OCCT MT 2020 Week 7 Updates

In our next Discussion Group session, on Monday Week 8 (30 November), 5-6pm, Sowon Park (UCSB), in conversation with Matthew Reynolds (Oxford), will give us a talk on 'What script teaches us about the state of world literary studies', raising the neglected issue of script as a key factor that is preventing the existence of a more diverse literary canon. Please note the change of time: this session will take place at 5-6pm, rather than at our usual time 1-2pm. For further details, and to register see here: https://www.occt.ox.ac.uk/discussion-group-what-script-teaches-us-about-state-world-literary-studies.


The Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2021 opens for submissions on 1 December 2020. The closing date for entries is 31 January 2021. The entry requirements are available here: https://www.occt.ox.ac.uk/oxford-weidenfeld-prize.


OCCT invites submissions for a one-day virtual workshop, Fictions of Retranslations: Retranslating Language and Style in Prose Fiction. The workshop will be hosted online, on 12 March 2021. We encourage doctoral students and early careers researchers working on retranslations of prose to send an abstract (350 words) and a brief bio (150 words) by 14  December 2020 to rowan.anderson@ell.ox.ac.uk and anna.saroldi@ell.ox.ac.uk. For the full CFP see here: https://www.occt.ox.ac.uk/fictions-retranslations-retranslating-language-and-style-prose-fiction.




1. Queen’s Translation Exchange


A translation workshop with Rachael McGill, working collaboratively on a novel by Adrienne Yabouza from the Central African Republic.

Wed, 2 December 2020

19:30 – 21:00 GMT

Online Event

Join fellow readers and writers to translate together a passage from Co-épouses et co-veuves by Adrienne Yabouza. The workshop will be led by Rachael McGill, currently working on a translation of the novel for Dedalus Books. No knowledge of French is necessary! Materials will be circulated in advance.



2.  Titled Axis Press has launched a call for essays on the topic, "What does it mean to decolonise translation?"

In recent years, there has been a growing conversation re-evaluating the way literature is written, published and read in the Anglophone world, pushing for a dismantling of the idea of a Western canon, and questioning the dominance of English-language writing in representing places and communities. Where do we go from here, and what are the implications for literary translation? What happens when we cast a critical eye over what is and isn’t considered literature, what is translated into which language and why, how translation is carried out, by whom and for whom? Most professional translators and editors in the anglosphere remain white — but is it enough to call for more diversity in this area, especially if the intended readers remain white, and given that the very concept of professionalisation is entangled with imperialism? Is the idea of decolonising translation, particularly into English, a contradiction?


These are some of the questions editors Kavita Bhanot and Jeremy Tiang will be asking in this anthology to be published by Tilted Axis Press in 2022, with the support of the National Centre for Writing’s Visible Communities programme. We are calling for pieces with an emphasis on practice that discuss, explore and question what, if anything, it might mean to decolonise translation, by those who engage with literary translation in any form. These may take the form of essays, or may be more generically varied — feel free to surprise us. We envision the pieces mostly falling in the range of 3,000 to 5,000 words, but don’t let this constrain you.


Please send a proposal of up to 300 words and a 500-word writing sample (from the proposed essay OR from another relevant work) to guesteditors@tiltedaxispress.com by 31 January 2021. Notifications will be sent out about two weeks after submissions close, and full pieces will be due by 30 April 2021. Tilted Axis Press will pay each contributor a fee of up to £500, depending on the length of the piece.


More about tiltedaxispress.com.



3. Conference Invitation: You are warmly invited to join keynote speaker Aminatta Forna and the Editors of "Transnational Literature", plus scholars and writers from all over the world at “Transnational Literature and Writing: Follow the Sun” 28-30 Jan 2021. The opening event will happen as the day begins in Adelaide, Australia; subsequent events will be programmed to ‘follow the sun’ as the morning travels around the world. Delegates will join in, as the conference passes through their time zone, and watch anything they’ve missed on replay. Early Bird Tickets, and more information are available at: Transnational Literature & Writing: Follow the Sun [alt: https://tinyurl.com/y36ehp2l]


4. Tangible translation: Migrants and refugees at the interface of translation and materiality, edited by Anne O'Connor and Andrea Ciribuco.

