Archived seminars

Information about CTIS lectures and events that took place between 2000 and 2015.

Past seminars 2014-2015

Semester 1

2 October 2014
Challenging beliefs about cloud computing and big data
Anne-Charlotte Perrigaud, Catholic University of Rennes

9 October 2014
Machine Translation: how much can statistics help?
Adria de Gispert, University of Cambridge & SDL Research

16 October 2014
Eating our words? Food, translation, mobility
Michael Cronin, Dublin City University

6 November 2014
Transmitting voices, translating trauma: David Boder's 1946 interviews with Holocaust survivors
Beate Müller, Newcastle University

13 November 2014 
Independent publishing and translation
Jim Hinks, Comma Press & PhD candidate Edge Hill University

20 November 2014
Emotion perception and the translation process
Severine Hubscher-Davidson, Aston University

27 November 2014
What does it mean to interpret into a B language?
Clare Donovan, OECD/ESIT, Paris

Semester 2

5 February 2015
Diaspora: Multilingual and intercultural communication across time and space
Zhu Hua, Birkbeck College, University of London

19 February 2015
Conference Interpreting: Managing expectations
Ebru Diriker, Bogazici University, Turkey

26 February 2015
Crazy Japanese subtitles: Impact caption and viewer experience
Ryoko Sasamoto, Dublin City University

5 March 2015
Translation of Francophone Senegalese women’s literature
Georgina Collins, University of Glasgow

12 March 2015
Translation and creativity
Kirsten Malmkjaer, University of Leicester

19 March 2015
Public Service Interpreting and its humanitarian roots: Archive research on refugee reception and resettlement in mid-late 20th century Britain
Rebecca Tipton, University of Manchester

Past events 2013-2014


3 October 2013

The Reader Over Your Shoulder – The Challenges of Re-translating a Classic

Ros Schwartz, Freelance Translator, Chair of English PEN’s Writers in Translation Committee

10 October 2013

What Does the Translator Do in the Theatre?

David Johnston, Queen’s University Belfast

17 October 2013

Translating for an International Organisation

Hakan Bergstrom, Translator for the European Commission

14 November 2013

Developing an Action Theory for Intercultural Communication: Evidence, Applications and Politics

Adrian Holliday, Canterbury Christ Church University

21 November 2013 

Feminist Translation Studies in the 21st Century: A Narrowing Gap Between Theory and Practice?

Olga Castro, Aston University, Birmingham

28 November 2013

Simultaneous Conference Interpreting: A Short History of Nearly Everything

Kilian Seeber, Université de Genève, Suisse

5 December 2013

Rhythm, Film Editing and Translation: Cyrano de Bergerac

Adriana Serban, University of Montpellier 3, France


6 February 2014

News Translation: Global or Cosmopolitan Connections

Esperanca Bielsa, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

13 February 2014

Translation and Anarchism

Stefan Baumgarten, Bangor University

20 February 2014

Imaging Sound, Sounding Images. Theoretical and Practical Issues in the Translation of Contemporary Chinese Poetry.

Cosima Bruno, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

27 February 2014

Threads of Memory: Re-witnessing the Nazi Camps Through Translation

Sharon Deane-Cox, University of Edinburgh

6 March 2014

Habitus - a Term "qui dérange": The Translator's Habitus in the Late Habsburg Empire

Michaela Wolf, University of Graz 

13 March 2014

A corpus-based Definition of the Usage Constraint in Translation 

Rudy Loock, University of Lille 3 and CNRS "Savoirs, Textes, Langage" UMR

20 March 2014

Of Filial Sons and Copycat Pirates:  The Urge to Understand Chinese Culture through ‘Key Concepts’

James St Andre, The University of Manchester

Past events 2012-2013


4 October 2012

The Professional Image of Conference Interpreters: Making and Breaking Myths

Ebru Diriker, Bogaziçi University, Turkey & University of Manchester, UK

11 October 2012

Translating for the European Institutions:  Organisation and Challenges

Angeliki Petrits, European Commission Directorate-General for Translation Representation in the UK

