ze’evi, 2006). Yet the translators who produced these new medical textbooks were obliged to draw on the contemporary Graeco-Arabic medical lexicon in order to render modern medical concepts and terminology into Arabic (Fahmy, 2019). The result of these herculean efforts is a collection of nineteenth-century medical Arabic texts of several million words. Even if the legacy of these texts was not fully realized after 1882 when the British changed the language of medical instruction in Egypt to English, this collection offers a unique opportunity to investigate the many ways in which Arabic medical language and concepts relating to sex and gender evolved during this crucial period.

This paper presents a provisional, corpus-based analysis of medical language relating to sex and gender in modern Arabic medical discourse, based on a small electronic corpus consisting of a subset of the nineteenth-century medical translations referred to above. After a brief sketch of the historical background of the texts within the culture of translation inspired by Muḥammad ʿAlī’s interest in European political and scientific thought (Abu-Lughod, 2011), I will offer a quantitative and qualitative overview of the corpus. A case-study will then be presented which will consist of a comparative analysis of collocational patterns in one text on women’s health and gynaecology compared to patterning of the same lexical items in the Genealogies of Knowledge Arabic subcorpus of Graeco-Arabic medical discourse. The analysis will aim to show how the meanings of terms relating to sex and gender are transformed by translation. The resources created and the corpus-based methodology applied will be shown to hold great potential not only to gender studies, but to medical historians, historians of science, and scholars of the early modern and modern Middle East.



Abu-Lughod I (2011). The Arab Rediscovery of Europe: A Study in Cultural Encounters. Saqi Press: London.

Fahmy K (2018) In Quest of Justice: Islamic Law and Forensic Medicine in Modern Egypt. University of California Press: Berkeley.

Fahmy K (1998) Women, medicine, and power in nineteenth-century Egypt. In: Abu-Lughod L (ed) Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East. Princeton University Press: Princeton, pp 35-72.

Fancy N (2017) Womb heat versus sperm heat: Hippocrates against Galen and Ibn Sīnā in Ibn al-Nafīs’s commentaries. Oriens 45(1-2): pp 150-175.

Gadelarab S (2016) Medicine and Morality in Egypt: Gender and Sexuality in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries. IB Tauris: London.

Gadelarab S (2010) Discourses on sex differences in medieval Islamic thought. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 66(1): pp 40-81.

Kuhnke, L (1990) Lives at Risk: Public Health in Nineteenth-Century Egypt. University of California Press: Berkeley.

Ragab A (2015) One, two, or many sexes: Sex differentiation in medieval Islamicate medical thought. Journal of the History of Sexuality 24(3): pp 428-454.

Selove E and Batten R (2014) Making men and women: Arabic commentaries on the Gynaecological Hippocratic Aphorisms in Context. Annales islamologiques 48(1): pp 239-262.

Ze’evi D (2006) Producing Desire: Changing Sexual Discourse in the Ottoman Middle East, 1500-1900. University of California Press: Berkeley.

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Kwok Man Ka Sinead, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Linguistic Equivalence Versus Untranslatability: Linguistic and Epistemological Assumptions Underlying Epistemic Translation

The conception of translation as knowledge transfer is based on the premise that in order to acquire knowledge written in a certain language one must know the meanings of the words in that language. Rooted in this premise, Western translation theorists mainly focus on achieving linguistic equivalence and develop translation approaches which can better retain and transmit the original meanings. The other side of the coin is the relativistic thesis of untranslatability and poststructuralist theories of delayed meanings, which deny the possibility of achieving linguistic equivalence. From these relativistic and poststructuralist perspectives, Western theories are accused of exploiting translation as an act of epistemic violence, where untranslatable or hidden meanings in a subaltern language and the embedded non-Western, “non-scientific form[s] of knowledge” (Santos et al. 2007:xix) are subsumed and obliterated by Western modernity’s “epistemic territory” (Vázquez 2011:35) under the illusion of a transparent representation of the subaltern in the name of linguistic equivalence. Epistemic translation may thus be understood as a phenomenon where the source (the subaltern) cannot speak (Spivak 1988), in the sense of communicating meanings and knowledges to the target (Western) interlocutor, who mutes and erases the source.

This presentation will argue that theories of both linguistic equivalence and untranslatability, while incompatible in many respects, rely on the same set of linguistic-epistemic misbeliefs – at the core is the questionable presupposition of two public language codes such as English and Hindu, which represent linguistic systems known to all members of certain communities, with translation taking place between them. This assumption conceptualizes translation as a process of transferring meanings and knowledge from one language code to another, and hence feeds the concepts of linguistic equivalence and untranslatability. I propose to revisit the issue of epistemic translation (violence) without upholding the linguistic-epistemic misassumptions it has long relied upon, by considering language and knowledge as individual, creative activities rather than transferrable, shared items that belong to specific codes (Harris 2009).



Harris, R. (2009) After Epistemology, Gamlingay: Bright Pen.

Santos, B. S., J.A. Nunes and M.P. Meneses (2007) ‘Opening Up the Canon of Knowledge and Recognition of Difference’, in B.S. Santos (ed.) Another Knowledge is Possible, Beyond Northern Epistemologies, London: Verso, xix–lvii.

Spivak, G.C. (1988) ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’, in C. Nelson and L. Grossberg (eds) Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, Basingstoke: Macmillan Education, 271-313.

Vázquez, R. (2011) ‘Translation as Erasure: Thoughts on Modernity’s Epistemic Violence’, Journal of Historical Sociology 24(1): 27-44.

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René Lemieux, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada

‘English is an Anishinaabe Language too’. Assessing the Role of Translation in the Resurgence of Indigenous Legal Orders in Canada

This presentation aims to provide an overview of issues related to multilingualism in the resurgence of indigenous legal traditions in Canada, through an analysis of the ideological positions on translation and non-translation, both intra- and interlingual, within legal scholarship. The state of Canada currently recognizes two distinct legal traditions: civil law of French origin and common law of English origin. A third legal tradition is currently growing in importance and gaining increasing attention in jurisprudence: the various legal traditions of the Indigenous peoples in Canada (Friedland and Napoleon 2015). This is sometimes referred to as legal pluralism.

The question to be raised here is: in which languages can these legal traditions be expressed? A few scholars think that Indigenous laws have to be expressed in Indigenous languages. Other disagree. The title of this paper comes originally from one of the most influential Indigenous law scholars in Canada, the Anishinaabe John Borrows: “After 400 years, English is now an Anishnaabe language too” (Borrows 2016:809–11). This characterization of English aims to demonstrate that an Indigenous legal tradition does not absolutely have to be linked to a certain language. Recognizing he is not a fluent Anishinaabemowin speaker, Borrows mainly expresses a pragmatic opinion in order to acknowledge a situation: indigenous legal principles can also be developed within the English language. This presentation will assess this assertion by analysing the current efforts to use English in lieu of an Indigenous language to express Indigenous concepts, a process that I see as both intralingual and interlingual translation (Jakobson 1959). As I will try to show, for numerous scholars, using a colonial language as a way to translate Indigenous perspectives on legal issues can be seen as an act of decolonization, a way to counter the violence of the English assimilation and an active practice to avoid the epistemicide of their tradition (Santos 2014).



Borrows, John (2016) ‘Heroes, Tricksters, Monsters, and Caretakers: Indigenous Law and Legal Education’, McGill Law Journal 61(4): 795–846.

Friedland, Hadley and Val Napoleon (2015) ‘Indigenous Legal Traditions: Roots to Renaissance’, in The Oxford Handbook of Criminal Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 225–47.

Jakobson, Roman (1959) ‘On Linguistic Aspects of Translation’, in R.A. Brower (ed.) On Translation, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 232–239.

Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (2014) Epistemologies of the South: Justice against Epistemicide, Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.

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Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, State University of Applied Sciences in Konin, Poland
Piotr Pęzik, University of Łódź, Poland

Cardinal Directions Extended: Dynamics of the Forms East and West in Polish and English

The forms east and west are polysemous in many world languages, where they prototypically refer to cardinal directions. In the course of time their use has been dynamically extended to form polysemous clusters. The focus of the present paper is to present the dynamicity of these conceptual developments in Polish and British and American English (both original and translated texts), and to develop a typology of these shifts in terms of pragmatic, evaluative and connotative conditioning.

In terms of methodology, our research involves the use of reference and parallel corpus data and tools (Pęzik 2016). We look at recurrent constructions comprising the words east and west in reference corpora of Polish as well as British and American English spanning several decades of public discourse (1980-2019). Using computational techniques we identify both fully lexicalized and open-ended multiword units and explore diachronic shifts in their denotative, evaluative and emotional meanings. The conventionalized expressions identified in the reference corpora, which attest to the conceptualizations of the East and West in the respective cultures, are then examined with respect to their distribution in Polish-English parallel corpora and the conventionality of their translational equivalents. The final part of the study investigates the directed networks of polysemic concepts, demonstrating their diachronic dynamics as well as areas of their linguistic and cultural similarity and divergence.

