Open Panel: Languages of Authority in Nineteenth-Century Sciences

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



Languages of Authority in Nineteenth-Century Sciences

Convenors: M. Pilar Castillo Bernal, Universidad de Córdoba, Spain and Bertha Gutiérrez Rodilla, Universidad de Salamanca, Spain

Since the publication of Montgomery’s landmark work (2000), the historical interaction between languages and the sciences has attracted growing interest among researchers both in scientific and translation studies (Gordin 2015, Olohan and Salama-Carr 2011). In the last decades, the massive digitization of scientific publications has opened up new possibilities for analysing and accessing articles, dictionaries and treatises that have been fundamental in the history of science and the development of modern societies. This line of inquiry not only enables us to better understand the transformative processes undergone by the natural and exact sciences, but also rescues the memory of scientists, scientific discoveries and translators whose contributions – peripheral in some cases, crucial in others – may remain unnoticed by history.

Following in the footsteps of previous studies on the translation of specialized dictionaries (Quijada and Gutiérrez 2017) and the publication of translated scientific articles (Castillo 2019), this panel aims to explore the interdisciplinary relations between science and language and the role of translation in the construction of epistemological knowledge and the dissemination of scientific research. The period in question is the 19th century, an age known for swift scientific advances and the emergence of new fields such as microbiology, biochemistry or genetics.



Castillo Bernal, M. P. (2019) ‘The Translation of Robert Koch’s Scientific Articles on Tuberculosis (German-Spanish)’, Transletters 2(1): 1-24. Available online:

Gordin, M. (2015) Scientific Babel: How science was done before and after Global English, Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Quijada Díez, C. and B. M. Gutiérrez Rodilla (2017) ‘La traducción al español de diccionarios médicos alemanes en el siglo XIX.’ Revista de Lexicografía, XXIII: pp. 185-199. Available online:

Montgomery, S. L. (2000). Science in Translation: Movements of knowledge through cultures and time, Chicago: University of Chicago.

Olohan, M. and M. Salama-Carr (2011) ‘Translating Science’, The Translator 17(2): 179–188.


Panel Convenors

Panel presentations