18 October 2012

Transgenderism and Transsituated Discourse in Subtitles

Dimitris Asimakoulas, University of Surrey, UK

25 October 2012

The Consecration of Orhan Pamuk

Maureen Freely, University of Warwick, UK

15 November 2012

Power Play: Translation, Globalization and the Elite Migrant Athlete

Roger Baines, University of East Anglia, UK

22 November 2012

Literary Translation as a Process of Interpretation: Tyrant Banderas

Peter Bush, Freelance literary translator, Barcelona, Spain

29 November 2012

Keep Your Distance? Remote Interpreting in Legal Proceedings: A Critical Assessment of a Growing Practice

Sabine Braun, University of Surrey, UK


7 February 2013

Translation as Metaphor: On the Concept of Translation within Philosophy, Media Theory and Cultural Studies

Rainer Guldin, Università della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano), Switzerland

14 February 2013

Face Management in Translation and Interpreting

Xiaohui Yuan, University of Nottingham, UK 

21 February 2013

National Translation? Original Translations by Recent British and Irish poets

John McAuliffe, University of Manchester, UK

28 February 2013

The Translator as Agent of Change: The First Translators of Perrault’s and Grimms’ Tales into English and their Impact on English-language Children’s Literature

Gillian Lathey, National Centre for Research in Children's Literature, Roehampton University, UK

7 March 2013

Researching Multilingually: Some Challenges and Complexities from Different Disciplines

Jane Andrews, University of the West of England & Richard Fay, University of Manchester, UK

14 March 2013

A corpus-based Definition of the Usage Constraint in Translation

Rudy Loock, Université Lille-Nord de France & Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France

21 March 2013

Mapping Memory in Translation

Siobhan Brownlie, University of Manchester, UK

Past seminars 2011-2012

6 October 2011

Writing, Performance and the Practice of Translation

Christiana Lambrinidis, Center for Creative Writing for Theatre and Conflict Resolution, Greece

Seminar abstract:

If pass/port was a lemon, how would one enter a country or the place of origin?
If a lemon tree was a road/block, how would one stop before it, use it, or surpass it? 
If lemonade was a baptism, how would one practice faith? 
Let us be lemons, trees, or liquid. 
According to the form we can proceed to employ translation. 
This is a seminar of experience, creativity and practice.

13 October 2011

Live Subtitling: Past, Present and Future

Pablo Romero-Fresco, University of Roehampton, UK

Seminar abstract:

Respeaking has become consolidated as the preferred method to produce live subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing around the world. Tested at first only in the US, the UK and Flanders, it is now being used regularly in countries such as France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Japan or Australia to meet the subtitling quotas set by the different national governments. After a slow beginning, academic research has caught up with the industry, establishing some ground rules regarding the quality of respoken subtitles and their reception by the viewers. However, a series of recent developments, especially the introduction of automatic subtitles (speech-recognition based live subtitles with no, or little, need for human intervention), call for an in-depth revision of these ground rules.

After a brief introduction to the respeaking technique, including its evolution and practice in different countries, this talk will focus on the present and future of live subtitling, considering the extent to which the results and recommendations obtained so far by researchers in this area are compatible with the latest developments in the audiovisual industry.

20 October 2011

Resurfacing Languages in War

Simona Tobia, University of Reading, UK

Seminar abstract:

This paper is part of the major project ‘Languages at War’ funded by the AHRC and based at the University of Reading, in partnership with the University of Southampton and the Imperial War Museum. The project is focused on the study of the policies and practices of language encounters in wars, and the paper will draw from research done for the Second World War case-study.

During the Second World War allied troops in Europe were the protagonists of various types of multilingual encounters. Foreign languages were crucial elements in those circumstances, and interpreters and translators had a key function in negotiating meanings and communicating the conflict. But how were they represented by the institutions which had to establish policy on languages and linguists? And how did linguists (interpreters and translators) represent languages and the problems involved in encounters with speakers of different languages? More importantly: how do we uncover the role of languages in war and how can we make languages visible in war?

Interpreters in and after the Second World War were working in a highly dynamic and unstable environment, where operational rules and a professional code of practice were still to be established. Their ethical role was thus situated and enacted rather than responding to pre-established norms: they were more concerned with ‘getting the job done’ rather than comply with ethical rules, and so were those who can be seen as their employers.

