History and Translation: Multidisciplinary Perspectives
The inaugural conference of the History and Translation Network, History and Translation: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, was held at the University of Tallinn, 25-28 May 2022.
The conference ended with a Network Meeting, which was also open to participation online. What follows is a brief summary of the points that were raised during the meeting.
The HTN 2022 conference
The inaugural conference of the History and Translation Network brought together about 150 delegates, in 35 panels spread over 9 parallel sessions, and lasted three and a half days. The participants came from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds: translation and interpreting studies, history, literary studies, comparative literature, and different area studies. This meant that during the conference a very interesting interdisciplinary dialogue developed among the delegates.
The general consensus was that this was a particularly friendly, open and stimulating conference with a fascinating range of papers. The translation history journal, Chronotopos (chronotopos.eu), is preparing a “conference Mosaic” which will be published soon and will give us a detailed picture of the different presentations as they took place.
The conference was also lucky to have three excellent plenary speakers, who very successfully captured the zeitgeist of the conference and the state of the art in translation and interpreting history: Hilary Footitt, Hephzibah Israel, and Ronnie Hsia.
Network members can view videos of the lectures here (login required):
- Hephzibah Israel: Archival Dea(r)th
- Hilary Footitt: ‘Presenting’ the Past: the Politics of Translation History
Note: unfortunately, due to a technical issue, we do not have a video of Ronnie Hsia’s lecture.
The Network Meeting
It was announced that we would not be publishing a conference proceedings. Delegates interested in organizing publications after the conference were invited to consider the following venues:
- The translation history journal, chronotopos, edited by Stefanie Kremmel, Julia Richter, Tomasz Rozmyslowicz, and Larisa Schippel. Publishes in English, French and German
- The book series on Studien zur Übersetzungsgeschichte, edited by Andreas Gipper, Lavinia Heller and Robert Lukenda and publishes in German, English, French and Italian
- The book series on Transkulturalität – Translation – Transfer, edited by Dörte Andres, Martina Behr, Larisa Schippel, and Cornelia Zwischenberger and published by Frank & Timme in German and English
- The book series Translation History, edited by Andrea Rizzi, Anthony Pym, Birgit Lang, and others, published by Palgrave
- The book Series on Translation and Interpreting History edited by Chris Rundle and Pekka Kujamäki and published by Routledge
The Network coordinators acknowledged the important contribution made by the following people in launching the network:
- Michaela Wolf, who played a very important role in the conception and launch of the initiative
- Anne Lange and Daniele Monticelli, whose conference on Between Cultures and Texts: Itineraries in Translation History in Tallinn in 2010 first gave us a sense of the potential of translation history to become an identifiable field and a genuine research community; and who hosted our inaugural conference with such generosity
- Larisa Schippel, Julia Richter, Stefanie Kremmel and their colleagues at the University of Vienna whose recent initiatives have played an important role in giving us the momentum we needed to get this project going, with conferences in translation history, a Summer school in translation history, and the launch of a scholarly journal dedicated to translation and interpreting history called chronotopos (chronotopos.eu)
- and finally all the members of the Steering group, most of whom were present at the conference: Hephzibah Israel, Hilary Footitt, Larisa Schippel, Lieven D’hulst, Michael Schreiber, Michele Sisto, and Michele Troy. And others who unfortunately could not be present: Outi Paloposki, Paul Cohen and Vicente Rafael.
