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Friday, 16 August 2013 16:04

Retranslation in Context

Boğaziçi University, 12-13 December 2013.

The goal of the conference is to provide a platform for a discussion of retranslation both as practice and concept and to trigger theoretical reflections and methodological inquiries on retranslation.

The conceptual framework of retranslation has expanded considerably since the "retranslation hypothesis" proposed in the 1990s. Studies covering different text types, historical periods and individual retranslators have revealed the diversity of motives and contexts of retranslation and the time is now ripe to discuss the theoretical and methodological consequences of these findings.

An increased focus on the practice and concept of retranslation has served as a point of departure for discussions on a number of issues such as the historical context of translations, norms, ideology, translator's agency and intertextuality. Retranslated works often signal, trigger, or result in linguistic, literary and intellectual change in the target culture, while investigations on retranslations may help reveal otherwise implicit social conflict or struggle among cultural agents who resort to retranslation to attain cultural or ideological, and even personal goals. Although the main object of studies dealing with retranslation has been literary translation and the translation of sacred texts, a growing interest can be observed in retranslations of other text types in different media. The role of retranslation in the dissemination of knowledge and transfer of new ideas and concepts is becoming increasingly evident.

A recent interdisciplinary project launched by researchers at Boğaziçi University (2011-2016) has started compiling a comprehensive bibliography of retranslations published in the Ottoman and modern Turkish societies, offering quantitative data and trends about retranslated works and their translators. As the project enters a new phase and launches critical analyses of statistical data, as well as of retranslated texts, the potential contribution of a retranslation framework to the cultural and translation history of Turkey is becoming more evident.

The Conference "Retranslation in Context" to take place at Boğaziçi University on 12-13 December 2013 takes its point of departure from the findings offered and challenges posed by this Project. Its goal is to provide a platform for a discussion of retranslation both as practice and concept and to trigger theoretical reflections and methodological inquiries on retranslation.

The Conference will also feature a special component with a key-note session dedicated to retranslation in historical perspective.

Key-note Session:
Re/Translation(s) in Historical Perspective: Pre-/Early/Late Modern Practices and Debates – Special Component of the International Conference "Retranslation in Context"

Retranslation has been the subject of research more in the modern historical context than in the pre- or early modern. Furthermore, most work on retranslation focuses on literary writing and sacred texts rather than the transmission of knowledge. In fact, hardly any studies have problematized the multifarious aspects of retranslation in terms of concept and practice in their pre- and early modern contexts , although translation history abounds in translators who have rendered source texts interlingually, so that the target texts they produced often served as source texts for later translators. Moreover, closer examination reveals that retranslations in pre- and early modern historical contexts generally serve the transmission of knowledge or aesthetics from previous sources  (translations or retranslations themselves). Scholarship already shows that such texts were manipulated (i.e. supplemented, cut down, or collated from other sources) according to the inclinations, motives, or purposes of a particular translator, in a particular socio-historical context, a particular geographical location, under a particular patron, etc.

This special component of the conference will bring together scholars and researchers from various fields for a discussion and rethinking of issues of practice and theory with a view to developing fresh perspectives that may result from a "dialogue" or comparison between the pre-/early and late modern re/translation traditions. We invite speakers to place particular emphasis on the re/translator's agency.

We propose for your consideration the following topics, which are by no means restrictive.
- Roots of translation and retranslation traditions: Graeco-Arab and others
- Historicity of re/translation
- Re/translations of scientific texts on history, medicine, geography, astronomy, etc.
- Ideological and political motives of retranslation.
- Networks and itineraries of translators and translations.
- Patronage and patrons of retranslations
- Reception/readership of retranslations
- Retranslation in different media, i.e. audiovisual and electronic media
- Intralingual retranslation

Abstracts (300 words) in English or Turkish for 20-minute papers should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by September 1, 2013.

Working Languages: English and Turkish

Invited Speakers
Cemal Kafadar (Harvard University)
Hakan Karateke (University of Chicago)
Harun Küçük (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)
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