JP1 JuneMultidimensional Methodologies

Collaboration and networking in translation research

University College London


15-16 June 2015

Hosted By:
UCL Translation Studies | Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry (CMII)

Final Programme

Keynote speakers:

  • Dr Esperança Bielsa, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
  • Dr Hye-Kyung Lee, King’s College London, UK
  • Dr Maeve Olohan, University of Manchester , UK

About the event:

Much recent translation studies research relies on networking that is either informal or organised (or both). This training event is dedicated to issues of networking, multidimensionality and collaboration in research and will place together research into contemporary types of collaborative translation and more traditional kinds of translation, exploring their possible commonalities and how one can be enriched through an understanding of the research methods used in the context of the other. Uppermost in our minds is the need to present methodologies and discuss how they may be used in different contexts.

Our keynote and panel speakers will report on their practical experiences of developing research methods to investigate collaborative translation, in areas that will include volunteer translation, fansubbing, theatre translation and translation of ‘massively collaborative’ on-line environments. Research methodologies will encompass the analysis of archival resources and user-generated content, the use of interviews and questionnaires to gather information, and the ethical considerations inherent in such research techniques. The programme includes a workshop at the British Library.

Final Programme

Monday 15th June:

9.30-10.00       Registration 
10.00-11.00     Official opening: Prof Theo Hermans; Keynote 1: Locating fan translators and their work (Hye-Kyung Lee)
11.00-11.30     Tea/Coffee
11.30-13.00     Panel 1: Networking and Interactivity (Chris Dillon, Mark Shuttleworth, John Wells) 
13.00-14.00     Lunch Break
14.00-15.00     Keynote 2: Translation as collaborative practice: challenges for translation researchers (Maeve Olohan)
15.00-15.30     Tea/Coffee
16.00-17.10     Panel 2: Interviews, Surveys and Observation Methods (Geraldine Brodie, Elena Davitti, Lukasz Kaczmarek) 
17.00-18.00     Reception
Tuesday 16th June:
9.30-10.30       Keynote 3: Translation and the Media (Esperança Bielsa) 
10.30-11.00     Tea/Coffee 
11.00-12.30     Panel 3: Archives, Museums and Literary Translation Research (Deborah Dawkin, Georgina Guy, Anna Ponomareva) 
12.30-13.30     Lunch Break
13.30-14.00     Poster Session
14.00-15.30     Archive session at The British Library (Rachel Foss)
15.30-16.00     Tea/Coffee 
16.00-16.30     Closing Session; Closing words: Prof Theo Hermans
The panel sessions will each consist of three 20 minute presentations followed by discussion. A call for entries to our poster competition can be found here.


Abstracts (listed alphabetically)

The challenges of investigating news translation
Dr Esperança Bielsa (Department of Sociology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Department of Sociology of the University of Sussex)

This paper will address important methodological challenges that emerge in research dealing with translation in news organisations and with textual analysis of news. Some of these challenges are related to the nature of the news, particularly to their fragmentary and ephemeral character, which has been exacerbated by the internet revolution and the proliferation of a multiplicity of new channels and forms for the circulation of news. Others refer to the complexity of news translation as a phenomenon that cuts across traditional academic fields, which calls for interdisciplinarity. The paper will also identify some potential dangers for Translation Studies researchers derived from underlying assumptions which are common in the field, arguing that an exercise in self-reflexivity which objectifies the researchers’ position and point of view will enhance the insights gained from empirical research on news translation and make it possible to challenge extended views of translation that are mainly derived from the study of literary translation, such as notions of authorship and equivalence. The contribution is based on the author’s previous research into translation in global news agencies. Nevertheless, the aim is to generalise and make observations that are also relevant to the study of different kinds of media, including television and radio.

Biodata: Esperança Bielsa is Senior Researcher at the Department of Sociology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology of the University of Sussex. She is the author of The Latin American Urban Crónica: Between Literature and Mass Culture (Lexington Books 2006), co-author, with Susan Bassnett, ofTranslation in Global News (Routledge 2009), and co-editor, with Christopher Hughes, ofGlobalization, Political Violence and Translation (Palgrave Macmillan 2009). She is currently working on a forthcoming book, provisionally entitled Translating Strangers: Cosmopolitanism and the Experience of the Foreign, which investigates the relevance of translation for an understanding of contemporary cosmopolitanism.

