June 30, 2021

Translation Studies

CIH Spring Newsletter 2021
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

Translation Studies is by nature interdisciplinary, not only the purview of philology and linguistics, but also of literary studies, history, philosophy, semiotics and cultural studies, as well as being a creative act in itself. So the main goal of our working group was first and foremost to establish a supportive and collaborative space for those working on any aspect of Translation Studies, whether they were looking to enhance and expand their knowledge of the theoretical side of this trans-discipline, or wishing to discuss ways to become more skilled and thoughtful translators, or hoping to find new pedagogical methods of incorporating translation studies into teaching at all levels. A second goal was to start working towards establishing an interdisciplinary course on translation studies. What this would look like, what level it ought to be pitched at, where it would be housed, etc., were all questions we had in mind as we started our discussions in the fall of 2020.

We chose as the guiding thread for our meetings Lawrence Venuti’s collection of essays Translation Changes Everything: Theory and Practice (Routledge 2013). During the fall term we held three seminars, led by the three co-conveners and based around readings from Venuti’s book, using each convenor's research as touchstones for the discussion. The meetings in Winter 2021 were split between our twin aims of improving our own understanding of translation theory for our own research and translation practice and of discussing what a course offering in Translation Studies might look like. Regarding the first aim, we enjoyed two seminars, one from a long-established translator of Greek, Latin and Neo-Latin, Professor Keith Sidwell (UCalgary) and one from Professor Venuti himself (Temple University), who collaborated with us to build on the readings we had done so far and which very much left us all wanting more. Regarding the second aim, we set our enthusiastic student members to work to investigate Translation Studies courses offered by other universities and come up with ideas about how they might envisage such a course offering here. They engaged in this exercise, as they did in all the seminars, with gusto and commitment, and we look forward to building on their ideas in the coming year. Below are the reflections of two on their experience as members of this Working Group.

Max Gardner (rising 3rd year undergraduate, SLLLC): Translation was something I had never considered deeply. It was like putting your fingers on the pulse of language or crashing into an iceberg at night, though invisible it seemed, we move in and out of translation daily and thankless we often are. Meaning makes the world and words make the meaning, but whatever do we care when reading who it was that moved them around for us to (re)create a feeling, idea, or text? Collaborating with this exceptional group brought about conversations regarding an invisible hero that is often forgotten but ever present. After studying works by leading translation theorist, Lawrence Venuti, our innovative co-conveners, organized a seminar with Professor Venuti, where he shared with us his theoretical perspectives and passion for translation. This seminar capped off a semester of readings and gave us momentum for our next project which opened the door for some student collaboration. Working with Qing, Ruth and Laura on the Syllabus project allowed us to transform our discussion of theory into a study of existing methods of teaching Translation Studies. Mid-way through our project we welcomed a presentation by prolific translator Keith Sidwell and his works in translating early modern Latin Irish epic poems. Learning from this incredible group of students, experts, and translators, has enriched my studies of language and culture by considering the process of translation and the responsibility of a translator from multiple perspectives.”

Qing Li (PhD student, SLLLC): "As one of the few graduate students in the University of Calgary whose research interest touches upon translation studies between a certain language combination, I was thrilled to be invited to participate in the Translation Studies Working Group. After two semesters, I am even thrilled to found out what I’ve gained from the monthly meetings and the student project of the Working Group. My understanding of translation studies theories has also been brought to a higher level thanks to the guest speakers' talks on translating Arabic and modern Latin poems. In addition, the student project is a bonus for me as a “big fan” of the Working Group, because it allows me to work with brilliant and responsible peers from various disciplines and to design a syllabus for the “ideal” translation studies course. Even though the student group meetings were scheduled mostly on Saturdays, I couldn’t wait to join the Zoom meetings each time, because I am eager to see the sparks coming out of our discussions. I am happy to learn that the Working Group has been renewed and can’t wait to meet everyone again in Fall 2021."

Co-conveners: Eleonora Buonocore (SLLLC, Italian), Rachel Friedman (SLLLC, ALMS), and Noreen Humble (CLARE)

2021-22 Interdisciplinary Working Groups

Our Working Groups bring together faculty and graduate students from different disciplines. The aims? To explore common research interests and encourage collaborative research projects.

2021-22 KIAS-CIH Alberta Humanities Research Grant

The Kule Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS) and the Calgary Institute for the Humanities (CIH) sponsor a joint research team from the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary. This opportunity is designed to encourage interdisciplinary humanities collaborations between researchers from both institutions.

Artistic bubbles

Calgary Institute for the Humanities Newsletter Spring 2021