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TRSS 2013


Theo Hermans (UCL): Researching Translation

This brief introductory session considers basic questions such as: what is research? How to define a
research topic? What is a research question? What is meant by a ‘literature review’ and by
‘methodology’? How can I draft a research project when I don’t yet know what I’m going to find?

Daniel Abondolo (UCL): Translation and Language Diversity

Languages vary greatly in their structure and typology, and these differences can pose serious
problems for translation. This session discusses some of the issues involved, in the hope of unsettling
some taken-for-granted ideas about words, concepts, meanings and translation. Its main aim is to
promote critical reflection about the very nature of language and translation.


Sharon Deane-Cox (Edinburgh): Memory in Translation. An Interdisciplinary Approach to Retelling the Past
In this session I take a critical look at the benefits and challenges of designing an interdisciplinary
research project in Translation Studies. I retrace the various stages of my own research journey, first
to identify how I became interested in the question of translating autobiographical and cultural
memory, and then to demonstrate how I used concepts from the field of Memory Studies to shed
new analytical light on my case studies.

Ester Leung (Hong Kong): Participatory Action Research and Community Interpreting
Participatory Action Research (PAR) involves the stakeholders in the research process as researchers
so that they can ‘make a difference’ to the issues being investigated. PAR was chosen for a project
entitled “Community Interpreting in Hong Kong” which aimed at improving the interpreting services
in medical and legal settings in Hong Kong. PAR allows the participation of interpreting service users
and providers as well as the interpreters themselves in researching how interpreting services were
organized and put into practice. The results of the project include training materials for medical
interpreting courses and a trainers’ course for both medical and legal interpreting.


Sharon Deane-Cox (Edinburgh): Multiple Meanings: Translation Analysis and Systemic Functional Linguistics
According to Halliday, Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) can be used as a map which allows us to
see more clearly how language choices create meaning. However, that theoretical map is a complex
one, so this session first provides an accessible overview of how language can be regarded as a
‘system’ and, more importantly, how language serves different ‘functions’ on the levels of
experiential, interpersonal and textual meaning. We then explore how SFL can be used empirically as
a method for mapping meanings in the ST, and as a comparative benchmark for the analysis of the TT.

Hephzibah Israel (Edinburgh): The Politics of Non-Standard Language Usage: Humour, Swearing and Obscenity
in Translation
The session focuses on how to study texts, both originals and translations, that employ non-standard
registers as a political strategy of resistance. I seek to demonstrate how concepts of the comic can be
useful tools to study translation contexts that engage with non-standard language use. I will draw on
critical theories of the comic to gain insight into the social politics of writers, translators and their
audiences: i.e. how the comic can function either as a political tool of resistance and questioning or as
a device for co-option to and re-establishment of social conventions.


Marlies Gabriele Prinzl (UCL): Researching Translation Using Corpora

Over the past decade or two corpus linguistics has become increasingly important in translation
studies. Corpus linguistics is not so much a field of linguistics as a methodology – although it has
changed the traditional views of language as well. This lecture introduces corpora, briefly discussing
the historical background from which they emerged, the different types of corpora and corpus tools
that exist, as well as the specific applications they offer for research in translation studies. Some
examples of corpus-based translation research will be provided.

Hephzibah Israel (Edinburgh): Translation as Collaborative Action: the Construction of an 'Archive of

Knowledge' on Religion
The session focuses on the creation of an 'archive of knowledge' on Hinduism in colonial India by
networks of translators from different fields of interest: colonial administrators, missionaries,
Orientalist scholars and religious reformers. I draw on Michel Foucault’s discourse theory and
discursive analysis to understand how translations of sacred texts can serve to build an archive on a
particular subject. Seeing each translation as a 'statement' on the particular religion means we can
examine what allows some statements to be made instead of others and to survive. We consider how,
despite often working at cross-purposes, translator networks nevertheless built up through
consecutive acts of translations of Hindu scriptures, statements on Hinduism that together
discursively constructed it as a systematic 'religion' in Western terms.


Jeremy Munday (Leeds): Investigating Translator Positioning and Subjectivity

Is a translator or interpreter really a transparent mediator in the communication process? This session
looks at ways that the translator/interpreter subjectively intervenes, consciously or unconsciously. It
will draw on the theory of interpersonal meaning in Hallidayan linguistics and work on authorial
evaluation and appraisal (e.g. Martin, J.R. and P.R.R. White, The Language of Evaluation, 2005;
Munday, J., Evaluation in Translation, 2012) to examine how we can identify intervention linguistically.

Jorge Díaz-Cintas (Imperial): Research in Audiovisual Translation

Having made a rather late entrance in academia, Audiovisual Translation (AVT) has been perceived by
many in recent years as one of the most prolific areas in Translation Studies, both in terms of training
and research. This talk stars by offering an overview of the different modes available to translate
audiovisual programmes and then centres on subtitling. After discussing some of the challenges that
have traditionally hindered research in this field, the session finishes by highlighting possible avenues
of research and the opportunities that lie ahead, particularly from a technological perspective.


Mona Baker (Manchester): The Socio-Narrative Approach to Translation and Interpreting

The socio-narrative approach to the study of translation and interpreting draws on a constructivist
understanding of narrative as our only means of making sense of the world and our place within it. It
proceeds from two basic assumptions about the relationship between human beings, their
environment, and the stories that circulate within that environment. The first is that we have no
direct, unmediated access to reality; our access to reality is filtered through the stories we narrate to
ourselves and others about the world(s) in which we live. The second is that the stories we narrate
participate in configuring that reality. Translation is then understood as a form of (re)narration that
constructs rather than represents the events and characters it renarrates in another language. The
narrative approach thus grants translators and interpreters considerable agency and acknowledges
the role they play in their own societies as well as globally. Drawing on a range of studies and genres,
the session outlines the assumptions that underpin the narrative approach, and then exemplifies the
conceptual tools used in the analysis of translation and interpreting events.

