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Prismatic Translation

Image of  Prismatic Light in Glass

The Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation (OCCT) annual conference in collaboration with the European Humanities Research Centre (EHRC)

St Anne’s College Oxford, 1-3 October 2015

Call for papers:

Translation is prismatic when it produces multiple variants. This can happen in the process of a single translational act, or when a text is translated into different languages, or when it is translated into the same language several times. Our conference will explore all these aspects of the prism of translation in order to assess their origins, their effects and their potential.

Presentations might consider multiple translations across languages or within one language; texts that include variant translations; the way prismatic possibilities are handled in different translation cultures; or the way they are controlled in commercial interpreting or in relation to sacred texts.

Questions to be explored might include: what do translation prisms show us about the nature of the texts that are being translated? Can they illuminate the differences between script systems (Roman, Chinese, Arabic etc)? Is there virtue in translation practices that display variants instead of choosing between them? Are such practices more at home in new digital media than in the old technology of the book? Is the culture of translation shifting, with new ventures showing interest in prismatic translation? Is the discovery of variants a kind of creativity? What should we make of the distorting effects of the prism (mistranslation, erasure, collage, pseudotranslation)? Is there political potential in the way prisms can be harnessed to invert, deviate, split apart? Is it problematic that global translation is dominated by a few major languages? Can machines contribute to a prismatic translation culture, or will they blight it? Could translation prisms be a resource for cross-linguistic, cross-scriptal, cross-cultural study at the micro level?’

The conference will bring together scholars, theorists, translators, writers and artists to explore these questions. We are open to dialogic and multi-lingual modes of presentation, to scholarly papers focusing on any language and historical period, and to theoretical explorations. The aim will be to generate productive – indeed, prismatic – discussion.

With the participation of Emily Apter (NYU) and Rocío Baños Piñero (UCL).

Essays arising from the conference will be published in the Legenda books series Transcript.

Please send your proposal (300 word max) and short CV to comparative.criticism@st-annes.ox.ac.uk by 27th April 2015.  The programme will be announced at the end of May.

Comité scientifique Prof Matthew Reynolds, Prof Phillip Rothwell, Dr Sowon Park, Dr Adriana Jacobs, Dr Mohamed-Salah Omri, Dr Ben Morgan, Dr Xiaofan Amy Li.