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Sunday, 10 October 2010 17:18

Translation in Contexts of Official Multilingualism

Date: 2012-03-08
Venue: Moncton (New Brunswick, Canada)
Event theme(s): This conference wishes to provide an opportunity for translation studies scholars to present and exchange research findings on the specifics of translation and interpretation in officially multilingual contexts, and the "translation effects" (Simon 1996) generated. Many of the world's countries are in fact officially multilingual. The conference programme will ideally include papers that explore an aspect of the interaction between translation and official multilingualism in the countries mentioned above as well as in others that were not included in the list.

Accepted papers will enable conference delegates to reflect on the following questions: Do official multilingualism and translation operate and interact in the same or similar ways in these countries? Does the humanist ideal of translation serve to create a common culture in contexts of official multilingualism (Simon 1996) or does it rather serve to divide the constituent cultures through the incompleteness of translation potential resulting in missed encounters between the socio-linguistic groups that are represented in officially multilingual contexts? What experiences and practices are shared by these different contexts and which ones differ? What could or should we learn from experiences and practices that differ from our own? These are just some of the questions that we would like to see discussed during the conference.

Please send two abstracts to Denise Merkle (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.): the first (to be included in the program) should be from 250 to 300 words, and the second (to be included in the grant application) should be no more than 150 words. The deadline is 15 December 2010.

Description: Translation and interpretation activities in a context of official or institutional multilingualism (where are least two languages are official languages) are the reality of many of the world's countries, but rarely are translation studies scholars brought together to exchange stories about their shared political, institutional, social and cultural experiences. While the topic of translation in multilingual and multicultural contexts has generated considerable intellectual interest of late, conferences and publications have not concentrated discussions exclusively around contexts of official multilingualism.
The Scientific Committee suggests the following non-exhaustive list of sub-themes and questions as potential topics for papers:

• concepts and definitions: official language, national language, institutional language official translation, institutional translation (Mossop 1988);
• legislated multilingualism and translation relation between translation and legislated multilingualism: Is translation legislated? What translation/interpretation is required in the context of legislated multilingualism? What documents must be translated?
• the economic costs and benefits of charter translation effects of official multilingualism on translation policy and practice;
• effects of legislated translation on official multilingualism;
• power dynamic between "legislated" languages (Are the official languages equal under the law?) and its impact on translation;
• impact of translation on power dynamic between charter languages/cultures;
• official languages versus official minority (e.g., sami and kven in Norway) languages and translation;
• officially multilingual states/provinces (e.g., Hawaii) within unilingual countries (United States of America);
• translation of legislation (legal status);
• training/selection of official translators and interpreters;
• official multilingualism and translation in pan-national (European Union) versus national contexts;
• official translators, their roles throughout history, in particular, the extent to which they are cultural leaders in contexts of linguistic and cultural plurality tensions between official role as non-partisan mediator and personal agency;
• socio-cultural considerations: Does translation serve the humanist ideal of striving to create a common culture (Simon 1996) or does it serve to divide cultures in contexts of official multilingualism?
• relationship between a country’s official (national) languages (Is it harmonious or disharmonious and why?) and impact of the relationship on national identity;
• the power dynamic between official languages in the real world versus their legal status (ideological considerations) relationship between official and non-official language translation and interpretation;
• literature impact of official multilingualism on the literary polysystem(s);
• translation of literature(s) between official languages;
• effects of legislated translation on the themes and figures of literature (e.g., Poliquin in the Canadian context).


Deadline for submission of proposals: 2010-12-15
Contact details: Scientific Committee: Gillian Lane-Mercier, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Denise Merkle, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Reine Meylaerts, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Event website:

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