Translation Seminar Series (Since 2001)


This seminar will report on a large, interdisciplinary research project based at the University of Manchester in the UK and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project involves compiling large electronic corpora of ancient Greek, medieval Arabic, early Latin and Modern English to examine how central concepts in the humanities and sciences have been (re)translated into these three lingua francas, and how they have been interpreted and reinterpreted as they entered new cultural and temporal spaces.


Chinese women’s appearance on the scene of literary translation has been a long-acknowledged fact. The earliest written record of Chinese women’s translation can be traced back to 1898, and the first woman’s translation of western literature is Xue Shaowei’s (1900) rendition of the French writer Jules Gabriel Verne’s Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (Around the World in 80 Days), though via its Japanese version.

Cultural Consciousness and the English Translation of Chinese Classics

Date: 21/12/2015

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Luo Xuanmin

Translation Seminar Series


文化自信與文化自覺相輔相成,但文化自覺過去沒有得到足夠的重視。 要提升國家形象需要有高度的文化自覺,文化自信只有建立在文化自覺之上才是可靠的。就翻譯而言,文化自覺的最終目的就是要在不損害中國文化精神的前提下,以最合適的方式來解讀和翻譯最合適的典籍材料,從而達到消解分歧,促進中外文化的交流,極大地滿足西方受眾閱讀中國典籍的需要。

Norms, Resources and Constraints in Professional Interpreting

Date: 26/11/2015

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Daniel Gile

Translation Seminar Series


Interpreting has become a visible and attractive profession in some parts of the world, but many people know little about what it involves in its various branches above and beyond a good mastery of the working languages. Far from being ‘language converting devices’, interpreters constantly analyze incoming (source language) speeches and make decisions on what and how to formulate their target-language speeches.

Mediation, Reception and Marginality: Translations of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature in Spain

Date: 24/09/2015

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr. Maialen Marin-Lacarta

Translation Seminar Series


Eighty four translations of modern and contemporary Chinese literature were published in Spain between 1949 and 2010. The history of this under researched corpus of translations and their reception will form the basis of the discussion in this seminar. I will try to demonstrate two interrelated arguments: the marginality of modern and contemporary Chinese literature in Spain and the mediation of the Anglophone and Francophone literary systems in the Spanish reception.

Cultural Roles of Chinese Migrants in Edo Japan: Translation, Interpreting and Beyond

Date: 15/04/2015

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr. Emiko Okayama

Translation Seminar Series


During Japan’s self-imposed isolation (1639-1859), Nagasaki was the country’s only port open for international trade: merchants from two nations, Holland and China, were granted access. While in Nagasaki, the Dutch and Chinese were each confined to their own tightly controlled districts: on Dejima Island 出島 (from 1639) and in Tōjin yashiki 唐人屋敷 (Chinese Quarter, from 1689) respectively.

Serendipity in Theorizing Translation

Date: 23/03/2015

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr. Piotr Blumczynski

Translation Seminar Series


Is translation indispensable or expendable? Is it a necessary evil and a constant reminder of our limitations or rather a powerful way of enlarging our understanding and experience? Is translation always benign, beneficial and positive or can it turn into a sinister, malign and ethically dubious activity?

Toward an Intercivilizational Turn: TS and the Problem of Eurocentrism

Date: 05/03/2015

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Douglas Robinson

Translation Seminar Series


Charges of Eurocentrism have been troubling the TS scholarly community lately, leading recently to a prominent countercharge in the pages of Translation Studies from Andrew Chesterman, who argues that science is always universalist, and that cultural relativists who accuse scholars like him of Eurocentrism are therefore simply wrong.

Plagiarism, Irony and Incense Stick: A Sketch of Thai Translation Traditions

Date: 22/01/2015

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr Phrae Chittiphalangsri

Translation Seminar Series


In the light of current translation studies scholarship, Southeast Asia is largely underresearched compared to other parts of Asia. Translation traditions in a region so diverse in politics, geographies and cultures such as this cannot easily be accommodated by established notions of literal vs free, domestication vs foreignisation, or the post-colonial pattern of appropriation, resistance and hybridity.

