To mark the 35th anniversary of the journal TTR, the conference “Redefining translation? Historical fluctuations, new practices, and epistemologies in the making” will bring together established and emerging scholars to address themes related to translation (including interpretation), terminology, and writing. Translation, together with terminology and professional writing, constitutes a complex set of practices, processes, and epistemologies that, no matter what they are called, (e.g., translation, adaptation, transfer, intertextuality, transformation), have always played a prominent role in civil society while also being used as tools of colonization and discrimination. Translation thus raises crucial ethical issues that call for serious reflection. Starting from the tripartite definitions of translation proposed by Roman Jakobson (1959) and Gideon Toury (1995), among others, this conference invites scholars to reflect on the (re)definitions of translation and interpretation and their ethical implications throughout history. The following questions can serve as points of departure: Does translation (along with interpretation) only involve transfer between languages, individuals, texts, communities or nation states? Or does it also concern any material, even biosemiotic, form of transfer that may or may not include interlingual exchange? Are translation and interpretation always synonymous with transfer? Can we move from a restricted to an enlarged view of translation while also ensuring that this field of knowledge retains its specificity and common foundations? If so, what would these be (see Nouss, 2012)? Is translation exclusive to human beings, that is to say, does it only take place between humans? What role does or should technology play in the translation process in light of the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and neural machine translation (NMT)? How do these changes affect human translation? What are the characteristics of the contemporary translating subject? To what extent can advances in AI and the ethical issues they raise enrich our analysis of the production of bilingual or multilingual content? Given the complex power dynamics that characterize the Anthropocene, what roles can translation and interpretation play in mediating and raising awareness of contemporary issues? Clearly, the mediating role that both translation and interpretation play, whether in community settings or times of crisis, is a pressing current issue. Insofar as translation can also be considered a cognitive act that precedes and facilitates communication despite differences, what cognitive theories can help us better understand translation and its practices? As an interpretative act, translation is a heuristic tool that has the potential to participate in the production and circulation of knowledge. How might this potential be achieved? This conference seeks to encourage dialogue on the important social role that translation plays in the formation and transformation of knowledge as well as in the movement and mediation of ideas. We welcome proposals focusing on historical fluctuations (e.g., definitions of translation), new practices (e.g., linguistic revitalization thanks to translation), and epistemologies (e.g., the science of translation, hermeneutics, the interpretive school, various sociologies of translation, and complexity theory) that have defined, still define, and will define translation in the broader sense going forward.
Deadline for submissions: 1 November 2023
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