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Friday, 04 May 2012 05:41

International Conference on Translation in Contexts of Official Multilingualism

Moncton (New Brunswick, Canada)
1, 2, 3 November 2012

Translation and interpretation activities in a context of official multilingualism (where are least two languages are official languages) are the reality of many of the world’s countries, but rarely are translation practitioners and 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 limited discussions to contexts of official and institutional multilingualism.

This conference will provide an opportunity for professional translators, representatives of translation institutions and translation studies scholars to discuss professional experience and present 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, as well as many international organizations (e.g. United Nations, European Commission, Amnesty International). The papers on the conference programme explore an aspect of the interaction between translation and official multilingualism, such as the institutionalization of translation, in the countries and organizations mentioned above, as well as in others not included in the list.

Papers read will encourage 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 and international organizations? 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 will be discussed during the conference.

For further details, please visit the conference website:


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