The deadline for abstracts is December 1 and publication is envisaged in 2022. Find out more here (http://atisa.org/cfp) or in the description below.

The coexistence of people in super-diverse spaces (Vertovec 2007) brings together not only different languages and cultures, but also objects: from food to clothing, from technology to books, from work tools to musical instruments. Wang (2016) notes that “the divide between people and things is perhaps the biggest ‘blind spot’ that prevents us from seeing the full picture and complexity of migration trajectories and pursuit”. Migrant objects, in fact, can take on meaning that goes well beyond their appearance and purpose: they have the power to link immediately to other parts of the world, becoming tangible proofs of the trajectories that bring people and goods around the globe. In this special issue, we intend to study the material dimension of migration, using the lens of translation to capture the role of objects in the relationship between migrants, refugees and the host community: as tools that make translation possible, as products of translation, or even as catalysts of translation.

In recent years, linguists have increasingly focused on the interaction between languages and the material contexts of interaction: studies on the ‘linguistic landscape’ have flourished (Landry and Bourhis 1997; Gorter 2013), and a growing area of research asserts the need to consider language, objects, and spaces together as a “semiotic assemblage” (Pennycook 2017; Zhu, Otsuji, and Pennycook 2017). In translation studies, the topic has received less attention, even though Littau has sparked a discussion with her 2016 paper in Translation Studies that called for greater attention to the material forms of communication and translation. The availability of specific media can influence translators, and have a concrete impact on the creation, circulation and reception of translations (Littau 2016; O’Connor 2019, 2020). The material dimensions of translation are a compelling issue for the field of translation studies as it seeks to understand not just the interaction between ‘carrier’ and translation practice, but also the interaction between humans and objects such as translation devices. The importance of translation devices for migrants is especially significant (Mandair 2019; Baynham and Lee 2019), and a growing number of studies underlines the importance of the smartphone as a machine translation device for asylum seekers (Vollmer 2018; Ciribuco 2020). For this publication, we ask scholars to engage with the study of translation tools in migratory contexts; but we also encourage them to expand their scope and think of all possible objects that constitute the tangible traces of translation:

- Tools for translation: from dictionaries to smartphones, what objects enable translation and help migrants or refugees negotiate the conditions of hospitality (see Inghilleri 2017)? How does the absence or unavailability of these tools hinder translation?
- Catalysts for translation: some objects (clothes, foods, and other artefacts) that were unmarked everyday objects in the migrants’ countries of origin can become catalysts for translation in the host community, due to features that make them unfamiliar in the new context. How are objects translated in the language and practices of the host country? Does that help them find purpose and legitimacy in the new context?
- Products of translation: this category includes not only translated books, magazines, and videos, but any object whose meaning has changed. In passing from one setting to another, the composition, purpose and functioning of an object may change, to adapt to new needs and possibly appeal to the host community. What is lost and what is gained in the process? Do objects retain their capability to mean the place where they come from?

The boundaries between these categories are obviously not clear-cut, which is why we ask all authors to reflect creatively on how their objects of choice fall within the categories. The goal is to blur the distinction between the human and the non-human, analyzing translation as a force impacting the concrete worlds that migrants and refugees inhabit. In doing so, we aim for methodological innovation, and will give precedence to works that are innovative and transformative in combining the theoretical framework of translation and interpreting studies with other disciplines such as: material culture, social semiotics, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, intercultural communication, linguistic anthropology, visual arts, biosemiotics.

Submission Guidelines

Authors interested in contributing to this special issue should submit an abstract (around 500 words) to both guest editors: Andrea Ciribuco (andrea.ciribuco@nuigalway.ie) and Anne O’Connor (anne.oconnor@nuigalway.ie) by December 1, 2020. Please include a brief biographical note about the authors and their university affiliation in a separate file. All abstracts and manuscripts should adhere to the Translation and Interpreting Studies style guide (http://www.atisa.org/tis-style-sheet). 