In this way, we explore how the direction concepts develop their distinct social, political and cultural senses. For example, we discuss how the concept of the West in Europe conjures up a different frame of reference than in the USA, where it is associated with the Wild West and connotes ‘historic frontier, a place of freedom, open spaces, new starts, and […] manliness’ (MacNeill 1997:513). In Polish and British English, however, we find that the West generally refers to Western Europe and, to identify the US West, modifying expressions are added. Other differences also develop: the West is prototypically used to refer to West European democratic countries, while its political sense encompasses Japan, Australia, and other overseas, clearly non-western, locations. The form east demonstrates an even broader range of references. Whereas in the 19th century, the East was considered a territory of deeper wisdom and spirituality (Ex oriente lux), in more contemporary contexts the East is perceived either as a place of chaos and corruption or, with reference to the Far East, associated with exquisite subtlety and serenity.



MacNeill, W. (1997) ‘What We Mean by the West’, Orbis 41(4): 513-524.

Pęzik, P. (2016) ‘Exploring Phraseological Equivalence with Paralela’, in Ewa Gruszczyńska and Agnieszka Leńko-Szymańska (eds) Polish-Language Parallel Corpora, Warsaw: University of Warsaw Press, 67–81.

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Boya Li, University of Ottawa, Canada

Self-Censorship in Chinese Fansubbing: A Corpus-based Approach

This paper examines how a community of Chinese fansubbers mediates offensive language and curse words when subtitling Anglophone TV dramas. Since the early 2000s, fansubbing groups have played a major role in the translation of foreign media products into Mandarin – thus facilitating the penetration and circulation of such content into and within mainland China. The data set analyzed in this study consists of subtitles produced by YYeTs, one of China’s largest amateur subtitling networks.

While fansubbing has attracted growing attention from audiovisual translation scholars over the last decade, the prevalence of self-censorship in fansubbing remains underexplored to date. Studies on commercial audiovisual translation reveal that professional audiovisual translators often engage in self-censorship by omitting or toning down offensive language or ‘marked speech’ (Díaz Cintas and Remael 2007) both in subtitled and dubbed content. More widely, the workflow of commercial subtitling often involves authorities making decisions as to what fictional characters should and should not say in specific situations based on a range of parameters, including the intended audience and the intended airing time (Beseghi 2016). As a result, offensive language is often toned down, even in those cases where the use of emotionally charged and curse words serves specific characterization purposes (Díaz Cintas and Remael 2007) and the neutralization process may be detrimental to the perception of the diegetic narrative (Wang and Han 2014).

This presentation reports on a corpus-based study of the prevalence of self-censorship in the fansubbing of vulgar language into Chinese. A parallel corpus (English-Chinese) consisting of transcriptions of approximately 18 hours of fictional dialogues from a selection of episodes from four different American TV series was interrogated using AntPConc (Anthony 2017). My results show that offensive language tends to be toned down and neutralized in fansubbed content, thus calling for more research on the causes and manifestations of self-censorship in fan/amateur subtitling.



Anthony, L. (2017) AntPConc (1.2.0) [Computer Software] Tokyo: Waseda University. Available online: http://www.antlab.sci.waseda.ac.jp.

Beseghi, M. (2016) ‘WTF! Tabo Language in TV Series: An Analysis of Professional and Amateur Translation’, Altre Modernità, 1 February 2016, 215-231.

Díaz Cintas, J. and A. Remael (2007) Audiovisual Translation: Subtitling, London and New York: Routledge.

Han, C. and K. Wang (2014) ‘Subtitling Swearwords in Reality TV Series from English into Chinese: A corpus-based study of The Family’, The International Journal for Translation & Intepreting Research 6(2): 1-17.

Jiménez-Crespo, M. A. (2017) Crowdsourcing and Online Collaborative Translations: Expanding the limits of translation studies, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

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Marianne Maeckelbergh, Universiteit Gent & Leiden University, Belgium & The Netherlands

The G8 protest in Japan: translating across political histories and contexts under state repression

Transnational coordination and communication have become increasingly important themes in scholarship on social movements. The alterglobalization movement is one of the most globally networked movements in recent history. As part of its repertoire, every year thousands of people travel from around the world to protest the G8, the gathering of the world’s eight most powerful leaders. When the G8 came to Japan in 2008, local activists decided to organize a mobilization similar to those previously held in Western Europe and North America. The shift from Europe to Japan, however, proved more difficult than anticipated. I explore three factors that together hindered the mobilization: trust, miscommunication, and state repression. Each of these factors was connected to the problem of translating across political histories and contexts. The broader political and social context in which this translation occurred made the communication across languages far more difficult than anticipated. Through an analysis of action planning meetings, I explore how interpersonal trust combined with dynamics of individual and collective risk shape relations of inclusion, exclusion, and hierarchy. I describe the interplay among trust, miscommunication, and repression to show how interpersonal trust undermined the movement’s own goal of prefiguring more horizontal political structures and, paradoxically, expanded the impact of state repression by creating an individuation of responsibility that implicated movement actors themselves in narrowing the forms of protest available.

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Kobus Marais, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Constraining the Extended Mind: A Cognitive-semiotic Approach to Intersemiotic Translation

Terrence Deacon (1997, 2012) has been an influential thinker in recent efforts to explain the origins of and conditions for the emergence of novel phenomena, including meaning. Linking Peircean semiotics to Eastern philosophy, cognitive theory and theoretical physics, his “theory of the absential” considers constraints as a key concept in thinking about emergence. In this line of thinking, novel features emerge neither bottom-up, i.e. from the parts to the whole, nor top-down, i.e. from the whole to the parts. Rather, it is the constraints that operate on any given state of affairs that account for the emergence of novel features.

Linking Deacon’s thought to the work of cognitive semioticians like Queiroz (Queiroz and Ata 2019), I further explore the notion of constraints and its implications for the extended mind hypothesis. In particular, I am interested in seeing how the notion of constraints can be refined and operationalized in cases of intersemiotic translation. In this conceptual presentation, I take as point of departure an argument that I made elsewhere (Marais 2019), namely that translation studies needs to pay much more attention to intersemiotic translation. Though conceptual, my presentation will outline the groundwork for empirical research on the emergence of social-cultural patterns and artefacts, illustrating the argument with examples from a project on early-childhood development in South Africa.



Deacon, T. (1997). The symbolic species: The co-evolution of language and the brain. New York: WW Norton & Company.

Deacon, T. W. (2012, September 12). Incomplete nature: How mind emerged from matter. (T. Palmer, Interviewer) Sane Society. Retrieved March 29, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvFE1Au3S8U

Marais, K. (2019). A (bio)semiotic theory of translation: The emergence of social-cultural reality. New York: Routledge.

Queiroz, J., & Ata, P. (2019). Intersemiotic translation as an abductive cognitive artifact. In K. Marais, & R. Meylaerts (Eds.), Complexity and translation: Methodological considerations. New York: Routledge.

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Álvaro Marín García, University of Essex, UK

Towards a Pluralist Approach to Translation Theory Development

In the last decades, Translation Studies (TS) has grown into a discipline that investigates all forms of cross-cultural, cross-linguistic communicative events, as well as related phenomena that range from the cognitive and the social to the ideological and the historical. The broadening of the object of study has brought along a multiplicity of tools for data gathering as well as interpretation —concepts and constructs that are key in the development and understanding of a new theoretical apparatus. In this process, TS scholars have adopted a wealth of research methods and analytical perspectives from numerous disciplines and epistemic traditions. The borrowings, however, are not always comparable or commensurable. A clear example often highlighted is the distance between postmodern theory as applied to investigations of literary translations in Postcolonial Studies and Cognitive TS, where epistemic commitments are radically different if not directly opposed.

Despite the view, uncritically adopted from the hard sciences, that strong disciplines tend to the establishment of one, all-encompassing paradigm (Kuhn 1962), and therefore that TS should strive for one epistemological tradition, I claim that epistemic contradictions are connatural to every healthy discipline (see Chang 2012), and that divergent epistemic commitments are to be found even within apparently homogenous scientific fields. More importantly, I claim that this discord, this epistemic plurality, is not necessarily detrimental to theory development in TS, but rather the opposite. In elaborating my argument, I will defend epistemic pluralism, or the acceptance that there is more than one valid way of knowing, as the optimal approach to theory development. I will illustrate this point with two case studies from different subfields within TS: a) the development of cognitive TS constructs to research expertise development in interpersonal settings, and b) the combination of qualitative and quantitative perspectives in an interdisciplinary project on translation practices and their influence in contemporary Spanish intellectual history. Pluralism is here advocated as an alternative both to monist and positivist approaches, but also to relativism. Far from being a relativist stance defending that all systems of knowledge are equally useful or appropriate, pluralism entails and requires an assessment mechanism to compare the clarity, adequacy, consistency and effectiveness of research constructs. To that end I introduce my own framework (Marín García 2019) for the assessment of constructs to navigate theoretical plurality on the basis of comparison. Only by embracing plurality can TS theory grow in a strong and interdisciplinary way that can do justice to the complex and multifarious nature of translation and its related phenomena and concepts.



Chang, H. (2012) Is Water H2O? Evidence, realism and pluralism, New York: Springer.

Kuhn, T. (2012) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Marín García, Álvaro (forthcoming 2019) ‘The Opportunities of Epistemic Pluralism for Cognitive Translation Studies’, Translation, Cognition & Behavior 2(2).

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Adrienne Mason, The University of Bristol, UK

Translating Landscape: A Case Study of the Translator as Knowledge Producer

Translation studies are acknowledged globally as an academic field, but institutional recognition for translation practice as a form of knowledge production is largely denied (Venuti 2017). In this paper, I challenge that denial, arguing that practitioner-researchers deploy a distinctive set of bi-lingual and bi-cultural competences in the construction of new hybrid texts, making an independent contribution to knowledge as translators.