The Life, Works, and Translations of Gu Hongming (1857-1928) as Masquerade

Date: 04/12/2014

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor James St. André

Translation Seminar Series


Joan Riviere’s article “Womanliness as a Masquerade” will form the basis of a discussion of the late Qing intellectual and noted translator Ku Hung-ming. Specifically, this paper will argue that, just as some women can be seen as performing ‘womanliness’ as a masquerade, so too we may theorize the translations of Gu Hongming as a type of masquerade, a conscious adopting of a role that draws on pre-existing norms relating to that role.

Cultural Translation: Speaking to you about me – Pema Tseden in dialogue with Evans Chan

Date: 31/10/2014

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Pema Tseden & Evans Chan

Translation Seminar Series


Hong Kong film maker Evans Chan lives between Hong Kong and New York, making films and writing about Hong Kong to an international audience and reader. The inter-lingual, intercultural and inter-medial conditions face by both Evans Chan and Pema Tzeden are representative of contemporary creativity.

Contructing the Musicality of Language: With Examples from Scene 2 of the English Translation of Yuanye by Jane Lai

Date: 25/09/2014

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Zhang Xu

Translation Seminar Series



Translation, Representation, and Narrative Performance

Date: 29/05/2014

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Mona Baker

Translation Seminar Series


Translation is one of the core practices through which any cultural group constructs representations of another and contests representations of the self. Part of its power stems from the fact that as a genre, it tends to be understood as “merely” reporting on something that is already available in another social space, that something being an independent source text that pre-exists the translation.


Date: 24/04/2014

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Luo Xinzhang

Translation Seminar Series


《法句經》於三國時期由著名譯經家支謙譯成中文,由支謙所撰的《法句經序》,更是中國現存最早論及翻譯理論的文章,其翻譯風格對後世的佛經翻譯不無影響,因此,此序對中國譯學研究別具意義。講者先作文獻考索,試圖探索博極群書、晚年專精佛學與佛經翻譯的梁啟超,為何無視《法句經序》?講者繼而嘗試探討《法句經序》的文本價值 ── 支謙既無意為學,此序怎成中國譯學開山之作?

Towards a Yin-yang Poetics of Translation: Getting Translation Down to a Fine (Martial) Art of ‘Pushing Hands’

Date: 27/03/2014

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Zhu Chunshen

Translation Seminar Series


This seminar will begin with a few minutes of live Tai Chi demonstration to the accompaniment of a strain of non-Chinese music, to illustrate how the flow of energy enables a ‘stigmergy’ among the faculties of a human body, both physical and spiritual, to bring about a kinaesthetic experience of articulation in a yin-yang response to the rhythm of the music.

Towards a Material Poetics in Chinese: Text, Translation and Technology

Date: 27/02/2014

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr Lee Tong King

Translation Seminar Series


How do text, translation and technology intersect and interact in contemporary poetics? This project attempts an answer to this question through a case study of the avant-garde Taiwanese poet Chen Li (b.1954). In Chen’s oeuvre, translation as a concept is instantiated in a number of different ways: as translingual signification where different languages encounter within a text; as the displacement of a printed book by its electronic version (media translation); and as the creative transposition (intersemiotic translation) of a poem into a musical performance complete with vocals and piano accompaniment.

Teaching Translation in Contexts: With Special Reference to the Social Context of Macao

Date: 21/01/2014

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Zhang Meifang

Translation Seminar Series


Socio-cultural context is an important aspect in the study of language and translation, because the three, namely, context, language and translation are inextricably linked. This paper attempts to discuss the translation of different text types which are functioning in the social contexts of Macao and other areas of China.

Homer my Homey: Transatlantic Rewritings of the Iliad and Odyssey

Date: 09/01/2014

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr Scott G. Williams

Translation Seminar Series


English-language and German-language cultures both claim the same shared classical Greek tradition. Even though knowledge of classical Greek is hardly wide spread, the Iliad and Odyssey are familiar to a wide audience through translations and other rewritings across different genres and media, from fiction to non-fiction, prose and poetry to film, stage, and the internet.

Traditional Chinese Theories of Translation: Terminology

Date: 05/12/2013

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Chu Chi Yu

Translation Seminar Series



Translating the Chuci: Old Approaches and New Problems

Date: 21/11/2013

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr Nicholas Morrow Williams

Translation Seminar Series


The Chuci 楚辭 (Songs of the South or Incantations of Chu) is one of the two oldest and most influential anthologies of Chinese poetry. Its poems depict the enduring tension of loyalty and dissent for the scholar-official of traditional China. The anthology is also notable for its regional elements, representing the culture of the ancient state of Chu (centered in the area of modern Hubei and Hunan provinces).


