Palma (Mallorca) from 27 to 29 June 2016
I International Conference:
The (politics of) translation (of politics)

Home pageProgramme CommitteeLodgingDocumentsVenueContact
General programme, activity sheet

Wednesday 29 June, 2016 11:00 to 12:00 Lecture

Questioning the Emancipating Role of Translation
Speaker: Luc  Van Doorslaer, CETRA

To translators and translation scholars, the emancipating role of translation, including interpreting, is obvious. We all are aware of hundreds of examples illustrating exactly that liberating function: from the historical examples of the identity-building function of translation in certain nations, over the social role of public service translation and interpreting, up to institutionalized translation policies in multilingual countries. The recent success of the translations in the online version of the Handbook of Translation Studies shows that this emancipating role also holds true at an academic meta-level in our own discipline.

Recently however, there are also counterexamples that question such a role, particularly in politically delicate contexts. A famous example is the discussion about the so called integration-hindering function of translation on the occasion of the report of the ‘Commission on Integration and Cohesion’ in the UK. In a similar vein, this presentation will also deal with the recent protests in some South-African universities against translation and interpreting. In this case translation (or non-translation) policy is part of a complex combination of political, historical, didactic, emancipatory and imagological factors: the triangle English-Afrikaans-African languages, their roles and images as symbols of oppressing or being oppressed, the efficiency of teaching through interpreting, etc. Such cases problematize our traditional view on the role of translation, and might bring it in conflict with a more negative image of translation in multicultural societies.

Luc van Doorslaer is the director of CETRA, the Centre for Translation Studies at the University of Leuven (Belgium), where he works as a Professor in Translation and Journalism Studies. As a Research Associate he is affiliated with Stellenbosch University (South Africa). Together with Yves Gambier, he is the editor of the online Translation Studies Bibliography (11th release 2014) and the four volumes of the Handbook of Translation Studies (2010-13). His main research interests are: ideology and translation, journalism and translation, imagology and translation, institutionalization of Translation Studies. He has published extensively on these topics in leading journals and book series in Translation Studies
Further information:

Lecture (59 KB)

Plenary lecture
Place: Main room


           Organiza, patrocina, colabora