I base my argument on a case study of French and English versions of Michel Baridon’s Naissance et renaissance du paysage (2006), translated as The Discovery of Landscape. The French text traces the emergence of the concept of ‘paysage’ before the term entered the language in the sixteenth century. It takes the form of a critical compilation of 73 images and over 400 extracts, almost all quoted in translation, drawn from texts in a variety of languages from Sumerian to Old Icelandic. Comparing French and English versions of Baridon’s text, I discuss the impact of translation in the construction of the concepts of paysage/landscape to show how translators potentially contribute to transdisciplinary research (cf. Alfer 2017).

‘Landscape is tension’ (Wylie 2007:5) and there is no transdisciplinary consensus on definitions of ‘landscape’ or of ‘paysage’. The French source text was inspired by controversial debates on the ‘origins’ of paysage which arose in France in the late 1990s. Arguing that the term ‘paysage’ was coined in the artist’s studio, some French theorists posited a rupture between the paysages of artists and writers, which are an aesthetic category, and the scientifically constructed ‘paysages’ of geographers or environmentalists, which are not (Nadaï 2007). In Anglophone research communities, there were comparable debates around the term ‘landscape’, but its ‘broken etymology’ (DeLue and Elkins, 2008: 92) did not support the sharp categorical distinction that divided French scholars. These different conceptual perspectives are discernible in the French and English translations of the extracts quoted in Baridon’s text. Drawing on key examples from Pliny the Younger and Vitruvius, I show how French and English translations of the same extracts interact differently with the respective critical commentaries in which they are embedded. The textual voices of translators create an intertextual dialogue in each volume which reflects and shapes different ways of conceptualizing landscape and paysage.

The source text used for this case study is:

Baridon, M. (2006) Naissance et renaissance du paysage, Arles: Actes Sud (the translation has been accepted for publication by an American press, but has not yet appeared).



Alfer, A. (2017) ‘Entering the Translab’, Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts, John Benjamins 3(3): 275–290.

DeLue, R. and J. Elkins (2008) Landscape Theory: The art seminar 6, Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Nadaï, A. (2007) ‘Degré zéro. Portée et limites de la théorie de l’artialisation dans la perspective d’une politique du paysage’, Cahiers de géographie du Québec, Département de géographie de l’Université Laval 51(144), 333.

Venuti, L. (ed.) (2017) Teaching Translation: Programs, courses, pedagogies, Abingdon & New York: Routledge.

Wylie, J. (2007) Landscape, Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

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Virginia Mattioli, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

Reconfiguring Relationships in the Modern City: Catalan, Spanish and English Versions of the Social Campaign Let’s share Barcelona

Catalunya, especially Barcelona, has seen a significant rise in the number of immigrants and visitors to the region in recent years, resulting in two types of social-cultural challenge. On the one hand, the growth in the number of people arriving in the Catalan capital with a view to living and working in the city for different lengths of time demands attention to issues of interlinguistic communication. On the other hand, this situation also requires negotiating the tension between the needs of long term inhabitants and those of short or medium term visitors, and reconciling cultural differences in attitude and behaviour.

To address these issues, the Barcelona City Council initiated a social campaign aimed at reconciling the life style of permanent dwellers and that of temporary visitors to the city. Let’s Share Barcelona, launched as part of this wider campaign, is a collection of graphic posters that encourage respectful and tolerant behaviour in relation to several aspects of metropolitan life, such as the use of urban furniture in public spaces and appropriate ways of disposing of garbage. These posters have been translated into different languages in order to reach the largest number of people in the city. I draw on a corpus of 32 banners in Catalan, Spanish and English, which will be analyzed from a sociolinguistic and semiotic perspective. The analysis will demonstrate that divergences between the three language versions influence the perception of the messages communicated by the posters. While the Spanish and Catalan banners foreground the feelings and needs of long term inhabitants, emphasizing a sense of belonging to the city, the English translations do not evoke any sense of belonging and instead function as an indictment of tourists’ attitudes and behaviour.

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Julie McDonough Dolmaya, York University, Ontario, Canada

Using Social Network Analysis and visualization software to identify conflicts in Wikipedia: A case study of translation-related Wikipedia articles

Research investigating neutrality, conflicts and controversies in Wikipedia has tended to focus on articles about political figures, conflict zones, contentious scientific theories and other issues likely to generate debate among Wikipedians (Rogers 2013, Shuttleworth 2018, Esteves Gonçalves da Costa and Cukierman 2019). As Jones has demonstrated, however, controversies can arise even in articles about seemingly uncontentious topics such as the city of Paris (Jones 2018) or Tokyo (Jones 2019). Likewise, Torres-Simón (2018) has discussed the wide variety of contrasting definitions of translation circulating within and across the many different language editions of the Wikipedia platform. The methods used to identify and explore these disagreements have varied, and have included studying the Talk pages, the number of edits made to an article, and changes in an article over time. In my presentation, I will build on work by Torres-Simón (2018), Kimmerele et al. (2009) and Borra et al. (2014) to show how Social Network Analysis and graphing software can be used to map out the connections between English Wikipedia articles related to translation, to explore how these connections have changed over time and to consider how these changes can be used to identify potential areas of conflict among articles related to translation. In this way, I intend to demonstrate how network visualization software, which has been used in translation studies to depict the connections between translators, could also be applied to study connections between translation-related concepts in online knowledge-sharing platforms.   



Borra, Erik, Esther Weltevrede, Paolo Ciuccarelli, Andreas Kaltenbrunner, David Laniado, Giovanni Magni, Michele Mauri, Richard Rogers, and Tommaso Venturini. 2014. “Contropedia – the Analysis and Visualization of Controversies in Wikipedia Articles.” In Proceedings of The International Symposium on Open Collaboration – OpenSym ’14, 1–1. Berlin, Germany: ACM Press. https://doi.org/10.1145/2641580.2641622.

Esteves Gonçalves da Costa, Bernardo, and Henrique Luiz Cukierman. 2019. “How Anthropogenic Climate Change Prevailed: A Case Study of Controversies around Global Warming on Portuguese Wikipedia.” New Media & Society 21 (10): 2261–82. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444819838227.

Jones, Henry. 2018. “Wikipedia, Translation and the Collaborative Production of Spatial Knowledge.” Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics 38: 264–97.

Jones, Henry. 2019. “Wikipedia as a Translation Zone: A Heterotopic Analysis of the Online Encyclopedia and Its Collaborative Volunteer Translator Community.” Target 31 (1): 77–97. https://doi.org/10.1075/target.18062.jon.

Kimmerle, Joachim, Johannes Moskaliuk, Andreas Harrer, and Ulrike Cress. 2010. “Visualizing co-evolution of individual and collective knowledge.” Information, Communication & Society 13 (8): 1099–1121. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691180903521547.

Shuttleworth, Mark. 2018. “Translation and the Production of Knowledge in Wikipedia: Chronicling the Assassination of Boris Nemtsov.” Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics 38: 231–63.

Torres-Simón, Ester. 2018. “The Concept of Translation in Wikipedia.” Translation Studies 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/14781700.2018.1534605.               

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Christopher D. Mellinger (University of North Carolina at Charlotte, US) and Thomas A. Hanson (Butler University, US)

Latent Variable Analysis in Translation and Interpreting Studies: Ontology, Epistemology, and Methodology

Quantitative research involving human subjects often employs Likert-type scales to measure latent variables. A diverse range of such underlying, hypothetical variables (e.g. self-efficacy, quality measures) are of interest to scholars in Translation and Interpreting (T&I) Studies. Therefore, a rigorous research agenda that investigates human subjects in various T&I sub-disciplines demands the development of theoretically-grounded scales to quantify otherwise unobservable traits, characteristics, or beliefs.

However, quantitative research methods, including factor analysis and other statistical methods involving surveys, are too often taught and learned without sufficient emphasis on the philosophical foundation of latent variable analysis. This shortcoming is perhaps due partly to the need to devote sufficient time to mastering the mathematics and software involved in the analysis of survey data. Nevertheless, allowing the data and associated mathematics to lead any investigation is to abdicate a primary responsibility to engage in research with a solid theoretical grounding. To ensure validity, inclusive of all types but especially construct validity, theories and formal definitions must precede the development of any survey scale, because the mathematics of factor analysis is intrinsically under-determined. That is to say, multiple statistical models can be fit to the same observed data, so the underlying theoretical structure must be pre-specified.

Therefore, the validity of survey scales exists at the ontological level, not the epistemological. In particular, latent variable analysis is dependent upon a realist ontology, in which researchers presuppose the existence of the trait being measured (Borsboom 2005). Epistemological fallibilism relies on this ontological realism and allows the relationship between the formal and empirical measures to be considered causal (Messick 1989). One consequence of these philosophical stances is the rejection of formative survey measures in favor of reflective scales, which assume scores reflect inter-individual differences on an underlying construct and possess local independence in the statistical sense necessary for modeling (Howell et al. 2007).

This proposal argues that methodologists must emphasize not only the statistical aspects of quantitative research but also the underlying philosophical position. In particular, T&I scholars should build valid survey scales based on extant and developing theories. Second, researchers should exercise caution when considering the use of formative scales, since latent variable analytical techniques are likely not philosophically consistent with formative scales. Third, studies need to replicate, apply, and extend survey scales to establish their psychometric properties of reliability and validity.



