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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Structuring Knowledges: Translating Structures/Structuring Translations: The Ethics of Interpreting and Translating with Refugees, a conversation with translators, interpreters and local refugees - Discussion

18th October 2017, 17:00, Lindisfarne Centre, St. Aidan’s College, Dr Karen Emmerich (Princeton University)

Taking as a point of departure Pierre Bourdieu’s understanding of habitus as an attempt to bridge the gap between structure and agency, this strand argues that translation can productively be seen as a structure structured by such social phenomena as language and culture or as a structure structuring, i.e. influencing, their development. Expanding beyond the field of Translation and Interpretation as traditionally defined, the activities of this strand will thus explore how translation structures and is structured by its various engagements and applications. Such an exploration is timely, as the AHRC Translating Cultures funded theme recognizes, in an era of ever-increasing global connectivity, international crisis, and planetary precarity all of which necessitate new forms of intercultural exchange.

This strand aims to foster constructive dialogue between translators and interpreters, experts in translations studies, and scholars making use of translation in other fields. What can these different groups learn from each other about translation and its study that might alter or even transform disciplinary limitations? More broadly, what can we learn through comparative and interdisciplinary dialogue about how translation functions as a travelling concept, used in more or less metaphorical ways in a range of disciplines? Finally, given that we work in an academic climate in which interdisciplinarity and collaboration are both constantly being promoted, what might translation have to teach us about the opportunities and pitfalls of collective work requiring mediation across disciplinary boundaries both within and beyond the academy?

Translating Structure/Structuring Translation is organized by Marc Schachter (MLAC, French), Sergey Tyulenev (MLAC, Translation Studies) and Binghan Zheng (MLAC, Translation Studies) and co-sponsored by the IAS, the Translation Repositioned stream of the AHRC’s Open World Research Initiative, and Durham’s Centre for Intercultural Mediation. The strand will host three speakers, one in each term.

In the first of a series of events across the year acclaimed Modern Greek-English translator and Princeton professor, Karen Emmerich will participate in three events on Wednesday, October 18th and Thursday, October 19th, with generous support from the Institute for Advanced Study, the Open World Research Initiative, and the Centre for Intercultural Mediation.

At 5pm on Wednesday, October 18th in the Lindisfarne Centre (St. Aidan’s College), Dr Emmerich will lead a discussion on the ethics of interpreting and translating with refugees drawing on her recent experiences working with refugees in Greece. Joining her will be other translators and interpreters as well as members of the local refugee community. Please let Marc Schachter ( know if you might be interested in joining the conversation.

Additional Activities

On Thursday, October 19th from noon to 1:30 in ER56, Dr Emmerich will take part in an open discussion of the challenges tricky ‘originals’ can pose for literary translators--and the ways in which translations sometimes transform the originals from which they are so often said to derive. Also taking part in this discussion will be MLAC’s Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze and Tina O'Donnell discussing the translation of Dr. Dousteyssier-Khoze’s novel La logique de l'amanite along with other local talent. Here too additional contributors are welcome—once again, contact Marc Schachter if you might be interested.

Finally, Dr Emmerich will present a formal talk at 5pm on Thursday, October 19th in ER153 entitled “Difference at the ‘Origin’, Instability at the ‘Source’: Translation as Translingual Editing.” This talk is drawn from her recently published book, Translation and the Making of Originals (Bloomsbury, 2017).

Contact for more information about this event.