This talk examines the translator-author relationship against the backdrop of governmental and non-governmental (publishing, editorial, and the translator’s own) censorship in present-day China. I distinguish three types of translator-author relationship affected by censorship and/or self-censorship, resulting in three categories of translations, i.e. full translations, partial translations and non-translations.

Translation as Intercultural Event

Date: 25/09/2013

Time: 6:00-7:30PM

Speaker: Professor Anthony Pym

Translation Seminar Series


Belated interest in the aesthetics of the event (variously from Badiou) has brought renewed attention to the performative nature of translation. Part of this might be attached to the technologies that now favour groups of volunteer translators, who are at once the producers and consumers of translations (hence “prosumers”).

Schleiermacher and Plato, Hermeneutics and Translation

Date: 26/07/2013

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Theo Hermans

Translation Seminar Series


Schleiermacher’s German translation of Plato’s philosophical dialogues, the first five volumes of which appeared between 1805 and 1809, has received little attention from students of translation. Yet it embodies Schleiermacher’s understanding of Plato, which he further elaborated in the introductions he wrote to each of the dialogues and in his general introduction to Plato’s work as a whole.


What constitutes the relationship between world literature and Chineseness? How has translation shaped Chinese poetry, and can translation be understood as at the foundation not only of world literature, but of Chineseness, as well? This talk will begin to answer these questions by demonstrating how Chineseness as an aspect of the Chinese poetic tradition is itself a result of translation.

What Is the “Original” in Cultural Translation?

Date: 23/05/2013

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr Nana Sato-Rossberg

Translation Seminar Series


Those with an interest in Ainu oral narratives will soon come across the name of Mashiho Chiri (1909 – 1961), who today would be called a ‘native anthropologist’. Mashiho’s translation style is strongly influenced by the work of his well-known sister, Yukie Chiri (1903 – 1922). Regrettably, most translations of Mashiho appeared only with the Japanese text.

Self-Translation and the Nobel Prize: 100 years of Tagore’s Gitanjali

Date: 28/03/2013

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Harish Trivedi

Translation Seminar Series


The first non-European and Asian writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature was the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore; he is still the only Indian to win the prize and one of under half a dozen writers from Asia. Though the prize is awarded not for a single book but for a body of work, Tagore won it apparently for just one slim book of poems published in his own English translation under the non-translated title Gitanjali (A Handful of Offerings of Songs; 1912).


Date: 21/03/2013

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Wang Kefei

Translation Seminar Series



Institutions of Translation, (Literary) Modernization and the Problem of Knowledge

Date: 28/02/2013

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr Omid Azadibougar

Translation Seminar Series


A notion that has long dominated our understanding of the role of translation in (literary) modernization comes from postcolonial theories that emphasize the agency of the translational space (i.e. the third space) in the process of “importing” ideas. The descriptive and analytic limits of post-colonial thoughts are due to their reliance on colonial institutions (e.g. languages, literatures, universities, etc.) which are/were immediately available and advantageous to them.


Teaching translation in a research-informed instead of an impressionistic manner to ensure the pedagogical quality of translator training is, ceteris paribus, dependent on the extent to which the formulation of a text, be it a source or a target text, can be perceived and explained as accountable for its function and effect. This presentation will focus on an on-line platform (the Platform) specifically designed for an accountability-driven mode of teaching and (self-)learning for translation and bilingual writing, which is currently under construction at the City University of Hong Kong.

Translation and Globalization. Why, How and Where Translation May be a Key to the Dynamics of Culture

Date: 06/12/2012

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor José Lambert

Translation Seminar Series


This lecture focuses on fundamental and fast GLOBAL(izing) changes;
In fact most academic guest lectures are an illustration of mobility (in – scholarly – communication). (Cf. Ong 1982.)
In the present case: (a) intercontinental contacts/exchanges (are in fast progress); (b) the focus is on (global and other) Communication

Art in Translation

Date: 29/11/2012

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Mr Zoran Poposki

Translation Seminar Series


There is a growing tendency in contemporary art to explore the bonds and interconnections between text and image. The plethora of possible relations between the textual and the visual, across a variety of contemporary art practices, creates a vast geography of image as language and language as image, from typography to language-based art practices.