Borsboom, D. (2005) Measuring the Mind: Conceptual issues in contemporary psychometrics, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Howell, R. D., E. Breivik and J. B. Wilcox (2007) ‘Reconsidering formative measurement’, Psychological Methods 12(2): 205–218.

Messick, S. (1989) ‘Validity’, in R. L. Linn (ed.) Educational Measurement, New York: Macmillan, 13-103.

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Faten Morsy, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

“My Name is Tawaddud”: An Arab/Muslim Female Intellectual Challenges Established Gender Epistemologies

Drawing on the classic notion of collective memory developed by the French philosopher and sociologist Maurice Halbwachs, and the more recent notions of communicative and cultural memory proposed by Jan Assmann, this presentation attempts to explore the role of cultural memory in communicating and renegotiating knowledge across several generations. It reads the socio-cultural critical work of the Muslim feminist writer Fatema Mernissi (1940-2015) through the lens of Tawaddud, the famous slave-girl in the court of Harun Al Rashid who was known for her unmatched erudition and extraordinary sagacious mind. Mernissi marvels at how ‘in the medieval Orient, despots like Harun Ar-Rachid appreciated defiantly intelligent slave-girls’ like Tawaddud while ‘in enlightened eighteenth-century Europe, philosophers like Kant dreamt of silent women’ (Mernissi 1965:94). I will argue that by adopting Tawaddud as her role model, Mernissi seems to assert that in the Arab/Islamic tradition women have always been at the centre of the very structure of knowledge, where the preservation and circulation of cultural memory are made possible through different carriers of culture that include such forms as narratives, songs, texts and rituals. Mernissi’s deployment of such female figures as Shahrazad and Tawaddud in the famous compendium of stories The One Thousand and One Nights has a two-fold role. First, it aims to deconstruct Orientalist views of Arab/Muslim women in general. Second, it aims to promote and ultimately construct a sexually differentiated structure of the female speaking subject. Such a new speaking subject is no longer understood as an ahistorical object, but rather as a body linked to, and interwoven with, a plurality of systems: political, cultural, economic, and historical. The new feminine subject is a site of contestation where socio cultural and political struggles play out, are heard by all, refashioned and retransmitted on a woman’s own terms.



Mernissi, F. (1965) Scheherazade Goes West: Different cultures, different harems, New York: Washington Square Press.

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María Luisa Rodríguez Muñoz, University of Cordoba, Spain

The Role of Translation in Spanish Contemporary Art Museums: The Case of Jenny Holzer. Lo Indescriptible at the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum

From 1985 to 2014, the number of contemporary art museums in Spain rose from 4 to 50. Such growth entails a constant multilingual textual flow which, in many cases, requires translation into Spanish. Historians define the 21st-century museum as ‘the privileged place for the consumption of experiences’ (Ritzer and Stillman 2003) in which patrons have shifted their gaze from the object to the subject, from preservation to diffusion, and from silence to extroversion and leisure. This change in paradigm is reflected in the Spanish legislation, which clearly sets out the educational purpose of museums. In fact, creating and translating support materials for visitors serve as important ways for national exhibition centers to improve access for a wider public. Likewise, the increasingly marked presence of language as an expressive form in contemporary art has granted the word a privileged place in postmodern art techniques in which the idea prevails over the object (Goldman 2001). Thus, language can be key to enjoying and valuing the artwork.

This presentation focuses on the role of translation in the exhibition of an international verbal artist in a Spanish museum in which leaflets, labels, and audio guides are offered. I first analyse the texts produced for Jenny Holzer. Lo indescriptible held at Bilbao Guggenheim Museum in 2019 by the American artist Jenny Holzer. This phase of the study consists of two parts: on the one hand, we isolate and classify the English messages of the displayed artefacts and installations and, on the other, we collect the English and Spanish paratexts (Liao 2011) published for the visiting public.

Secondly, we identify the challenges and the techniques involved in translating those paratexts as well as the installations ‘Truisms’ and ‘Inflammatory Essays’. In this regard, it is important to mention the triple textual authorship (that of the artist, the curator, and the museum), the miscellaneous profile of visitors, the skopos of these pieces considering the artist’s ideological message (Vidal-Claramonte 2003) and her desire to interact with the public. Finally the role of translation at the exhibition is discussed in relation to its effect upon the aesthetic experience, emotions, and reactions of the audience.



Goldman, A. (2001) ‘The Aesthetic’, in B. Gaut and D. McIver Lopes (eds) The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics, London: Routledge: 384-393.

Liao, M-H. (2011) ‘Museum Texts: Intentionality and acceptability’, JosTrans: The Journal of Specialised Translation 6(2): 99-110.

Ritzer, G. and T. Stillman (2003) ‘El Museo como catedral de consumo: Desafíos y peligros’, Mus-A: Revista de los museos de Andalucía (1): 32-34.

Vidal-Claramonte, A. C. (2003) ‘(Mis)Translating Degree Zero. Ideology and conceptual Art’, in María Calzada-Pérez (ed.) Apropos of Ideology, Manchester: St Jerome: 71-87.

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Ricardo Muñoz Martin, MC2 Lab, DIT, University of Bologna, Italy

Where Does it Hurt? Learning from the Parallels between Medicine and Cognitive Translation Studies

Worries about borrowing being ingrained in the very nature of cognitive translation studies, and of an imbalance in the mutual influence between disciplines (cf. O’Brien 2013) tend to overlook the difference between basic and applied research and, consequently, between sciences and applied sciences. Applied sciences are different from ‘regular’ sciences in that the former use scientific knowledge and methods of the latter so as to reach practical or useful results. Engineering and medicine are probably the most popular examples that come to mind, but Cognitive Translation Studies (CTS) can also be seen as an applied science. Basic concepts such as life, death and health are socially determined and unstable, often even essentially contested (Gallie 1956), and so are notions such as meaning, language, translation, equivalence, and the like. Medical researchers, like other in the natural sciences are, nevertheless, able to propose generalizations from empirical research, perhaps because they set research goals that do not involve having to define what appears to be undefinable (Janicki 2006:55).

Applied sciences entail a commitment to improve their objects of study. In our case, improving the mental processes of people involved in multimodal, multilectal mediated communication events boils down to improving translator training, translation production processes and, ultimately, translation quality. We have not advanced too much in this realm. Entangled as we are with correct interpretive criticisms of positivism, we often fall back into crypto-prescriptive traditions (e.g. Relevance Theory) which may well cohere, but do not find much backing in the everyday experience of participants in mediated communicative events. We need to switch our concerns from structural or model-internal validity (does the model cohere?) to empirical validity – does the model fit with observable reality? (Muñoz 2010). In doing so, we may avoid he problems of generalizing mathematical models to human beings, while accepting both levels of study that do not entail quantification and an epistemological relativism justified by results, as suggested by Marín (2019).



Gallie, W. B. (1956) ‘Essentially Contested Concepts’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 56(1): 167–198. Available at https://doi.org/10.1093/aristotelian/56.1.167

Janicki, K. (2006) Language Misconceived. Arguing for applied cognitive sociolinguistics, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Marín García, Á. (2019) ‘The Opportunities of Epistemic Pluralism for Cognitive Translation Studies’, Translation, Cognition & Behavior 2(2): 165–185.

Muñoz Martín, R. (2010) ‘Leave no Stone Unturned: On the development of cognitive translatology’, Translation & Interpreting Studies 5(2): 145–162.

O’Brien, S. (2013) ‘The Borrowers: Researching the cognitive aspects of translation’, Target 25(1): 5-17. https://doi.org/10.1075/target.25.1.02obr

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Sharon O’Brien, Dublin City University, Ireland

From Fixations to Agency: Reflecting on Methods and Constructs in Research on Cognition and Translation Technology

Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) tools have impacted significantly not only on the process of translation, but also on the translation product and the translation profession. The introduction of Translation Memory tools on a large-scale in specific sectors of the translation profession inspired researchers to ask questions about the impact of segmentation in a TM tool from a product and process perspective (Dragsted 2004) or on the effect technology has on the translator’s cognitive activity (Pym 2011). Researchers have also been interested in questions relating to User Experience (UX), drawing from the field of Human-Computer Interaction to investigate levels of satisfaction with translation technology. Subsequently, success in phrase-based MT and more recently in neural network MT has resulted in a new layer of technology being implemented and consequently new questions on the cognitive impact of these technologies have emerged. For example, there have been investigations of the cognitive effort associated with MT and post-editing, or MT and reading and comprehension, often measured via eye tracking and/or keyboard logging (e.g. Daems 2016). A focus has also emerged that seeks to build knowledge about our interactions with tools from a sociological perspective (e.g. Olohan 2011, Cadwell et al. 2018). These investigations have drawn on numerous constructs, ranging from the eye-mind hypothesis, to cognitive ergonomics and cognitive flow, to agency. Furthermore, they utilize diverse methods ranging from eye tracking, to keyboard logging, to workplace observation, to focus groups and surveys. This represents a very broad range of epistemological stances, methodologies, methods and constructs. The presentation will reflect on this diversity, to take stock of the epistemological perspectives in cognitive research on translation technology, taking examples from recent work on machine translation in particular, and to ask if such diversity has served us well in our quest to understand the translator’s interaction with technology, and what directions this community of practice may need to take to enhance understanding of cognition as it relates to translation technology.



