Glendon conference on translation looks at its influence on cultural interaction

Writer and translator Hugh Hazelton, a Concordia University professor, highlighted many of the central themes of translation, including the role of translation and influence on cultural interaction, at Glendon’s second annual graduate student conference in translation studies Feb. 5.

Right: Hugh Hazelton

Building Culture(s): A New Era in Translation Studies brought translation scholars, students and enthusiasts together to discuss and share ideas. The event was comprised of a series of talks focused on themes of translation “not only as a means of bridging cultures and culture, but also building cultures and culture,” said Professor Marie-Christine Aubin, director of Glendon’s Graduate Program in Translation, during her opening remarks.

Hazelton, a professor of classics, modern languages and linguistics, and the conference’s keynote speaker, elaborated on the connections made during translation, as well as by writers composing in their second language, between Latin American literature and both French and English Canadian literatures. He underlined the emerging inclusivity of multilingual writing and publishing practices.

Left: The panellists, from left, Aurélia Klimkiewicz, Salah Basalamah, Hugh Hazelton, Ian Martin and Helen Wu

Graduate student speakers, including York PhD student Cheryl LaFrance, explored intriguing and relevant issues in the field of translation. LaFrance’s paper, “Translating Cultures through Dance”, offered an interpretation of the body as translator, of dance as language and of choreography as composition. “Religious Reform as a Form of Cultural Translation”, by University of Ottawa student (Seyed) Mohammad Alavi, provided a reflection on the translation of the Quran in Iran. “The Merging of Brazilian and European Portuguese in the Contemporary Toronto Translation Market”, was a practical case study presented by translator and Glendon graduate student Bianca Rodrigues Bold Queiroz.

Right: Marie-Christine Aubin

The afternoon’s panel discussion focused on the ethics of translation and the role of translation in asymmetrical power relations. Moderated by Ian Martin, a Glendon professor of English, ESL and linguistics, the panellists were Glendon translation Professor Aurélia Klimkiewicz; Professor Salah Basalamah of the University of Ottawa’s School of Translation & Interpretation; Chinese language Professor Helen Wu of the University of Toronto; and Hazelton.

The panellists explored issues of translation as a means of assimilation, appropriation and ethnocentrism, as well as hospitality, resistance and cultural communication. They did so via several case studies, including the debate on reasonable accommodation in Quebec, as well as the colonial history in India and the Americas.

Left: The organizing committee, from left, Aurélia Klimkiewicz, Dena Mortazavi, Marie-Christine Aubin, Élisabeth Desbiens, Humda Tahir, Martin Boyd, Maria Constanza Guzmán and Victoria Ebergenyi

“We are very happy with the success of this conference. As translation studies is a relatively new academic field, events like this are important because, in addition to bringing people of different backgrounds together in a way that other conferences cannot, they also focus valuable attention on the field,” said organizing committee member Dena Mortazavi.

The full list of presenters and abstracts are available, and participants’ full papers will be posted soon, on the Building Culture(s): A New Era in Translation Studies website.

For more information, visit the Graduate Program in Translation website.

Submitted by Kathleen Dodd-Moher, Glendon translation student, and Marika Kemeny, Glendon communications officer