Theo Hermans (UCL): Translation, Negotiation and Added Value
Translations add value to the texts they represent because they communicate about these texts even
as they represent them. Starting from examples which show translators voicing reservations about
the works they are reproducing, I will suggest that all translation, whether dissonant or consonant or
indifferent, has the translator’s value judgements inscribed in it. The model I propose views
translation as reported speech, more particularly what Relevance Theory calls ‘echoic’ speech. It casts
the translator’s intervention as the main communicative event, accounts for the shift in perspective
characteristic of translation but leaves room for the translator’s subject position in the translated text.


Mona Baker (Manchester): Translation as an Alternative Space for Political Action

This seminar examines the genesis, principles and dynamics of groups of translators and interpreters
who are actively involved in global movements of justice, and who use their linguistic skills to extend
narrative space and narrative opportunities for resistance. The groups’ use of hybrid language, their
deliberate downgrading of English, the constant shuffling of the order and space allocated to different
languages on their websites, all this is as much part of their political agenda as their linguistic
mediation of texts and utterances. The practice of prefigurative politics distinguishes them from other
translators who offer linguistic support to humanitarian organizations and a variety of good causes. In
many ways, discursive as well as behavioural, they practise the principles they support, at the same
time as advocating these principles and enabling others to articulate them in a range of languages.
The presentation focuses on the workings of these groups and the way in which they overlap with or
depart from other types of contemporary movements, with particular reference to the way they use
translation and interpreting as an alternative space for political action at a global level.

Francesca Billiani (Manchester): Translation and Censorship as ‘mise en forme’

In this session we discuss the multi-layered relationship between translation and censorship. We start
by assessing them from a theoretical perspective both to establish their boundaries and to discuss the
role institutions and political bodies play in this aesthetic and ideological process. We conclude the
session with examples from different national contexts.


Dorota Gołuch (UCL): How to Manage a PhD Project

This session takes the form of a case study based on my experience as a PhD student in recent years. I
will consider the practical aspects of project management such as data gathering, method, time
constraints, organisation, support, training and moving targets, highlighting ways of doing things that
I have found useful and, perhaps more importantly, reflecting on what I might have done differently if
I were to start all over again.

Geraldine Brodie (UCL): Theatre Translation: the Collaborative Activity of Performance and Research
Theatre is a collaborative medium. The presence of a group of actors on stage indicates their
collective interpretation of a dramatic piece, and paratextual sources provide further information
about the range of theatre practitioners involved in the creation of a production. The performance of
a translated play generally echoes this collaboration, citing the name of the target text writer
alongside the source text author. The procedure of this translation, however, and the activity of
additional linguistic collaborators may be less transparent. The session investigates the processes of
translating into English for performance, using examples from recent London stage productions. We
consider the visibility accorded to theatre translations and how they are manifested in stage
terminology and the agency of the translator(s), with particular emphasis on collaborative procedures
in the theatre itself and in the methodology required to investigate these procedures. What makes
translating for performance different from other modes of translation, and what can be learned from
research into theatre translation that can be applied to other areas of translation?


Kathryn Batchelor (Nottingham), Seminar: Paratexts and Translations

This seminar introduces students to the paratextual typology developed by Gérard Genette (Seuils,
1987; translated as Paratexts, 1997) and to its subsequent uses by scholars in translation studies.
Linking forward to the public lecture, we look at the role played by paratextual elements in the
framing of Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth for its new target audiences. We also survey a
range of other discussions that draw together paratexts and translation, such as Gaby Thomson-
Wohlgemuth’s (2009) exploration of afterwords in translated children’s literature in the GDR, Richard
Watts (2005) and Ruth Bush (2013) on the roles played by covers and prefaces in situating original
and translated Francophone African literature, and Şebnem Susam-Sarajeva (2006) on the importance
of prefaces and epitextual material (such as introductory articles) in shaping the ways in which literary
theories are imported into new languages/cultures. In preparation for this seminar, you will be asked
to find an example of a text translated from their own language (or one they know well) into English
in which paratextual elements (book covers, blurbs, prefaces, afterwords, etc.etc.) are particularly
striking. These examples will be presented and discussed during the seminar.

Kathryn Batchelor (Nottingham), Public Lecture: Around the World in Many Ways, or What Makes a Successful
Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, originally published in French in 1961 and addressing the
Algerian war of independence, has had a far-reaching impact on cultures and political groups around
the world. Described as the ‘Bible’ of the Black Power movement in the United States in the 1960s,
the book also played into Third Worldism in Germany, the South African black consciousness
movement, the Shiite revival of the 1960s and 70s, as well as many other contexts. It continues to be
influential today, notably in the Abahlali (South African shackdwellers’) movement. What is intriguing
about the book’s success is that it has been made possible, in the case of the bestselling English
version at least, through a translation that has been described by Fanon’s leading biographer as
‘flawed’ (Macey 2012). This contrast between the translation’s success and its apparent failings gives
rise to questions about translation and how or why texts succeed in their new contexts. In this lecture,
I explore a range of factors potentially relevant to a translation’s success, including the role played by
paratexts (book covers, prefaces, etc.), reviews, anthologies, and interpersonal networks. I also argue
that some of what might be termed the translation’s flaws, notably the loss of the Sartrean
philosophical framework that underpins Fanon’s text, actually enhance its potential for success.