Cadwell, P., S. O’Brien and C. Teixeira (2018) ‘Resistance and Accommodation: Factors for the (non-) adoption of machine translation among professional translators’, Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice 26: 301-321.

Daems, J. (2016) A Translation Robot for Each Translator?, Ghent: University of Ghent.

Dragsted, B. (2004) Segmentation in Translation and Translation Memory Systems: An empirical investigation of cognitive segmentation and effects of integrating a TM system into the translation process, Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School.

Olohan, M. (2011) ‘Translators and Translation Technology: The Dance of Agency’, Translation Studies 4(3): 342-357.

Pym, A. (2011) ‘What Technology Does to Translating’, The International Journal of Translation and Interpreting Research

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Christian Olalla-Soler1, Javier Franco Aixelá2 & Sara Rovira-Esteva1        

1 Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

2 Universitat d’Alacant, Spain


Looking Back to Move Forward. The Evolution of Cognitive Translation and Interpreting Studies from a Bibliometric Perspective

The origins of cognitive translation and interpreting studies (CTIS) date back to the early 20th century. Its evolution, however, was rather slow until the 1970s. Since then, the CTIS literature has steadily increased. Over the last 20 years, a substantial amount of data has been collected on several research topics by drawing on methods and instruments that reflected current technological advances and trends in other disciplines. Despite all the knowledge generated within CTIS, several authors have recently expressed their concern over the fact that CTIS research seeking to establish a framework for formulating hypotheses, supporting data and interpreting results is not grounded in theoretical constructs (Muñoz Martín 2016, Marín García 2017). While CTIS scholars are urged to engage in epistemological debates that have emerged recently (Halverson 2015), this sub-discipline would benefit from adopting a bibliometric, evolutionary perspective on CTIS – which would allow for ongoing epistemological debates to be informed by a profound understanding of the changing specificities of CTIS over time. Bibliometrics (Rovira Esteva and Franco Aixelá 2018) is a recent research development in translation and interpreting studies which can be used to gain insights into the past and future development of a given discipline.

This presentation will provide an evolutionary overview of CTIS based on a bibliometric study. It will address the evolution of CTIS publications over time; the stages involved in the development of the sub-discipline based on publication behaviours and citation peaks; issues of authorship and co-authorship, focusing on the most productive and cited authors and their impact in the development of CTIS; and the thematic evolution of CTIS. The data set for this study was retrieved from BITRA (Bibliography of Interpreting and Translation) in September 2019. It consists of over 77,000 records on translation and interpreting studies and more than 2.000 records devoted to CTIS, covering the diversity of languages and document types used in translation studies research and featuring citation information from over 10% of its entries.

The results presented here will provide CTIS scholars willing to engage in epistemological discussions with an evolutionary perspective of developments in the sub-discipline. They will be able to gain a deeper understanding of the changes that have taken place, the future trends that are likely to develop in CTIS, and the epistemological needs that arise between past and future trends.



Halverson, S. (2015) ‘Cognitive TS and the Merging of Empirical Paradigms: The case of literal translation’, Translation Spaces 4(2): 310-340.

Marín García, A. (2017) Theoretical Hedging: The scope of knowledge in translation process research, PhD diss. Kent State University.

Muñoz Martín, R. (2016) ‘Of Minds and Men – Computers and translators’, Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics 52(2): 351-381.

Rovira-Esteva, S. and J. Franco Aixelá (2018) ‘Bibliometric Tools: Evaluation, Mapping’, in L. D’hulst and Y. Gambier (eds) A History of Modern Translation Knowledge. Sources, concepts, effects, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 117-122.

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Maeve Olohan, University of Manchester, UK

Changing Configurations of the Practice of Translating

This paper examines the ongoing reconfiguring of the practice of translating through the integration of the activity of post-editing machine translation (PEMT) into the practice. Applying a practice-theoretical lens, and drawing on empirical data from translation workplaces and organizations, I argue that PEMT is best understood, not as a separate practice that is linked to translation, but as an activity carried out as part of the changing practice of translating. This evolution of translating practice is investigated by tracing changes in the material elements of the practice, in the know-how and recruitment of practitioners, and in the symbolic meanings of the practice. In line with the panel’s focus on legitimization of work practices, this paper concentrates on the normative organization of the practice, explained below.

Practice theory, as elaborated by Schatzki (1996; 2002), Reckwitz (2002) and Shove et al. (2012), among others, places practices at the centre of analysis. Practice-theoretical studies offer a clear alternative to both individualist and systems-oriented explanations of social phenomena; the social world is considered as a plenum of practices in which practices hang together in constellations or complexes. In focusing on often overlooked material and embodied elements of practices, as well as the know-how that is enacted in practices, practice theory provides a productive framework for a dynamic and materially aware understanding of translation practice and for an examination of the emergence of new configurations of the practice (Olohan forthcoming 2020).

Schatzki’s (1996; 2002) work is also helpful for understanding the normative dimensions of practices; he conceives of doings and sayings of practices as being organized through (i) general understandings; (ii) practical understandings; (iii) rules, and (iv) teleo-affective structures. Applied to translation practice, these elements specify what should be done or said in translating and how those actions, including PEMT, ought to be carried out, understood and responded to, thus informing judgements of what constitutes acceptable performances of the practice. In addition, a practice’s teleo-affective structures specify what ends should be pursued and what projects, tasks or actions should be carried out to fulfil those ends, and what emotions possessed when engaged in the practice.

This paper thus addresses the question of how such normative aspects organize the practice of translating as PEMT becomes part of it. For example, what general understandings of translation prevail when PEMT is involved? What teleologies are deemed acceptable for such practice performances? What changes in practical know-how does the changing practice of translating require? How are these changes reflected in or shaped by explicitly formulated standards that regulate the practice? By examining the normative dimension of the reconfigured practice of translating, we aim to develop a better understanding of the value systems and power relations that are currently shaping translation as PEMT becomes a more commonplace activity within the practice.



Olohan, M. (forthcoming 2020) Translation and Practice Theory, London and New York: Routledge.

Reckwitz, A. (2002) ‘Toward a Theory of Social Practices: A Development in Culturalist Theorizing’, European Journal of Social Theory 5(2): 243–263.

Schatzki, T. R. (1996) Social Practices: A Wittgensteinian approach to human activity and the social, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schatzki, T. R. (2002) The Site of the Social: A philosophical account of the constitution of social life and change, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Shove, E., M. Pantzar, and M. Watson (2012) The Dynamics of Social Practice, London: Sage.

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Joshua M. Price, Binghamton University, USA

Is Epistemicide a Useful Framework for Analysis of Translation in the Human Sciences?

In the Americas, translation practices have imposed European and Euro-American paradigms of thinking from the colonial period until the present day. This presentation compares two conceptual frameworks for analysing how translation practices have been part of this process of intellectual imperialism in the human sciences: epistemicide and pulcritud vs hedor. Epistemicide, or the destruction of subaltern knowledge, originates in the work of the legal theorist Boaventura de Sousa Santos (2014). Translation as epistemicide occurs in the legal realm, the literary realm, the scientific realm, and the academic realm. It involves the imposition of racial and gender categories. Three distinct operations or modalities of translation-as-epistemicide will be explored: the commensuration of worlds, criminalization of translators, and translation as piracy.

In América Profunda, philosopher Rodolfo Kusch detects a line that runs down the centre of the Americas between pulcritud (cleanliness, orderliness and neatness) and hedor (stench) (1999:25-29). One of the most potent and persistent avatars of modernity in this continent is the drive toward cleanliness and a hatred or disgust with stench. Hedor is attributed to the indigenous, Blackness, sexuality and sexual identity that does not conform to institutionalized heterosexuality; hence, anything associated with indigeneity, blackness or gender non-conformity is an object of revulsion that must be cleaned up, pushed out, or destroyed. Europe, whiteness, European vehicular languages are clean and orderly. Whiteness represents a striving toward pulcritud. Although imagined rather than real, the distinction organizes people’s perceptions and their actions. The dominant culture frames certain phenomena as hedor. A hatred of hedor operates in many spheres of life: the aesthetic sphere (designating ugliness), the moral sphere (designating purity vs. debauchery), the legal sphere (designating criminality), ontological sphere (dehumanization, homunculi, Caliban), material sphere (extractivism), medical sphere (typologies of disease and contagion), demographics (anxiety over overpopulation, overcrowding), olfactory (stink and smell), and genetics (neo-eugenics, fear of miscegenation). The distinction also operates in the linguistic and epistemic sphere. Hedor is associated with ways of thinking and forms of expression, so that subaltern and indigenous forms of knowledge are seen as polluting, revolting, shameful, and need to be corrected or excluded. The distinction is relative, socially-generated, perspectival, inconsistent, and usually (though not always) imagined. There is violence implicit in the drive to cleanliness.  

Drawing on various examples, the presentation will provide an analysis of the comparative utility of each of these frameworks, including a measure of the advantages and disadvantages of each.



Kusch, R. (1999) América profunda, Editorial Biblos.

Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (2014) Epistemologies of the South: Justice against Epistemicide, Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.

