Sunday, March 2, 2014

Call for abstracts: Self-Translation as Transfer of Knowledge

Call for Abstracts: Self-Translation as Transfer of Knowledge
Conference in Berlin, Germany, 27.11.2014.
Deadline: March 31, 2014

As today’s knowledge society grows increasingly international—both in terms of medial acceleration and global networks—it demands more and more language skills from its actors. Quite often scholars and scientists completely or partially translate their own texts from one language into another. Given the practical implications of these developments, the time has come to reflect on their methodological and historical significance, and this is precisely the aim of the workshop »Self-Translation as Transfer of Knowledge.«
At the workshop, participants will present case studies on individual authors/translators. Specific attention should be given to the historically variable status of scientific and scholarly authorship and to the transitions between self-translations and non-authorial, external translations (e.g., ›assisted‹ self-translations). We have already accepted papers on Carl von Linné, Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt, Hannah Arendt, Kurt Goldstein, and Wolfgang Iser. We look forward to expanding this list with additional contributions.

The workshop will examine the following systematic aspects of self-translation:
  • What pragmatic conditions lead to the production of self-translations? (Changes in the prestige of scientific idioms; changes of addressees, e.g., for the purpose of popularization; shifts in other scientific cultures due to exile/emigration; etc.)
  • How are self-translations being received and commented upon within scientific communities in different cultures?
  • What semantic, terminological, and structural qualities do the respective self-translations have? Have the original texts been radically changed, maybe even completely reworked?
  • What kind of reflection on language arises from self-translations?
  • What concepts are suitable for this field of research? Currently in translation studies, we find terms such as equivalence, imitation, representation, appropriation, assimilation, adaptation, amplification, substitution, transformation, interpretation, intention, inculturation, acculturation, compensation, as well as metaphors such as alienation (with regard to the source language) vs. naturalization (with regard to the target language), freedom, service, fidelity, and refashioning. At the workshop, we would like to test and discuss the interpretive capacity of these and other terms.
Conference languages are English and German. Presentations should not exceed 30 minutes.
Please send your abstracts (max. 500 words) by March 31, 2014 to Stefan Willer (

To read the full call for abstracts, please click here.