Drawing on documents from the National Archives, London, and testimonies from the oral history interviews performed by the presenter herself, and those held in the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, the paper highlights the need to problematize the current interpreting/translating orthodoxies on ethics and codes of practices in an effort to understand and engage with languages at war; the paper also addresses methodological issues relating to the use of different types of sources (archival material and oral history interviews) as a historian.

10 November 2011

Post-Editing & Machine Translation: Opportunity or Threat for Translation Studies Graduates?

Sharon O'Brien, Dublin City University, Ireland

Seminar abstract:

With the development of new paradigms in Machine Translation, most notably the data-driven approach, this technology has enjoyed increasing success and deployment in the last number of years. This is especially true for domains such as Information Technology and Patent translation. Post-editing, or the fixing of errors in machine translated output by human linguists, is, however, still required for high quality publication. Consequently, professional translators now regularly receive requests to post-edit content. In addition, translator trainers are considering the inclusion of training for post-editing in their programmes. While some translators move easily between the tasks of 'standard translation' and post-editing, others find this transition difficult for many different reasons and this has led to frustration both on the part of translation clients and professional translators.

Drawing on a number of years of research into post-editing, I will explain what is typically involved in the task, what the dependencies are and what the typical challenges are. As Machine Translation takes a serious foothold in certain domains in the translation industry, I will address the question as to whether Machine Translation is an opportunity or threat for Translation Studies graduates.

17 November 2011

Court Interpreting in Spain: The Madrid Train Bomb Trial and Beyond

Anne Martin, University of Granada, Spain

Seminar abstract:

The high profile trials of those accused of perpetrating the 2004 Madrid train bombings marked a turning point in the history and development of court interpreting in Spain. Traditionally, court interpreting arrangements in Spain have been less than adequate, with few enforceable requirements regarding the training and accreditation of those involved. However, during the train bomb trial (2007) simultaneous interpreting was used for the first time in a Spanish courtroom on a large scale and utmost care was taken to ensure that the interpreters working at this mega-trial were experienced, trained professionals with knowledge of the different dialectal variations of Arabic spoken by the defendants and witnesses.

The nature of the trial, the presence of national and international media, as well as the immense responsibility the interpreters assumed in this case, created an atmosphere of intense emotion and pressure. Moreover, translation became a major issue at the trial as the principal defendant was acquitted in part due to the deficient translation of a conversation originally in Arabic and which constituted the main evidence leading to the charges brought against him.

In this seminar, the role of interpreting and of the interpreters during the trial will be analysed from several standpoints: on the one hand, the interpreters’ role as perceived by the legal professionals involved and secondly, as described by the interpreters themselves. The evolution of such perceptions will be followed over the four months the trial lasted, as all the participants adapted and adjusted to the interpreting process.
Two of the interpreting team were also required to act as expert witnesses in this case, their testimony leading to the acquittal of the main defendant. The issues of role overlap and neutrality will be discussed in relation to this. Finally, we shall discuss the future perspectives for court interpreting in Spain and the extent to which interpreting arrangements at this trial may exert a positive influence.

24 November 2011

Autoethnography: Cultural Translation and Indigenous Literature in Contemporary Taiwan

Pei-Yin Lin, University of Cambridge, UK

Seminar abstract:

This paper employs the anthropological usage of cultural translation to examine the politics of indigenity and to trace the development of Taiwan’s indigenous literature. It consists of three parts. The first part offers an overview of the literary representations of Taiwan’s aborigines in selected works by the Qing literatis, the Japanese colonisers, and the Han Taiwanese authors in post-war Taiwan. The second part uses the Chinese-language works by the Bunun writer Topas Tamapima (b. 1960) as a case study to illustrate the thematic and stylistic features of contemporary Taiwan’s aboriginal literature, and to examine how the writing can be seen as an autoethnographic account constituting negotiations with the Han cultural hegemony. The final part places the aboriginal literature against the context of Taiwan’s cultural indigenisation. It argues that the meaning of indigenity is not fixed or inherent, and because of this, the aboriginal literature interestingly lends strength to the construction of a de-Sinified indigenous discourse in contemporary Taiwan.