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Douglas Robinson, Hong Kong Baptist University

The Strange Loops of Translation

This paper sets up a dialogue between Cognitive Translation and Interpreting Studies (CTIS) and the cognitive science of Douglas Hofstadter. A self-confessed reductivist on the ‘reality’ of the mind, feelings, and so on, Hofstadter turns his skepticism about the mental constitution of the ‘I’ to good use in positing the constitutive power of the perceived analogical parallels between perceiving a thing and perceiving oneself perceiving the thing that he calls ‘strange loops’. Where a humanistic CTIS scholar might view the strange-loops constitution of the ‘I’ as a phenomenology, a performativity, or even a periperformativity, Hofstadter wants to dismiss the whole thing as a ‘myth’, an ‘illusion’, a ‘hallucination’; but his deconstructions of the Ontological ‘I’ remain trenchant and useful for the CTIS scholar as well.

Hofstadter argues for his strange-loops model of the ‘I’ in Gödel, Escher, Bach (1979) and I Am a Strange Loop (2007); but then, in Le Ton Beau de Marot (1997) and ‘Translator, Trader’ (2009), he also comments at considerable length on translation, with numerous crossovers between his cognitive science ruminations and theories of translation, but without ever considering the possibility that translation may involve strange loops that are constitutive not only of the translator’s ‘I’ but of a shared authorial/translatorial ‘I’.

Hofstadter devotes Chapter 16 of I Am a Strange Loop to the odd phenomenon that, when his wife Carol died at 42, he discovered that Carol lived on in his own body and mind—a blending of selves, a shared ‘I’. I agree that this happens; my experience translating suggests that it happens to us not only when we share a deep love with another person but when we translate. The ‘I’ we share with the source author can feel how the source author would write this or that in the target language – even when the actual flesh-and-blood living source author is proficient in the target language and disagrees with our choices. ‘No, I think this is how you’d say it’, we retort.

The interesting question that this model raises has to do with the cognitive differences in the construction of a shared authorial/translatorial ‘I’ between sense-for-sense translation, which Hofstadter favors, and word-for-word translation, upon which he heaps abuse (it is mindless and mechanical and by foreclosing on ‘thought’ forecloses on everything that makes us human). The paper suggests by contrast that sense-for-sense translation, by encouraging the translator to seek out ‘what the source author really meant’, tends to fuse authorial and translatorial ‘interiorities’, like lovers; while radically stylized literalisms, including homophonic translation, tend to create affective-becoming-conative-becoming-cognitive turbulences between author and translator, like an old married couple that fights all the time but stays together out of habit.



Hofstadter, D. (1979) Gödel, Escher, Bach: An eternal golden braid, New York: Basic.

Hofstadter, D. (1997) Le Ton Beau de Marot: In praise of the music of language, New York: Basic.

Hofstadter, D. (2007) I Am a Strange Loop, New York: Basic.

Hofstadter, D. (2009) ‘Translator, Trader: An Essay on the pleasantly pervasive paradoxes of translation’, published in a back-to-front omnibus with Hofstadter’s translation of Françoise Sagan, That Mad Ache: A Novel, New York: Basic.

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Bertha M. Gutiérrez Rodilla (University of Salamanca, Spain) and Carmen Quijada Diez (University of Oviedo, Spain)

The Lexicographic Medical Scenario in Nineteenth-century Spain and its Representation in the Spanish Medical Lexicographic Thesaurus (TELEME)

Nineteenth-century Europe, particularly France and Germany, saw an extraordinary boom of lexicographic works dealing with medicine. This lexicographic fever manifested itself also, albeit less strongly, in other European countries, both in the form of originally-written works in their local languages and in the form of translations.

In Spain, some purely original dictionaries were published (such as Hurtado de Mendoza’s Diccionario de Medicina y Cirugia, published between 1820 and 1823), but this type of works did not achieve in Spain the success that similar initiatives had enjoyed in France and Germany, with the result that medical encyclopedias entered the country primarily in the form of translations. Reasons for the shortage of home-grown works in this field include the absence at that time of institutions supporting the development of lexicographic initiatives, of the type found in neighbouring countries like France. A notable feature of the translated medical dictionaries, on the other hand, is a tendency towards incomplete publication. Most medical encyclopaedias or dictionaries produced in this period were multi-volume works, with publication of the last volume typically occurring many years after the first one, and thus many of these works rapidly became obsolete, especially given the rapidly increasing pace of medical discoveries. This obsolescence was even greater when these works had to be translated, either from French or from German, into Spanish and it was responsible. for causing many of these encyclopaedic works to remain unfinished in Spanish, or to be published in an abridged form comprising fewer volumes

These works have not yet been paid the attention they deserve, both from a linguistic and from a historiographical perspective. By analysing them, results can be obtained on how medical knowledge entered Spain at that time, and it also allows assessment of the role of translation in disseminating medical research. Such analysis can be supported by the Spanish Medical Lexicographic Thesaurus (TELEME), an ongoing project in the course of development that will be covered and explained during this presentation: it consists of a searchable electronic corpus of nineteenth-century Spanish medical dictionaries that contains not only Spanish-written medical dictionaries and encyclopaedias, but also covers the contribution to medical knowledge made by translated works of this kind, mainly from French and German.



Gutiérrez Rodilla, B. M. (1999) La constitución de la lexicografía médica moderna en España, La Coruña: Toxo-Soutos.

Gutiérrez Rodilla, B. M. (2017) ‘La preocupación por la lengua y su reflejo en la lexicografía: el caso de los vocabularios españoles de medicina en el siglo XIX y principios del XX’, Moenia 23: 583-602.

Gutiérrez Rodilla, B. M. and C. Quijada Diez (2015) ‘La adaptación del contenido en los diccionarios médicos traducidos y publicados en España en el siglo XIX’, in P. Aullón de Haro and Alfonso Silván (eds) Translatio y Cultura, Madrid: Dykinson, 201-207.

Quijada Diez, C. (2018) ‘La recepción de la ciencia en la España decimonónica a través de la traducción’, in J. M. Castellano and A. Ruiz (eds) La traducción y la interpretación en contextos especializados (II): Un enfoque multidisciplinar para la transmisión del conocimiento científico, Granada: Comares, 129-136.

Quijada Diez, C. and B. M. Gutiérrez Rodilla (2017) ‘La traducción al español de diccionarios médicos alemanes en el siglo XIX’, Revista de Lexicografía XXIII: 185-199. Available online at http://revistas.udc.es/index.php/rlex/article/view/rlex.2017.23.0.4702.

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Rafael Schögler, University of Graz, Austria

Great Transformations in The Great Regression

This contribution investigates the intricate connection between transnational and transdisciplinary epistemologies that materialize in intellectual discourses and the artefacts that carry them in our ‘global age’. These artefacts are usually situated at the borders of scholarly, intellectual and public spheres and explicitly reflect the diversity of knowledges and social realities that such spheres deal with. Nonetheless, the texts, contexts and paratexts that make up these artefacts often fail to develop a translational epistemology that reflects on translatorial practice or the manipulations inherent to translatorial knowledge-making.

After exploring the processes of translatorial knowledge-making (Schögler 2018), the implications of transnational disciplinary developments (Heilbron et al. 2008) and the formation of a (global) public sphere (Thijssen et al. 2013), this presentation will focus on Die große Regression (Geiselberger 2017) as a case study. Conceived by an in-house editor of the German publishing house Suhrkamp, Die große Regression presents essays addressing current societal and political developments ranging from concrete issues such as Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and (right-wing) populism to more theoretical arguments on the development of (de)civilization, (neo)liberalism and democracy. Published simultaneously in English, French, German and Italian and later on translated into many other languages (including Bulgarian, Catalan, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish), the collection encompasses transdisciplinary perspectives – with contributions from authors such as Arjun Appadurai, Donatella della Porta, Nancy Fraser, Bruno Latour, Pankay Mishra, Wolfgang Streeck or Slavoj Žižek. The analysis of this case study will explore the intricate connections of the transnational, transdisciplinary and translational epistemologies at play in the collection, and examine how these are reflected in the books’ appearance, the range of agents involved in the project, and the textual representation and translation of narratives, theoretical concepts or individual terms. The final part of the presentation argues that Die große Regression fails to develop and provide an overt translational epistemology. Although this is a multilingual anthology where translatorial practices are ubiquitous, the contributions as well as the paratextual embedding ignore “translation” as a driving force of transnational intellectual debate and knowledge-making.



Geiselberger, H. (ed.) (2017) Die große Regression, Suhrkamp: Berlin.

Heilbron, J., N. Guilhot and L. Jeanpierre (2008) ‘Toward a Transnational History of the Social Sciences’, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 44 (2): 146–160.

Schögler, Rafael Y. (2018) ‘Translation in the Social Sciences and Humanities: Circulating and Canonizing Knowledge’, Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics 38 (Special Issue Translation and the Production of Knowledges): 62–90.

Thijssen, P., W. Weyns and C. Timmerman (2013) ‘New Public Spheres: Recontextualizing the Intellectual’, in P. Thijssen, W. Weyns, C. Timmerman and S. Mels (eds) New Public Spheres: Recontextualizing the intellectual, Farnham: Ashgate, 1-10.

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Mark Shuttleworth, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

Tracking the framing of political figures: translation and the production of political knowledge across the multilingual Wikipedia

A number of methods can be used to detect the presence of translated text in the multilingual online encyclopedia Wikipedia. We can identify the rare cases in which its presence is documented by members of the site’s community of volunteer contributors, we can compare extracts from parallel articles published within different language editions, or we can dig back into an article’s revision history to discover the origin of translated text fragments. In these ways, we may often find that Wikipedia articles resemble collages assembled from small text fragments some of which have been imported from other Wikipedia articles originally written by and for other linguistic communities, or from some other external source.

