Translation Study Days in November

On 1st and 2nd November 2013, Aedín ní Loingsigh, Virginie Sauzon and Cristina Johnston are organising two Study Days at Stirling on the theme ‘False Friends: Translation and Alliance Formation.’ The event will include papers on the broad topics of ‘Science and/in Translation’, ‘Gender, Sexuality, Feminism and Translation’, and ‘Translation and Minority Languages’ with speakers from the UK, Ireland and France. There will also be an evening reading by French author Wendy Delorme on Friday 1st November.

Attendance is free for postgraduate students and £10 for all other attendees, but places are limited. If you are interested in attending, please contact one of the organisers (;;

False Friends: Translation and Alliance Formation
Pathfoot Building (Room A7), University of Stirling
November 1 (Starts: 11.00am) – November 2 (Finishes: 12.30pm)

Friday November 1

11am-12pm: Opening Lecture & Demonstration: Audrey Cameron (Scottish Sensory Centre) and Gary Quinn (Heriot Watt University) with Tania Johnston (Royal Observatory, Edinburgh)
‘Making Sense of Astronomy in British Sign Language’
Chair: Cristina Johnston (University of Stirling)
In the Opening Lecture and Demonstration session, Audrey Cameron from Scottish Sensory Centre based at the University of Edinburgh, Gary Quinn (Sign Language Tutor at Heriot Watt) and Tania Johnston from the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh will discuss the development of new BSL signs for specific terms related to disciplines such as astronomy and astrophysics. This Scottish Government-funded project has developed from the realisation that British sign language can convey the contemporary meaning of specific scientific terms visually.

12-1.30: Lunch

1.30-2.30: Science and/in Translation
Speakers: Cristina Johnston (University of Stirling); Pippa Goldschmidt (University of Edinburgh)
Chair: Aedín Ní Loingsigh (University of Stirling)
From an initial career as a research scientist, Pippa Goldschmidt shifted into policy, then moved into creative writing. She published her first novel in 2013 (Falling Sky) and has most recently been working as a Writer in Residence in Edinburgh University’s Physics Department and at the Royal Observatory. Her presentation will focus on the adaptation and translation of her own initial scientific research as well as her knowledge of astronomy for a range of audiences and readerships that include fellow researchers, civil servants and general readers. Cristina Johnston will discuss the Fox Talbot Correspondence Project. Photographer and polymath William Henry Fox Talbot wrote the majority of his letters in English but there were also a good number in French, Italian and German, charting his correspondence with many of the key figures in the history of science of the mid-19th century. Dr Johnston was involved with the task of translating many of these documents while the project was housed at the University of Glasgow, and her paper will focus on the use of languages in that mid-19th-century scientific community that coincided with the birth of photography.

2.30: Coffee

3.00-5.00: Gender, Sexuality, Feminism and Translation
Speakers: Virginie Sauzon (University of Stirling); Stéphanie Kunert (Post-doctoral Researcher, 2012-2013, de l’Institut Émilie du Châtelet); Stéphanie Benson (University Bordeaux III)
Chair: Siân Reynolds (Emeritus Professor, University of Stirling)
This panel will consider translation from a feminist perspective in order to examine the complex, yet fruitful relationship between French and Anglo-American texts and contexts in recent years. The speakers will question the poetic and political implications of these intercultural exchanges: what do translators consider when translating gender-related texts from English into French, or vice versa? How do feminist discourses, lexicon and reference travel? Does translation help to develop new international networks, or does it merely highlight theoretical and linguistic specificities?
Virginie Sauzon will introduce the panel by exploring how the transmission of Anglo-American discourses on gender and feminism in contemporary France requires translation, whilst questioning the consequences and cultural implications of the untranslated. Stéphanie Kunert will present a paper on the circulation, transformation and alteration of discourses on gender and sexualities through a range of media. Reflecting on her own practice as a translator, Stéphanie Benson will present the key challenges she encountered when translating Virginie Despentes’s King Kong théorie into English, and Fiona Shaw’s Tell it to the Bees into French

6.30: Reception and Reading (with Wendy Delorme) followed by Conference Dinner at 8pm

Saturday 2 November

Coffee: 9.30

10-12pm: Translation and Minority Languages
Chair: Charles Forsdick, AHRC Theme Leader for Translating Cultures
Speakers: Mike Cormack (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig); Wilson McLeod (University of Edinburgh); Michael Cronin (Dublin City University)
This panel will examine translation’s role in the often fraught contact zones of minority and global languages. Mike Cormack will offer an analysis of language choice and media interaction amongst bilingual Gaelic/English speakers in order to examine the role of the media in bilingual communities. This assessment will form part of a more general focus on the question of language preference and the role of media consumer choice, the use of language as identity marker and the impact of social media. The contribution of Wilson McLeod will return us to a more textual centred discussion of translation (including the practice of literary translation). He will present and illustrate the key issues concerning translation into and out of Gaelic in the twenty-first century, highlighting the different issues that arise in relation to literary and non-literary texts, prose and poetry. Michael Cronin will conclude with a critical examination of what he terms the ‘messianic’ theory of translation, the notion that translation is always about breaking down barriers, building bridges, overcoming difference. His contention is that translation is as much about defining limits as transcending them and nowhere is there more evident than in the case of minority languages.

12-12.30: Closing Discussion with the Organisers