The next HTN conference and other events
There followed a discussion about the next official conference of the network and how to manage other events
- The consensus was to have a 3-year gap between official conferences. But, in order not to coincide with the EST conference, it was decided that the next conference would be in 2024. Note: this is confirmed, the next conference will be in September 2024 in Graz
- After HTN 2024, the plan is to open the official conference to bids from those interested in hosting it
- The idea of a follow-up online event was approved
- Members organizing other events were encouraged to involve the Network
The aims of the Network
There followed a discussion on the aims of the Network:
- The idea is to collaborate and network with as little superstructure and bureaucracy as possible
- A light network with a focus on collaboration that does not need large sums of money (official conference excepted), and whose essential purpose is:
- putting people into contact with one another and enhancing collaboration;
- serving as a means of promoting and publicising initiatives;
- giving young scholars a forum/field of discourse in which to develop innovative approaches to Translation and Interpreting History
- The aim is also for the Network to give translation history greater visibility and institutional status. Ways in which this might be achieved:
- Mentorship: especially for students who are having difficulty getting their historical project accepted
- Promote the inclusion (or more awareness of) of history in courses on translation.
- Encourage our departments to setup courses in translation history
- We should try to involve scholars from other disciplines
- We should avoid being too Eurocentric
- We should try to network with different institutions and associations
Some practical suggestions were also made:
- Organise HTN panels at Translation Studies and History conferences in order to gain more visibility
- Funding applications: PIs can use the Network to recruit collaborators, and scholars can look for projects to collaborate with.
Forms of collaboration
The meeting then discussed potential forms of collaboration within the Network
There was a lot of consensus around the idea of forming focus/working groups around some of the key topics that had emerged during the conference. These groups could then organize smaller, more specific events/workshops. Potential working groups mentioned included:
- Audiovisual translation
- Digital humanities and history
- Gender studies
- Global history
- Performing arts
- Rewriting and post-translation studies
- Translator databases
Lectures and seminars
- We could organize a public online lecture series, mainly aimed at PG students and young researchers who are unable to attend conferences in Europe
- We could try to foster the free exchange among members of doctoral seminars and training events for early-career scholars
- Members could collaborate on PG thesis supervision (co-tutelle / co-supervision)
Zotero: It was suggested that we create a (private) Network Zotero Library in which Members can voluntarily share their published research with other members. Intended especially to make research more readily available to young researchers all over the world.
The Network website
Suggestions were made on how the functionality of the website could be improved:
- Members directory: make it easier to browse the Members directory and find other scholars with shared interests. Note: to achieve this we need the help of a developer with experience in using PHP scripting in WordPress.
- Network news: it was agreed that a form be set up to enable members to publicize their news/events via the Network mailing list. Note: the form is now functioning (login required): https://historyandtranslation.net/members-area/submit-to-newsletter/
- Other resources: members were invited to contribute to the website with useful resources, such as:
- a list of relevant research projects
- a list of relevant digital resources
- list of Network member publications
- There was not much enthusiasm in the meeting for adopting social network platforms.
- But some consensus around using Twitter. Note: has the recent acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk changed things?
- Possible options: an official Twitter account; or an agreed tag for posts concerning the Network. E.g. #historyandtranslationnetwork, #htn2022, #htn2023
- This second option would have the advantage of allowing everyone to publish freely on their individual accounts, without the need for curating an “official” one.
A discussion took place around the issue of funding and fees:
- It would be useful to be able to fund people who would otherwise not be able to attend our conferences
- Having funds also makes it easier to delegate tasks; making the job of running/coordinating the Network lighter
- But, fees bring complications and can be counter-productive
- Before we become more institutionalised, we should involve more historians; having fees and constitutions is a lot of work
- It was suggested that our conferences could be multilingual, with panels in different languages
- Also that the website could adopt more languages in its content
Thanks and acknowledgements
The History and Translation Network would like to thank Daniele Monticelli, Anne Lange, and Maris Saagpakk for offering to host this inaugural conference and for organizing it so beautifully. We would also like to thank Kaire Siiner, Sirli Peda and the staff of the Tallinn University Conference Centre for all their hard work; as well as the student volunteers who helped out during the event. And finally we’d like to the University of Tallinn for their very generous hospitality.
The conference was made possible thanks to generous contributions from: the Translation in History – Estonia 1850-2010: Texts, Agents, Institutions and Practices research project; Tallinn University; the Department of Translation Studies Department of the University of Graz; and the Department of Interpreting and Translation of the University of Bologna.