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Tuesday, 17 September 2013 17:39

Translation: Territories, Memory, History

Call for abstracts: XXVII Conference of the Canadian Association for Translation Studies (CATS), Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario
May 26-28 2014


While debates around Neocolonialism, national languages, and aboriginal peoples within Translation Studies are far from exhausted, translation studies scholars are increasingly interested in Globalisation. Much of the interest on subjects like Web translation and localisation arises from their transnational, transterritorial nature. Like translation, these subjects do not have boundaries.
To translate is to occupy someone else's territory literally and figuratively. In the case of translators, they take over authors, bringing them out of their territories and transporting them to other places. Thanks to translators, authors cross physical borders to live within other communities, within other nations where they will be known, read, reread and rediscovered. In the case of translated texts, they displace originals. They take their place within a culture, and they make originals move within their literary or textual traditions. Translations have the power to create an image for their originals; they can either downgrade them, or make them shine. Translations make texts penetrate zones from the periphery to the centre, from East to West, from North to South, and vice versa. Translations overcome boundaries of all sorts: political, social, linguistic, regional, national or imperial. Although translation has its own territory, it can, in most cases, travel openly and sometimes covertly. Through translation, a language and a culture can take over new territories.
Aboriginal languages are losing ground, and aboriginal peoples are losing their identities. Does translation contribute to such loses? How can translation foster understanding between aboriginal peoples and other ethnic groups? The hegemony of English occupies and preoccupies translation studies scholars. English written texts increasingly dominate the territory of translation studies publications. Is there still a place for publications in languages other than English within translation studies?

Translators need not only the memories of words and languages, but also the ideas, sensations, and practices. Translators' experiences are spread through their testimonies and are maintained in narratives. Translators, like translation studies scholars, require a memory of their profession and discipline to avoid unnecessary repetition.
Translation travels from performance to expertise, from intuition to reflection, from corporeality to imagination. What are the outcomes of such initiation journeys? These journeys should tell us a lot about collective and individual memories that are kept in archives. Archives, narratives, chronicles and testimonials act as repositories of translators' memories. Is this cultural legacy sufficiently studied? Are we making the best of the memories related to First Nations, institutions, cities, networks?
Translation studies metalanguage, which has emerged during the last few decades, lacks definition and actualization. Have translation studies scholars lost their memories or are they trying to build new ones? Do translation studies scholars and their "memories" occupy their own territory? Translation studies concepts, models and approaches merge with, enrich, and contradict one another. Is it time to question them? Is it time to replace them? If so, which concepts, models and approaches could take their place? Does Translation Studies really need sociology, cultural or literary studies to explain translation phenomena? Should Translation Studies keep borrowing concepts, models, and approaches from other disciplines, or should Translation Studies create new tools from existing ones?
While studies into translation history continue to grow, they have failed to have an influence on other disciplines. How can translation history have an impact on world history, on literary history, on the history of science or religion? How can translation history be relevant to the history of artistic, economic, philosophical and social movements? How could translation history contribute to fields such as book history and print culture studies? Could all these associations contribute to the visibility of translation as a practice and to translation studies as a discipline? The time is perhaps ripe to confirm the place of translation as a social catalyst, able to mobilize the masses and bring about change. What sort of translation history should future translators and Translation Studies scholars learn? What kind of translation history should be told to the general public?
In 2004, Julio César Santoyo pointed to a series of "Blank spaces" in the history of translation. Ten years later, have we filled these "voids"? Should Translation Studies finally address oral translation, translator practices, pseudo-translations, self-translations, forgotten texts and translations that have survived their lost originals?
Papers on the following topics will be welcomed:
-       Postcolonialism
-       Less translated languages
-       Globalisation and localisation
-       Adaptation, appropriation
-       The status of original texts compared to that of translations
-       First Nations languages and cultures as they relate to Translation Studies
-       Migration and immigration

-       Translations and retranslations
-       The genealogy of texts
-       Translation within institutions and networks
-       The evolution of the metalanguage of translation studies
-       Evolution of translation studies
-       The translation of translation studies
-       Translation narratives
-       Translation history and social sciences
-       Translation visibility
-       Translation as a social catalyst
-       Oral translation
-       Pseudo-translations
-       Self-translation
-       Book History and Print Culture Studies
-       Research methods in translation history
-       Translation history teaching

Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes in length. Your proposal must contain the following documents:
1)      A 300-word abstract in Word format, to be included in the conference program.
2)      The following form duly filled out. The information submitted will be incorporated into the grant application that CATS will submit to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and will not be used as evaluation criteria for your proposal.

Please submit your proposal to the organizers, Álvaro Echeverri and Georges L. Bastin, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than October 5th, 2013.

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