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A Highly Successful Graduate Conference at Glendon on Contemporary Translation Issues


Members of the translation community from Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and as far as Massachusetts and Barcelona gathered in Glendon’s historic Manor for a wide range of academic talks at Glendon’s 2009 Graduate Student Conference on November 21st, with the title Changing Landscapes: Contemporary Issues in Translation Studies.

Left: Director of Glendon Graduate Program in Translation, prof. Marie-Christine Aubin

Following the opening remarks by the Conference Organizing Committee, Glendon principal Kenneth McRoberts spoke of the need for, and opportunities created by the field of translation. His special focus was on translation in Toronto, highlighting the importance of Glendon as the only school of translation in Southern Ontario. Director of the Glendon Masters in Translation Program Marie-Christine Aubin welcomed the audience on behalf of the School, and Joël Savary, Cultural Attaché of the French Consulate in Toronto, emphasized the importance and positive aspects of their partnership with Glendon.

Right: Keynote speaker Prof. Annie Brisset

The conference’s keynote address, entitled Translation Today: Between Sociography and Sociocritique was given by professor Annie Brisset, former director of the University of Ottawa’s School of Translation and Interpretation. Brisset outlined different issues surrounding the state of translation today, speaking of translation in terms of a discourse and showing that these issues often bleed into other domains - effectively setting the tone for the day’s wide range of topics.

Left: Prof. Aurelia Klimkiewicz

In his absence, Glendon translation professor Aurélia Klimkiewicz read Fadi Kodhr’s (Université Paris III) talk on the topic of Literary Translation, Literary Creation and Authorship. The presentation addressed the application of translation writ large in translating Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem, The Raven. The next lecture, Pulling out the Rug: Pierre Menard, Authorship and Ownership, was given by Brandon Moores, a PhD candidate in Humanities at York University. Moores compared the merits of author-based and text-based translation in the translation of Don Quixote. He stated that our comprehension can’t merely be based on “[…] understanding the intellect that put the words on paper, because it is possible that several intellects could arrive at the same product independently.”

Two specialists, Adrià Martin (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and Mara Reich of York University addressed the topic of Translation Process: Pedagogy and Tools. Martin explored with the audience the amount of “Linguistic Interference in Texts translated with and without CAT Tools” found in “The Exploratory Test of the TRACE Project.”

“The exploratory test compared translations using CAT (Computer-Aided-Translation) tools with translations carried out using Word”, said Martin. “The test looked for errors in areas such as coherence, false friends and textual conventions (the use of punctuation, for example).”

Next, Reich outlined her research on Competence-based Translation Pedagogy: Defining Translation Competence. She explained her plans to explore the translator’s competencies as well as the way they are acquired, looking at not only experienced translators but also students of translation.

A lovely catered lunch was followed by more intellectual stimulus, as the next wave of speakers touched on themes of Translation, Representation and Identity. Deborah Shadd (University of Ottawa) spoke on Translation, Education and Identity; followed by Cristiano Mazzei’s (University of Massachusetts Amherst) presentation of his research on the use of paratext in the US translation of Adolfo Caminha’s Bom Crioulo entitled Representation of Queer Others- How Adolfo Caminha’s Bom Crioulo Was Ousted in Translation by the US Gay Press.

Tanita Muneshwar of York University then spoke of the issues in translating from Creole into English in her presentation Decolonizing Language: Exploring David Dabydeen’s Self-Translation of Slave Song.

The final grouping of talks concentrated on The Figure of the Translator. Both Aura Navarro and Hugo Vandal-Sirois from the Université de Montréal touched on the theme with their presentations entitled respectively The Translators’ Role in Venezuelan Separatist Press and Adapting Advertisements: Portrait of a Renewed Industry. Finally, Gaafar Sadek (University of Ottawa) spoke of The Formation of the Translator’s Self-Image, taking us as far back as ancient Egypt in order to understand the translator’s association throughout history with concepts of loyalty, suggestion, and invisibility.

Right: Aurelia Klimkiewicz presents Le petit dictionnaire du déplacement

Professor Klimkiewicz’s closing presentation on the Petit dictionnaire du déplacement (The Little Dictionary of Displacement) was followed by a wine reception generously provided by the Consulate General of France, and a visit to Lorène Bourgeois’ exhibit Enveloppe du corps/works on paper and slate at the Glendon Gallery, with the artist herself present.

Article submitted by Glendon student of translation Kathleen Dodd-Moher

Published on December 1, 2009