1 December 2010

Toward Questions of Untranslatability: Translation as Comparative Critical Method

Ayman El-Desouky, School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

Seminar abstract:

This presentation will seek to address some recent questions surrounding issues of untranslatability, cultural and philosophical, and to examine them in the context of some recent calls for the return to philology in Translation Studies. What Apter has interpreted as “the injunction of untranslatability’ that originates in an Islamic context, following Moroccan critic Abdelfattah Kilito’s insights must still pertain to what she has called for under a theology of saving difference in philosophical discourse and translation studies (Bloom and Heidegger, and we can add Blanchot here as well). What Kilito has outlined under the injunction “Thou shalt not Translate Me” ultimately pertains to the language experience, not to the sacred text itself (precisely where the return to the philological and the rigour of translatio studii are necessitated).
The question of untranslatability does not necessarily name, let alone constitute, an impasse in the acts and processes of translation. Rather, I believe, it serves to highlight the complexities in the acts of understanding alterity, personal or cultural, and as such it also foregrounds the hermeneutic dimensions in the act of translation.

I shall open with a review of some recent issues surrounding untranslatability and the call for a return to philology and then examine some key concepts and attempts at their translation (See Seminar Handout). Examples will range from Cultural: Amāra and the speech of power; Hermeneutical (Biblical and Qur’anic): Kerygma and Naẓm; Aesthetic: Aistheton and Noeton vs.  Iro and Ku.

Semester 2

Venue: Samuel Alexander Building, Rm A113

Time: 2pm-3.20pm

16 February 2012

Approaching Expertise in Translation from a Process-oriented Perspective: Insights from Empirical-Experimental Studies

Fábio Alves, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil

Seminar abstract:

According to Shreve (2006), expertise in translation entails a great deal of metacognitive monitoring and also presupposes the translator’s ability to self-regulate performance levels between routinised (procedural) and reflective (declarative) behaviour. At LETRA, the Laboratory for Experimentation in Translation, the investigation of expertise in translation is approached from the perspective of data triangulation (Jakobsen 1999, Alves 2003) to assess the performance of subjects along the cline novice-expert translators. Thus, LETRA researchers hope to describe some prototypical traits related to expertise in translation and account for cognitive differences observed among disparate translator profiles. This lecture presents the methodological foundations that guide the research carried out at LETRA and reviews three recent studies (Alves 2007, Alves, Pagano & Silva 2009, Alves, Pagano & Silva 2011) that corroborate experimentally some theoretical assumptions about expertise in translation.

23 February 2012

Translating Gender, Translating French Feminism - Tahar Ben Jelloun and Annie Ernaux in English

Pascale Sardin, Sorbonne Nouvelle University, France

Seminar abstract:

In this talk I will raise the issue of the translation into English of contemporary French and Francophone feminist novels. To what extent is the gender politics of these texts transferable into their English versions? Are feminist discourses in France and in the US and Britain compatible? In what ways do they resist translation? To answer this question, we will analyse two telling examples. First we will focus on the changes operated on L’Enfant de sable, a bestseller novel by Francophone writer Tahar Ben Jelloun, in which he exploits the gender marks of French grammar and which is meant to express the submission of women in a patriarchal society. As we will see, numerous passages are cut out or expurgated, and the text is typographically reorganized in such a way that its status is modified. Annie Ernaux’s autofictional novels will then provide another example of how French contemporary feminist texts are censored when translated into English. We will focus on the discourse on sexuality in Passion Perfect and The Possession and on the discourse on procreation in Happening. The effort to objectify the discourse on the body which characterizes Ernaux’s writing is based on a style devoid of metaphors and marked by numerous repetitions. These textual stakes are simplified in the translation, while the prejudices against women are slightly intensified.

1 March 2012

The Acquisition of Expertise in Interpreting: Neurophysiological Correlates

Barbara Moser-Mercer, Université de Genève, Switzerland

Seminar abstract:

The brain is a plastic structure that will change in response to the demands of skill acquisition and the development of expertise. In this presentation we will look at the interpreting process and the demands it is likely to exert on the cognitive system. The various sub-skills that make up the interpreting skill and their development from early childhood through adulthood provide us with a better appreciation of brain plasticity and the potential it holds for reaching high levels of performance in interpreting. Control functions, knowledge representation in long-term memory and processing in short-term working memory are but some of the components of human cognition which emerge as particularly important candidates for mediating expert performance in interpreting.