Mutual Acceptance between American Redology and the Two English Versions of Hong Lou Meng

Date: 25/10/2012

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr Zhang Hui

Translation Seminar Series


There exists mutual acceptance and interaction between American Redology and the two English versions of Hong Lou Meng. Obviously, the translations influence American Redology and are also being influenced by American Redology. The translation serves to enhancing reputation and foreign understanding of the original text, hence making it not only a part of Redology, but also a key element in promoting the Redology and enriching the original.

Culture, Interculture, Intraculture: Brave New World

Date: 27/09/2012

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Eugene Eoyang

Translation Seminar Series


“Culture—Interculture—Intraculture” identifies three stages of cultural identity: cultural: where the foreign is clearly marked, as in Euripides’s Medea, the book of Ruth in the Bible, Shakespeare’s Henry V; intercultural: where the foreign is absorbed in the native, as in the Pole Joseph Conrad, the Czech Tom Stoppard, and the Japanese Kazuo Ishiguro in Great Britain, the Pole Czelaw Milosz, the Russians Vladimir Nabokov and Josef Brodsky in the United States; and the Romanians Paul Celan, E. M. Cioran, Eugène Ionesco, the Irishman Samuel Beckett, and the Chinese François Cheng in France.

Translators’ Deliberate Interventions

Date: 06/08/2012

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Georges L. Bastin

Translation Seminar Series


Shifts in translation have been extensively visited and revisited. Many different taxonomies exist that intend to list most decisions taken or choices made by translators, be these decisions called shifts, techniques, procedures or strategies. The problem is that there’s no explicit distinction between compulsory and deliberate interventions.


Jiang Rong’s semi-autographical novel Lang Tu Teng (《狼圖騰》, first published in 2004) has been a huge literary triumph (winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2007) and an unprecedented cultural phenomenon in Mainland China, breaking all-time sales records as the second most read book after Chairman Mao’s little red book. Howard Goldblatt’s lucid translation of Wolf Totem (2008) has also made the novel into an exciting popular work of narrative fiction for the international community of literary readers and cultural critics.

New Territories of Translation Research: the City

Date: 03/05/2012

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Sherry Simon

Translation Seminar Series


This seminar will explore the ways in which the city has become an object of translation studies – by investigating some of the recent advances in translation theory that expand the field. Work to be discussed, among others, are books by Michael Cronin, Doris Sommer, Emily Apter, Maria Tymoczko, Edwin Gentzler, Vicente Rafael.

Considering the Reader

Date: 12/04/2012

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr Valerie Pellatt

Translation Seminar Series


In the study and discussion of translation, the reader has not gone unnoticed, and deservedly is becoming more important to translatologists. Readers of translations span a spectrum, from those who do not speak any foreign language, and urgently need a translation for instrumental purposes, such as a manual, to those who, in spite of their proficiency in the target language, choose to read a translation in order to exercise their powers of critical analysis.

Translation in the Eyes of Klio: A Preliminary Research into Translation History

Date: 23/02/2012

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Mr Huang Yanjie

Translation Seminar Series


Translation history, specializing in translation phenomena through history, has earned a niche in the hall of Klio, the mythical Muse of history. The knowledge system of translation history prepares for its research system as an inter-disciplinary subject. Then what is translation history? And what is its relationship with both history and translation studies?


The first seventeen years of the People’s Republic of China (1949-1966) was a critical period for the newly-born modern Chinese nation to gain recognition in the international world. The same period also witnessed a unique translation activity, i.e. source culture-generated translation of a large number of classical and modern/contemporary Chinese literature into English and other foreign languages mainly undertaken by teams of Chinese and foreign translators in the Foreign Languages Press (FLP) in Beijing, a state-sponsored institute, in an attempt to reshape the image of China, hence rendering legitimacy to the newly-born nation.


The creation, translation and publication of love letters boomed in the1920s-1930s, a period of the Republican Era of China. Quite a few renowned writers or the young keen to be literarily known were then in an effort to publish their love letters or novels written in letter format, or to render the love letters of famous persons.