Identifying this translated material, establishing what it is a translation of and tracking the fate of each translated fragment once inserted in an article are all tasks that enable the researcher to investigate whether these fragments support an article’s point of view and whether the knowledge that each supposedly parallel article contains is therefore in some way distinctive, providing its readers with a somewhat different presentation and interpretation of major international news events. Through such analysis, for example, it is possible to track the diverse ways in which the major political actors in news stories relating to Russia are framed and discussed across different language versions of Wikipedia.

Based on the multilingual sets of articles that narrate the assassination of Boris Nemtsov and the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, this paper aims to highlight such differences and thus to consider the role of translation in the production and dissemination of knowledge within this user-generated resource. It will also introduce a newly funded project ‘Understanding Wikipedia’s dark matter: translation, knowledge and point of view’ and present the new digital tools that are being specially created for this project.

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Jing Shui, Fudan University, China, and Brown University, USA

Women’s Rights and Confucian Morals: Lin Shu’s translation of images of modern western women

China experienced a serious national, political and cultural crisis in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century. Lin Shu (1852-1924), a Chinese intellectual writing and translating in the late Qing Dynasty, used translation as a means to achieve his social reformist aims. Although he knew no foreign languages, Lin translated more than 180 literary works from English, French, Russian and many other languages. These were mostly eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels, translated into classical Chinese with the help of collaborators acting as oral interpreters for him. The resulting, influential translations included Alexandre Dumas’s Camille, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist.

Negotiating the confrontation between Chinese traditional Confucian morals and western learning led Lin to introduce, reshape and at times hybridize western images of modern women and brought modern ideas such as ‘women’s education’, ‘women’s rights’, ‘freedom of love’ and ‘freedom of marriage’ to China. His reinterpretation of women’s rights remained embedded within the framework of Confucian morals, but his translations directly or indirectly contributed to the construction of new gender relations in modern China. This presentation will offer an analysis of the translation strategies Lin employed in his attempt to reform Chinese society at different time periods. Prefaces, afterwords, commentaries in both source texts and target texts, as well as works originally written in Chinese by Lin, will be examined, focusing on themes such as text selection, omission, addition and other shifts in the translations. The analysis will take into consideration the dominant ideology of the time and the particular social, historical and cultural context in which Lin’s translations were embedded, as well as the reception of his translations, in order to explain any significant shifts in the translations. The main argument is that nationalist intellectuals in China, as represented by Lin, advocated women’s rights while adhering to Confucian morals, and that their reformist attempts contributed to some extent to the modernization of China.

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Marija Todorova, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Translation and the Development of Civil Society in Post-socialist Southeast Europe

Lacking historical precedents in most post-socialist countries, the field of civil society also lacked a specialized political discourse to convey its purpose and importance to the general population. Given the fact that it was originally introduced by aid organizations located in European and Anglophone countries, the development of civil society in these countries has been heavily impacted by translation, primarily from English, from its very inception. Translation, however, does not involve a simple transfer from one language into another. Rather, it lies at the heart of a complex mediation process that includes actors engaging not only in linguistic exchange but also in political debate and the renegotiation of ideas.

Theoretically positioned at the intersection of translation studies, discourse analysis and development studies, this presentation will discuss the dissemination of ideas about civil society in post-socialist countries as extending beyond the importation of fully formed and stable concepts and discourses from the West. It will build on a recent study about civil society development in North Macedonia (Todorova 2018), and drawing on a range of interviews with relevant actors from aid organizations active in North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia will explore the extent to which these organizations demonstrate sensitivity to the linguistic and cultural context of the host countries. It will also look at instances of translated documents produced by the domestic civil society into English to examine how local ideas come to permeate the global and create nodes of interconnectedness that allow for concepts to acquire more diverse meanings (Czarniawska and Sevón 2005).



Todorova, M. (2018) ‘Civil Society in Translation: Innovations to political discourse in Southeast Europe’, The Translator 24(4): 353-366.

Czarniawska, B. and G. Sevón (eds) (2005) Global Ideas. How ideas, objects and practices travel in the global economy, Copenhagen: Liber.

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Andrew Samuel Walsh, Comillas Pontifical University, Madrid

Translating the ‘N words’. Does Spanish-English Translation Now Produce a False Sense of Racism?

The proposed paper seeks to elucidate to what extent Spanish-English translation may heighten the racist potential of a text, whereas the inverse operation tends to create the opposite effect. The theoretical analysis will examine relatively recent changes in Anglophone and Hispanic cultures in relation to the predominant interpretation of what constitutes racism and which racial terms are no longer acceptable. I will then question how translation might distort this issue as the vastly different colonial histories and concomitant racial sensitivities of both cultures have led to a lexical imbalance which poses significant problems for translators searching for a dynamic equivalence for deeply loaded racial terms. Therefore, the paper seeks to address a specific and increasingly problematic example of the key question posed by this conference – how the intercultural and intracultural criteria for the validation of ideas, theories and sources of knowledge have changed over time. It will examine how translation sometimes apparently cannot bridge the gap between such unequal changes in the two literary cultures and how, in many cases, the result is recourse to avoidance strategies from Spanish into English or the unfortunate creation of a mistaken impression of racial insensitivity and/or inevitable dilution when translating from English into Spanish.

The empirical analysis of this translational misencounter will be based on examples of the use of the ‘n words’ from the numerous translations of two canonical works: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and Poeta en Nueva York by Federico García Lorca. The former has traditionally been rendered in Spanish as Diez Negritos, a comparatively mild equivalence compared to the original English title of Ten Little Niggers, the now utterly offensive title with which the work was published in the UK in 1939. Conversely, Lorca’s seminal volume of poetry has recently caused growing disquiet in translation in terms of its references to the ‘negros’ of New York, English translations of which have undergone major changes since the first version in 1940 to the latest in 2013. Indeed, the most recent English volumes of Lorca’s work have noticeably tended to eschew these texts and thus avoid their troubling resonances in translation. This means that a key modernist text in Spanish, which is considered the definitive denunciation of racism and social marginalization in that culture, is currently left untranslated by wary English-speaking poets and academics, whereas Agatha Christie’s text and title remain untainted by any racist connotations.

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YU Chang, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics/Shanghai International Studies University, China

Travelling Discourse: Translation, Reconstruction and Circulation of the Concept of Humanism in Modern China (1900s – 1920s)

Under a range of guises, humanism has been an important concept throughout Western intellectual history. The importation of the concept of humanism into the Chinese context contributed to the intellectual transition and literary revolution of modern China. This paper examines the translation, reconstruction and circulation of the concept of humanism in modern China (1900s-1920s), with a particular emphasis on the indicative and formative role that translation played in this importation process. Based on the premises that interpretations of humanism are historically and culturally contingent and that cross-cultural translation is essentially reframing, this paper argues that modern Chinese humanistic discourses offer distinct Chinese narratives incorporating the concept of humanism.

Specifically, this paper looks into meanings of humanism as registered in dictionaries and lexicons as well as investigating humanistic writings (some of them translations) by a number of leading intellectuals of the May Fourth Movement (named after the student demonstrations of 1919), including Lu Xun (1881-1936), Zhou Zuoren (1885-1967), Hu Shi (1891-1962) and Chen Duxiu (1879-1942). Drawing on methods developed in conceptual history (both Begriffsgeschichte and Cambridge School) and socio-narrative theory, this paper approaches utterances surrounding the concept of humanism in a historical and contextualized manner, and meanwhile probes into the tensions between societal, cultural, and ideological conditions and positioning of individual translators. The analyses show that in the May Fourth era (1915-1927), these four intellectuals unanimously resorted to Western humanistic discourses to utter their diverse imaginings of a modern self, with a view to attaining Chinese modernity and to saving the nation.



Baker, M. (2006) Translation and Conflict: A narrative account, London and New York: Routledge.

Hermans, T. (2014) ‘Positioning Translators: Voices, Views and Values in Translation’, Language and Literature 23(3): 285–301.

Koselleck, R. and M. Richter (2011) ‘Introduction and Prefaces to the Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe’, Contributions to the History of Concepts 6(1): 1–37.

Skinner, Q. (2002) Visions of Politics, Volume I: Regarding method, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Tingting Xiong, Southwest University of Science and Technology, China

The Translation and Dissemination of Western Drama in Early Twentieth Century China

Huaju (spoken drama), the Anglo-European form of drama mostly composed of dialogue, is distinct from indigenous forms of Chinese drama that involve music, dance and dialogues sung by the performers and a highly stylised and conventionalised movement technique. It was first introduced to China in 1907 through the performances of Black Slave’s Cry to Heaven, adapted from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and started to gather momentum with Liang Qichao’s call for xiqugailiang (reform of traditional drama) in the early twentieth century, with a view to awakening the nation spiritually and establishing a constitutional system in the country (Chen 2010).