Skill acquisition changes cognitive processing as automation sets in, but specific representational areas are also sensitive to skill-specific input and likely to change in response to the demands posed by skilled performance. Simultaneous interpreting is acquired during extensive training; we can thus assume that changes in cognitive processing required for skill execution produce long-term functional and structural changes in the brain, both in general control areas as well as in domain-specific representational areas.

8 March 2012

Translation, Migration and the Bio-politics of Language

Loredana Polezzi, University of Warwick, UK

Seminar abstract:

Linking translation with migration has become a recurrent trope in critical writing over the past few years. The popularity of the link is in itself revealing: it underlines the increased centrality of migration and of translation (as notions but also as practices) in contemporary society; and it foregrounds the suggestive as well as anxiety-inducing nature of any interweaving of the two. Starting from the practice of translation as a linguistic activity (rather than a broad ‘cultural’ notion), I will ask in what way language practices connected to migration can be linked to translation. This will require some reflections on migration (and, especially, on migrants as agents or objects of translation) as well as a discussion of sites of translation and self-translation. I will then examine some of the language practices which emerge from migrant writing, asking whether the migrant as artist and as self-translator can offer at least a partial response to negative models of translation seen as a form of control over linguistic heterogeneity. The final section of my paper will then examine the connection between migration, translation and political action, suggesting the need to understand how these relate to a bio-politics of language.

15 March 2012

Translation and Creativity: A Case Study in Digital (Re)presentation

Anna Milsom, London Metropolitan University, UK

Seminar abstract:

This talk seeks to encourage reflection on the place of creativity in the research process. The focus of the project under discussion was the analysis and translation of folktales by the Cuban ethnographer Lydia Cabrera (1899-1991). Cabrera’s tales actively embrace hybridity, straddling a range of oppositions by being both oral and written, singly and multiply authored, ethnographic fact and literary fiction.  The complexity of translating such texts into English led to a desire to offer translation solutions which might move beyond the traditional format of a written text in one language standing in the place of a written text in another. Archival research undertaken at the University of Miami was pivotal. The collection contains a vast resource, made up of Cabrera’s field notes, doodles, photographs and drafts. Slowly, the idea of presenting translations as multiple layers of text emerged. Drawing on a range of disciplines, an interactive DVD, underpinned by the notion of ‘thick translation’ (Appiah 1993/2004), was developed. This digital format aimed to make all the participants involved in Cabrera’s tales visible; the writer, her informants, the translator, and the reader as active participant.

22 March 2012

Non-Representational Insights into the Role of Affectivity in Amateur Subtitling

Luis Perez Gonzalez, University of Manchester, UK

Seminar abstract:

Over the last decade, technological developments have brought about the proliferation of self-mediated textualities that empower networks of non-professional translators to engage in participatory subtitling practices. These new modes of engaged subtitling agency are, in many cases, part of a movement of cultural resistance against global capitalist structures and institutions through interventionist forms of subtitling, whether for aesthetic or political reasons. Participatory subtitling challenges the assumptions underpinning traditional scholarship on the pragmatics of audiovisual translation. Firstly, in these self-mediated textualities, subtitling is no longer restricted to filmic texts: it is often used to mediate naturally occurring interaction, in genres that had traditionally been regarded of ephemeral interest to commercial audiences. Secondly, the mediation strategies deployed by amateur subtitlers do not appear to be bound by loyalty to the linguistic rationalism of screen characters or allegiance to traditional pragmatic principles of interpersonal communication. Thirdly, the scope of their mediation transcends the boundaries of written language and is broadened to include changes in other meaning-making modes. Drawing on a range of examples, this paper argues that affectivity emerges as a powerful non-representational variable in amateur mediation, where subtitles performatively intervene in the articulation and reception of the filmic semiotic ensemble as it unfolds, rather than being simply static superimposed signifiers. Against this backdrop, it contends that non-representational theory, originally developed within the field of human geography, would appear to be well positioned to supply the conceptual network required to account for this expressive or transformational role of amateur subtitling.

