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Friday, 26 August 2011 22:25

Translation in Contexts of Official Multilingualism

Moncton (New Brunswick, Canada)
1, 2, 3 November 2012
Translation in Contexts of Official Multilingualism

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, legal 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.
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: Afghanistan (Pashto and Dari), Belgium (Dutch, French and German), Cameroon and Canada (English and French), Finland (Finnish and Swedish), India (23 official languages), Ireland (Irish and English), Israel (Hebrew and Arabic), Norway (two varieties of Norwegian), Pakistan (Urdu and English), Philippines (Filipino and English), South Africa (11 official languages) and Switzerland (French, German, Italian), among other countries. 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 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.

The Scientific Committee invites panel proposals and 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 (see e.g. 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 (USA), 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 "national" literature(s) between official languages, effects of legislated translation on the themes and figures of literature (e.g., Poliquin in the Canadian context).

Please send two abstracts to Denise Merkle (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by 30 September 2011: 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.

Please submit the following information with your abstract:

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.

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