The introduction of “Sinicized drama” – such as Jie hui meng (Dream of Apocalyptic Dust) and Xin luoma (New Rome) – by Liang, together with the “civilized drama” – such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin and La Dame aux Camilias translated by Lin Shu and introduced by a group of expatriates studying in Japan in the late nineteenth century – marked the first transformation from traditional drama to the modern form (Chen and Dong 2008). The main feature of the earliest form of modern Chinese drama was hybridity (Liu 2013), both in theme and form: in terms of theme, a foreign story would be appropriated through translation to address a political agenda, and in terms of form, the Japanese Shinpa would be mixed with western dramatic forms. By the 1920s, the huaju adapted from translated works had been largely replaced by original works in vernacular Chinese, the new written system advocated by intellectuals during the New Culture Movement (1919). Chinese playwrights at this time were keen to write their own stories to address the social issues in the city, although the structure and themes of their stories still drew on western dramas. In the 1930s, Hong Shen and other leftist dramatists shifted their attention from the city to addressing the socio-economic and political situation in the countryside (Yan 1992). The following decades witnessed a rise in the number of dramatic works that focused on war themes, especially after the Sino-Japanese War (1937–45) broke out, to boost wartime morale.

This presentation will examine how huaju, both as a new form of drama and a neologism, was introduced to China through translation and the role it played between the late 19th century and the 1940s, in the changing political and social context of China.



Chen, X. (2010) ‘Introduction’, In The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Drama, New York: Columbia University Press, 1–55.

Chen, B. and J. Dong (2008) A History of Chinese Modern Drama 1899-1949, Beijing: Chinese Theatre Publishing House.

Liu, S. (2013) Performing Hybridity in Colonial Modern China, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Yan, H. (1992) ‘Modern Chinese Drama and Its Western Models: A critical construction of Chinese subjectivity’, Modern Drama 35(1): 54–64.

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Jitka Zehnalová and Helena Kubátová, Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic

Interweaving Concepts and Expertise: From Interdisciplinarity to Transdisciplinarity

This presentation traces the process of combining methods from two different disciplinary domains in order to create new types of knowledge that extend beyond the remit of both fields. More specifically, it outlines a move from interdisciplinarity to transdisciplinarity within a joint research project that brings together a translation studies scholar and a sociologist. The project investigates translation strategies used by translators of fiction working from English into Czech during the period 2000-2016, with the aim of ultimately identifying norms of translation.

Exploring norms demands contextualization, and hence engagement with sociological concepts. Sociologically-oriented research is well established in translation studies, and yet there is a degree of scepticism towards the use of sociological concepts among scholars in the field (Vorderobermeier 2014; Tyulenev 2014), as well as doubts concerning the principles of cooperation between translation studies and sociology (Buzelin and Baraldi 2016). Our collaboration so far, which has involved analysing the Czech literary translation field in order to identify representative samples of translations and translators, has inclined us to share this scepticism and realize that interdisciplinarity – understood as involving each scholar working on her own tasks before the results of both analyses are combined – is not an adequate way of creating knowledge in this area of disciplinary overlap. Consequently, we turned our attention to transdisciplinarity, understood as “that which is at once between the disciplines, across the different disciplines, and beyond each individual discipline” (Zlatev 2015:1062). We understand the ‘between’ and ‘across’ to refer to the use of methods and concepts such as representativeness from both disciplines and identifying their common ground (in this case the social nature of practice), as well as what they overlook (for example, translated texts as a source of sociological data on the practices of translators). We conceptualize the ‘beyond’ as an interweaving of the concepts and expertise derived from both disciplines.

This presentation will demonstrate ‘interweaving’ by discussing the methods we adopted for data collection, data analysis and interpretation, the key ones being comparative analyses of source/target texts and biographical interviews. The challenge is to design a methodology that allows for interrelating these two methods during data collection and analysis – rather than using them separately and combining the results only in the final phase of joint interpretation. This would then characterize the approach as genuinely transdisciplinary, i.e. relying on shared epistemological roots (translation as a social phenomenon) and transcending both disciplines. Both interviews and textual analyses are designed as two-step, mutually interconnected processes: interviews involve the two stages of initial and follow-up data collection, while textual analyses proceed from basic to detailed investigation. We will present the overall design of the project as well as some findings from a pilot study to illustrate the mutual saturation of translational and sociological analyses of data, our approach to joint data interpretation, and, more generally, to transdisciplinary knowledge integration.



Buzelin, H. and C. Baraldi (2016) ‘Sociology and Translation Studies: Two disciplines meeting’, in Y. Gambier and L. van Doorslaer (eds) Border Crossings: Translation studies and other disciplines, edited by Y. Gambier and L. van Doorslaer, Amsterdam andPhiladelphia: John Benjamins, 117–139.

Tyulenev, S. (2014) Translation and Society: An introduction, London and New York: Routledge.

Vorderobermeier, G. M. (ed) (2014) Remapping Habitus in Translation Studies, Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi/Brill.

Zlatev, J. (2015) ‘Cognitive Semiotics’, in P. Trifonas (ed.) International Handbook of Semiotics, Dordrecht: Springer, 1043–1067.

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Yingjie Zhang, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany

Translating Modernity: Negotiating the Role of American Female Missionaries in Chinese Society

This study adopts Martha Cheung’s “pushing-hands approach” (2012) to examine the role played by American female missionaries in China’s modernisation from the 1910s to the 1930s. It offers an overview of the history of American female missionaries in China between the 1910s and the 1930s. It then focuses on the American female missionaries at a Christian college, the Ginling Women’s College of Arts and Sciences, which was founded in 1913 in Nanjing and was the first institution to be established in China to provide women with higher education. I analyse some of the ways in which these missionaries introduced women’s rights and public education to China and how they conceptualised and practiced translation in this context.

An American female missionary who worked at Ginling from 1919 to 1940, Wilhelmina Vautrin wrote her diary in English between 1937 and 1940. The Yale Divinity Library turned this into a digital archive in 2005, titled Diary of Wilhelmina Vautrin, 1937-1940. The rest of the study analyses the Diary and its Chinese translation, Weitelin Riji (魏特琳日记) (2015), with a view to identifying Vautrin’s role in translating modernity and some of the ways in which this was negotiated in the corresponding Chinese translation, published a decade later. Focusing on paratexts, I show that although Vautrin used the diary to record wartime life in Nanjing from a missionary perspective, her narrative of the wide variety of activity at Ginling embodied the concept of translating modernity, for instance in terms of advocating equal treatment of female and male missionaries and student-oriented reform of middle school education. The main text of Weitelin Riji maintains both Vautrin’s individual, missionary perspective on wartime Nanjing and the embodiments of translating modernity in wartime. The foreword also highlights Vautrin’s contribution to Chinese women’s education, but the footnotes and book cover do not address the topic of modernity.



Cheung, Martha (2012) ‘The Mediated Nature of Knowledge and the Pushing-hands Approach to Research on Translation History’, Translation Studies 5(2): 156-171.

Vautrin, Wilhelmina (2005) Diary of Wilhelmina Vautrin, 1937-1940, Yale Divinity Library. Available at http://divinity-adhoc.library.yale.edu/nanking/vautrin.pdf.

Vautrin, Wilhelmina (2015) Weitelin Riji 魏特琳日记 (Diary of Vautrin), translated from English by Yang Xiaming et al. 杨夏明 等. Nanking: Jiangsu People’s Publishing House.

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Yifan Zhu and Kyung Hye Kim, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

‘Rights’ Redefined in China

Dominating modern understandings of what actions are permissible and which institutions are just, the modern ‘subjective’ notion of ‘rights’ is one of the key concepts in political ideologies and the history of ideas. As much as in Europe and elsewhere, this concept has transformed all domains of Chinese life – intellectual, political and social – in the twentieth century, as documented both in translated and original Chinese texts. However, scholarly discussion on the genealogy of ‘rights’ (Jones 1994, Campbell 2006, Edmundson 2012) has seldom gone beyond Europe, and its travel from Anglo-European culture to Asia, particularly to China in its transition from an imperialist society to a modern one, including the role played by translation in this travel, remain underexplored.

Using a corpus-based methodology and employing Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), this study traces the journey of the concept ‘rights’ from Europe to China and analyses its evolution in China between 1864-1949, a period during which it underwent constant translation, negotiation and contestation in the target culture. Scholars such as Liu (1995) largely agree that W.A.P. Martin first adopted the Chinese word quanli [权利] to translate the European idea of ‘rights’ while translating International Law in 1864, quanli being a loose compound of the two Chinese words, quan (权, power) and li (利, profits). However, this European conception only existed in the translations of legal texts during the first few decades following its introduction. It was only at the turn of the twentieth century that serious discussions of the concept took place in China and it started to be mentioned more frequently in social and political discourses; the traditional concept of quanli that had been used only in legal texts was then re-established and reconstructed in the changing political landscape during that period in China. Translation was at the heart of this change. This study will show (i) how translation has transformed the meaning of the ancient Chinese word quanli; (ii) how the Chinese concept of quanli underwent substantial negotiation and contestation in different political and historical contexts in China; and (iii) the exact role translation played in this extensive and dynamic process of meaning negotiation.



Campbell, T. (2006) Rights: A Critical Introduction, London: Routledge.

Edmundson, W. (2012) An Introduction to Rights, 2nd edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jones, P. (1994) Rights, New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Liu, L. (1995) Translingual Practice: Literature, National Culture, and Translated Modernity—China, 1900–1937, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Wheaton, H. (1864) Wanguo Gongfa [万国公法, Elements of International Law], translated by W.A.P. Martin, Beijing: Jingshi Tongwen Publishing House.

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