Translation of Literature in Ancient Greece

Date: 24/11/2011

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Ruan Wei

Translation Seminar Series


The translation of the Bible into Greek before Christianity took shape is well-known, but the translated nature of ancient Greek literature as a whole before Christianity emerged has not yet been fully explored. The present paper argues that ancient Greek literature was heavily indebted to West Asia.

Translating Theory: The Transparence and Opacity of the Japanese Intellectual

Date: 13/10/2011

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr Dennitza Gabrakova

Translation Seminar Series


This presentation will focus on the significance of translation of theory for the self-fashioning of a type of identity of the Japanese intellectual. After briefly outlining the significance of translation for Japanese modernity, the work of several translators of theory will be discussed.

The Polysystem Writes back: On Prescriptive Cultural Relativism and Radical Postcolonialism

Date: 25/08/2011

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Chang Nam Fung

Translation Seminar Series


In the past two decades there has been a tendency to politicize translation studies and other disciplines in the humanities, alleging that the dominance of theories originating from the West is the result of power differentials instead of academic merits. Scholars of periphery origin who embrace central theories and values are accused of “self-colonization”.

Translation and the Disciplinary Development of Rhetoric

Date: 25/07/2011

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Yameng Liu

Translation Seminar Series


While a rhetorical perspective on translation has started to attract scholarly attention, translation’s impact on the disciplinary development of rhetoric remains unexplored by practitioners in the fields concerned. Even a cursory look into rhetoric’s long history, however, would turn up much evidence of translation’s crucial role in shaping up the conceptual and institutional contours of the art of persuasion.

Why Bother? – Subtitling with Cantonese

Date: 23/06/2011

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Dr Gloria Lee Kwok-kan

Translation Seminar Series


Subtitles do not simply transcribe the dialogues of a film. Subtitles involve specific groups of audience and seek to enhance their viewing experience. Based on this function of subtitling, I examine the Chinese/Cantonese subtitles provided in the DVDs of two films: The Brothers Grimm (2005) and Shrek 2 (2004).


What would happen if translation theories and cultural studies talk to each other? In this talk, Dr Cynthia Tsui will reveal that “translation” can be used as a thinking method that sheds light on other disciplines. Although translation is traditionally viewed as a linguistic practice, it visualizes a reasoning model of the “in-between”.

What is Translator Competence?

Date: 07/04/2011

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Kirsten Malmkjær

Translation Seminar Series


In this seminar, I will compare the concept of Translation Competence with a concept that I have called Translator Competence and which is more closely associable with (though very far from alignable with) the notion of competence which we find at play in theoretical linguistics.

Translation Studies and Adaptation Studies: Appropriation, Recreation and Cannibalism

Date: 03/03/2011

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor John Milton

Translation Seminar Series


Adaptation Studies have become very popular in recent years in many university departments, especially those of English Literature and Film Studies, with a growing number of books, conferences and journals in the area. This talk begins by examining the interface (or lack of interface) between Translation Studies and Adaptation Studies, also introducing the concept of appropriation, and examples will be given from adaptations and appropriations of the works of William Shakespeare, particularly Othello.

English Translations of rén 仁 in Mencius

Date: 24/02/2011

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Douglas Robinson

Translation Seminar Series


Chinese-English dictionaries typically offer as the closest English equivalents of rén 仁 “benevolent/-ce, kind/ness, humane/ness,” and Mencius’s English translators by and large stick to those translations as well. Following the lead of James Legge, for example, D. C. Lau and the translators of the Shandong Friendship Press edition meticulously translate it in almost every case as “benevolent” or “benevolence,” and most Mencius scholars writing in English, whether Chinese or non-Chinese, also translate it as “benevolent/-ce”; David Hinton uses “humane” and “humanity.”

“Culture” versus “Civilization”: Translation and Power Politics in Europe

Date: 27/01/2011

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Speaker: Professor Cheng Sin Kwan

Translation Seminar Series


By the nineteenth century, “culture” and “civilization” had been translated into different languages in Europe and beyond, and both came to be regarded in the West as “international” concepts. A careful study of the translation history of these two terms, however, would reveal that European internationalism was not only deeply implicated in colonialism, but also heavily fraught with nationalism inside Europe.

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