19 April 2012

Daggers Drawn: Crime across the Continent

Amanda Hopkinson, University of East Anglia & University of Manchester, UK

Seminar abstract:

Throughout the twentieth century, literature in English (and, arguably, European) translation was synonymous with the Classics. Classics as in the Everyman or Penguin series, preferably from Ancient Greece or Rome, or at least from before 75 years since first publication dates and so out of copyright. Around the turn of this century, however, two near-simultaneous changes occurred. One was the arrival on the literary scene of a burgeoning independent sector of small publishers. And, as ‘mainstream’ or ‘m.o.r’ became increasingly replaced with ‘noir’, so crime writing became the commonest currency of trans-European literature. From the Nordic to the Mediterranean seas; from the landmass behind the former Iron Curtain to the Celtic Fringe, the alternative publishing industry seized on crime like it was going out of style. What happened instead, of course, was that a whole new fashion – and a different genre – was created and promoted. This seminar will examine why, how and where this became established, in the teeth of which obstacles, and what may be its legacy.

Research models in Translation Studies II conference

29 April - 2 May 2011

This conference, held on 29 April to 2 May 2011 in Manchester, aimed to offer a platform for focused debate about the nature and direction of translation research in a global context. Themes addressed included:

  • self-reflexiveness and the researcher's subjectivity
  • research culture, research ethics, research practice
  • the globalisation of translation and interpreting studies: research and theory beyond the traditional centres of academic work
  • the challenges of researching translation and interpreting in new settings: new media, journalism, fansubbing, remote interpreting, the asylum system, war contexts, etc.

Invited keynote papers

  • Robert Barsky, Vanderbilt University, USA: Translation Studies in Times of Depression and Geopolitical Crises
  • Dirk Delabastita, Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix, Belgium: B2B in Translation Studies: Business to Business, or Back to Basics?
  • Sandra L. Halverson, University of Bergen, Norway: Reflexive Practice and the Particular Self: What Kinds of Questions Should We Be Asking?
  • Hephzibah Israel, India: Doing Interdisciplinary Research with Disciplined Neighbours: The Multidisciplinarity of Translation Studies
  • Vicente L. Rafael, University of Washington, USA: Translation and the US Empire: Notes on the Language of Counterinsurgency

Session outcomes

A brainstorming session led by Professor Maria Tymoczko on 2 May, at the end of what proved to be an extremely successful conference, elicited the following list of themes that delegates would like to see addressed in a future (perhaps Research Models in Translation Studies III) conference:

  • No more navel gazing (!)
  • Translation technology
  • Unconscious part of the translation process
  • Studies with human subjects, and the ethical issues involved
  • Audience and reception
  • Methodology
  • Models of multilingualism (not just bilingualism)
  • Engagement with 'hard data' in disciplines outside the humanities
  • Use of naturally occurring data (especially in interpreting)
  • Cultural dynamics of translation and non-translation
  • Cross-cultural pragmatics
  • Translating and interpreting in institutional settings
  • Interface of professional and non-professional translation
  • Globalization and localization
  • Applied translation research and informing teachers of research
  • Dialogue regarding attitudes towards TS across different regions in the world
  • Translation and social media
  • Historical methods in translation studies

Past events Pre-2011

CTIS has hosted and/or co-organized a number of large, international conferences. These include:

  • Research Models in Translation Studies II (Manchester 2011) hosted jointly by Centre for Translation & Intercultural Studies, School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, University of Manchester & Centre for Intercultural Studies, UCL (University College London)
  • International Postgraduate Conference in Translation and Interpreting (IPCITI) (Manchester 2010) organised as part of IPCITI series organised collaboratively by the University of Edinburgh, Dublin City University, Heriot-Watt University and the University of Manchester.
  • Translation Frames: Gateways and Gatekeeping, the First International CTIS Postgraduate Conference (Manchester, 2008).
  • China and Its Others: Knowledge Transfer and Representations of China and the West(Manchester, 2008, co-organised with Academia Sinica, Taiwan)
  • Translation and Conflict II (2006), co-organised with the University of Salford (UK) and Kent State University (USA).
  • Corpus-based Translation Studies: Research and Applications (Pretoria, South Africa, 2003).
  • Research Models in Translation Studies I (Manchester, 2000).