Authors of abstracts that are accepted for consideration will be invited to submit a full manuscript that is 6000–7500 words in length (exclusive of bibliography) by 1 March 2021. Every manuscript will be submitted to two rounds of double-blind peer review.
Publication is envisioned for early 2022.


5. The School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Warwick encourages outstanding postdoctoral scholars to apply to The Leverhulme Trust’s Early Career Fellowships scheme, for Fellowships starting in the 2021/22 academic year.

The three-year Fellowship contributes 100% of the Fellow’s salary in the first year, and thereafter 50% of the salary, with the balance being paid by the University. Appointments at the University of Warwick are dependent on the award of the Fellowship.


About Warwick SMLC


Members of Warwick’s SMLC (covering French StudiesGerman StudiesHispanic StudiesItalian Studies, and Translation and Transcultural Studies) have recognized research strengths across a wide chronological period, including the late Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Enlightenment. The School strongly promotes innovative research in several interdisciplinary fields such as film history and aesthetics, postcolonial and transnational studies, translation studies, war, trauma and memory studies, and representations of disability, gender, sexuality, and cultural identity. It raises issues of linguistic, cultural, regional, national, and ethnic diversity in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and North, Central and South America, explores the significance and impact of many different types of aesthetic expression and conceptualization, philosophical, political and cultural thinking, and pays particular attention to the reception and reshaping of philosophical, intellectual, or literary traditions, cultural hybridity and transnationalization, encounters and translations between cultures, literal and intellectual mobility, and reconceptualizations of art. For staff profiles and an outline of specific research interests, see our staff research interests page


The host institution provides an environment supporting the career development of a research fellow seeking a permanent academic position in the UK. Warwick’s SMLC is in an ideal position to do so, as it has strong expertise and experience in hosting and nurturing research fellows. The SMLC currently hosts around 10 postdoctoral research fellows, funded by bodies such as the Leverhulme Trust, AHRC, ERC, MHRA and Marie Curie schemes. It also includes a community of around 27 doctoral students. 


How to Apply

SMLC will carry out an internal selection stage to identify the candidates that it wishes to put forward. We strongly advise potential candidates to make initial contact with the relevant contact in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. Suitably qualified candidates should therefore send their initial expressions of interest to the relevant sectional Director of Research as soon as possible:

For the internal selection round run by the Faculty of Arts, prospective applicants will need to submit a finalised Expression of Interest containing the following information to Jeremy Ahearne (see email above) by 12 noon on Thursday 10 December 2020:  

  • A short description of their project (maximum 2 A4 pages)
  • A copy of their CV (maximum 2 A4 pages)
  • The name of an academic in their proposed host Department whose research is relevant to their project and who would be willing to endorse their application. Although the Leverhulme Trust do not insist upon a formal mentoring arrangement, this is a requirement for the University of Warwick. Candidates should contact this member of staff at the earliest opportunity, and in advance of submitting the Expression of Interest.
  • The names of three referees. Please note that referees will not be asked to provide a statement at this stage.


Candidates should consult the guidance on the Leverhulme Trust’s website prior to submitting an Expression of Interest.In particular, they should note that applicants must:

  • hold a doctoral degree or equivalent research experience by the time they take up the Fellowship. If currently registered for a doctorate, they must have submitted their thesis by 4pm on 25 February 2021;
  • have not yet have held a permanent academic appointment whose duties include research;
  • not have existing funding in place for a duration equivalent to or greater than the duration of the Early Career Fellowship;
  • be within four years of the award of their doctorate. Those who submitted their thesis for viva voce examination before 25 February 2017 are not eligible to apply, unless they have since had a career break;
  • either hold a degree from a UK higher education institution at the time of taking up the Fellowship or at the time of the application deadline hold a non-permanent academic position in the UK (e.g. fixed-term lectureship, fellowship) which commenced no less than 4 months prior to 25 February 2021.

The University will support successful candidates in the development of full applications, the deadline for which is 25 February 2021.  


Please note that in our experience, early contact with the School is key to developing a competitive application.

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