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Sunday, 02 March 2014 12:10

A British Academy Sponsored Research & Teaching Initiative: Translation Studies at Cairo University

Workshop 2: A Curriculum for the MA in The Cultural Politics of Translation27-28 April 2014Department of English Language and Literature, Cairo University & Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester

For all queries and requests for registration: translationstudies.edcu AT

The Department of English Language and Literature, Cairo University, and the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester, are establishing a new, research-driven MA programme in Translation Studies at the Faculty of Arts, Cairo University. The project was formally launched during the first workshop held at Cairo University, 9-10 December 2013. This second workshop will focus on designing and delivering a research-driven curriculum for four components of the new degree: research tools; theoretical foundations; audiovisual translation; and literary translation. The public lecture by Professor Theo Hermans on 27 April will engage with themes that underpin the entire curriculum.

Project Coordinators: Mona Baker (Manchester) and Hoda Elsadda (Cairo)

Working Group: Mona Baker, Hoda Elsadda, Theo Hermans, Luis Pérez-Gonzàlez, Walid El Hamamsy, Hala Kamal, Sahar Sobhi, Lamis El Naqqash, Loubna Youssef, Randa Abou Bakr, Hoda Ayyad. 


Sunday 27th April

4:00-6:00 pm Public lecture

Faculty of Arts annex: Conference hall

Positioning Translators

Professor Theo Hermans, University of Manchester and University College London 

Abstract: Starting from a set of examples that show translators voicing explicit reservations about the works they are translating, I explore the similarities between translations of this type and the ironic story-telling known as discordant narration. I go on to present a model of translation as reported discourse, more particularly that variety of reported speech in which the speaker’s attitude towards the message being reported is relevant for understanding the overall communication. This model enables a view of translators as conveying value judgements and positioning themselves in and through their translations. I conclude by suggesting practical ways in which receivers can discern a translator’s positioning.


Monday 28th April

Room 13 English Department 


10.00-11:30 am  The Translator as Researcher: Classroom Training in Cultural Translation

Professor Mostafa Riad, Ain Shams University 

Abstract: There is a growing need for introducing students of translation to the concept of the translator as researcher who would recognize and resolve translation problems as opposed to resorting to mere speculation, or at best a hasty looking up of definitions in bilingual dictionaries. ‘Research Tools for Translators’ increasingly features in translation curricula and classes often convene in computer labs, allowing students faster online research. Information sought varies from background information to the unfolding of specific cultural references or allusions. As translation theory has been encouraging a move beyond linguistic considerations to meta-linguistic ones, the focus on cultural communication increases and ‘culturemes’ have become an accepted unit for the translator/researcher to take into consideration.

This workshop suggests classroom activities aimed at encouraging research in the practice of translation. These include using reference works to resolve translation problems, comparing and contrasting source and target texts with a view to revealing translators’ policies, as well as encouraging students to produce their findings in descriptive essays.


11:00-12:30 pm  Theoretical Frameworks and Research Methodologies

Professor Mona Baker, University of Manchester

Abstract: This workshop will offer a brief overview of attempts to theorize translation from a variety of perspectives: as textual, historical, aesthetic, social and political activity that impacts the wider context in which it takes place. A broad range of approaches will be discussed, including linguistic approaches, sociological approaches, feminist approaches, and postcolonial approaches. The emphasis will be on examining the assumptions underlying each approach and the methodological implications of these assumptions.

The workshop is intended to provide a starting point for developing an up-to-date syllabus for a course on translation theory. A reading list will be provided to allow attendees to develop their own detailed syllabus in future.


12:30-1:00 pm Coffee break


1:00-2:30 pm  Audiovisual Translation in the Postgraduate Curriculum: Integrating Professional and Research Preparation

Dr. Luis Pérez-GonzálezUniversity of Manchester 

Abstract: The need to translate audiovisual texts has grown exponentially over the last three decades. Originally developed to facilitate the international distribution of motion pictures, audiovisual translation is now central to a wider and more heterogeneous range of screen-mediated activities. It now encompasses traditional modalities, such as subtitling, dubbing and voice-over, but also new techniques like audio description and subtitling for the hard of hearing.

This workshop explores the place of audiovisual translation in postgraduate taught programmes that aim to integrate professional and research preparation in translation studies. In designing up-to-date curricula, trainers need to ensure that the development of practical and technological competences is informed by a range of theoretical insights pertaining to the (sub)cultures in which the production and consumption of audiovisual texts are embedded. In this integrated approach, trainees are empowered to critically assess the implications of their adherence to or departure from widely held translation conventions in the field, whether they work for the industry or as part of non-professional groupings. 

Participants in the workshop will be provided with a reading list and a handout with links to recommended online resources for the development of an audiovisual translation syllabus at MA level.


2:30-4:00 pm Lunch break


4.00-5:30 pm  A Workshop on Literary Translation

Professor Theo Hermans, University of Manchester and University College London 

Historically, the amount of attention that literary translation has received from translators and critics is comparable only to the attention lavished on the translation of sacred scriptures. Literary translation has generated such a vast critical and reflective discourse primarily because of the perceived inherent difficulty of translating literary texts and the social relevance of literature as offering images and self-images of particular communities. These factors are still largely valid today, but they need to be complemented by institutional and typological considerations. 

The workshop aims to supply ideas and materials on which a graduate syllabus for a course in literary translation might be built. It will explore a range of aspects of literary translation grouped under the following headings:

  1. Genres and types of literature, including such oppositions as high vs popular literature; fiction vs non-fiction (e.g. autobiography, journalism or popular science writing); literature for adults vs literature for children and adolescents; migrant and culturally hybrid writing; graphic novels;
  2. Textual aspects, including e.g. formal constraints (such as metrical or rhyming verse), intertextuality and cultural references, narrative vs dialogue, the translation of style and the phenomenon of re-translation;
  3. Institutional aspects, from publishers and the role of agents and editors to legal and financial aspects (copyright, contracts) and the importance of global translation flows;
  4. The translation workshop in which students and staff engage in collective hands-on practice and explore how individuals might build up expertise and launch themselves in a professional environment while making ethical choices.
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