‘Neither entirely random nor wholly prescribed’: Methodologies of elite interviews
Dr Geraldine Brodie (UCL)

Qualitative interview research is necessarily subjective: recording oral histories from key individuals entails a selection process that is both narrow and partial. How then to incorporate the objectivity and ethical requirements appropriate for academic research? This paper addresses the methodologies of selecting, recording, editing and analysing elite interview subjects for research purposes, with reference to my own study mapping the processes of theatre practitioners. As Maria M. Delgado and Paul Heritage found when gathering a collection of interviews with theatre directors for their edited volume In Contact with the Gods?(1996), a coherent approach can be adopted that is ‘neither entirely random nor wholly prescribed’.

Biodata: Geraldine Brodie is a Lecturer in Translation Studies and Theatre Translation at University College London. Her research centres on theatre translation practices in contemporary London, with recent publications in Contemporary Theatre Review (2014) and Authorial and Editorial Voices in Translation (Éditions Québécoises de l’Oeuvre, 2013). She is the initiator and co-convenor of the UCL Theatre Translation Forum and Translation in History Lecture Series, a co-editor of the journal New Voices in Translation Studies, and a panel Associate of ARTIS (Advancing Research in Translation and Interpreting Studies).

Potentials and limitations of video-recording interpreter-mediated interaction
Dr Elena Davitti (University of Surrey)

The paper draws on my experience of video-recording authentic interpreter-mediated interaction (IMI), which is a type of collaborative practice during which participants co-construct meaning as the communicative event unfolds. While videos are certainly an indispensable medium for collecting data and preserving its situated, real-time and multimodal nature in a naturalistic perspective, they also raise a number of conceptual, methodological, ethical and practical questions. For instance, video-recorded data do not necessarily provide a transparent window on social interaction as video-making and editing practices may have an impact on the way interaction is documented and interpreted by the analyst. Furthermore, the lack of a solid conceptual framework underpinning the multimodal analysis of IMI represents another challenge when processing this type of data. Finally, some suggestions will be made about how to address specific shortcomings and develop a truly holistic approach to the study of IMI.

Biodata: Elena Davitti is Lecturer in Translation Studies at the Centre for Translation Studies, University of Surrey, where she delivers postgraduate courses in interpreting and research methods in T&I studies. Her research explores on dialogue interpreting through conversation and multimodal analysis. She is currently extending her research interests to video-mediated interpreting and interpreter training through her involvement as co-investigator on two European projects, both led by the University of Surrey. She has guest edited a special issue of The Interpreter and Translator Trainer (2014) on dialogue interpreting and she is co-editor of the journal New Voices in Translation Studies.

Working with archives
Deborah Dawkin (UCL)

Using the archive of the translator Michael Meyer at the British Library as an example, Deborah will give an overview of the kinds of material we might find in a translator’s archive: including successive drafts, extra-textual material and both professional and personal correspondence. She will ask what we can learn from these different archival materials about the translator’s decision-making process, the agency of translators, the dialogue between translator and author, publisher or editor, and the translator’s control over the text. Further she will investigate how the archive allows us to study the translator and his/her work within a specific historical and socio-cultural context.

Deborah Dawkin is currently in her second year of an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with UCL and the British Library. She is the first scholar to have access to the archive of Ibsen translator Michael Meyer (1921-2000). Deborah has worked as a translator herself for over ten years, translating novels, plays and academic works from Norwegian. She has an MA in Social and Cultural History.

Wikis for note-taking and version-tracking
Chris Dillon (UCL)

Chris is interested in the use of wikis in language learning and translation. In 2008 in collaboration with Margrethe Alexandroni, formerly lecturer in Norwegian in the Department of Scandinavian Studies, he set up Bridge to Norway (, the largest free resource for learning Norwegian on the Internet. Since 2012 he has been working with a team of volunteers on Bridge to China ( This is a community-sourced Mandarin resource which includes 50 Mandarin conversations in Simplified Characters, Pinyin and English translation. In his talk, he will focus on the note-taking aspects of wikis, wikis as an easy way of getting content online fast and wikis’ version-tracking functionality.

Biodata: Chris Dillon has a BA in Japanese with Korean from SOAS. He is Research Associate in Linguistic computing in the Department of Information Studies, UCL and Project Manager of the UCL Domain Names Project which provides linguistic expertise to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) as it works to develop the Internet’s addressing system beyond the Latin script.

Translation in the Archives 
Rachel Foss (Head of Contemporary Archives and Manuscripts, British Library), Steve Cleary (Lead Curator, Drama and Literature Recordings, British Library and Deborah Dawkin (Collaborative PhD student, UCL and British Library)

This session will provide an introduction to archival resources for literary translation and will explore the potential of these primary sources in research. The British Library holds a growing collection of translators’ papers, including the archives of Michael Meyer, Michael Hamburger, Lee Harwood and Peter Dale, as well as significant manuscript material within the archives of other contemporary writers, among them Ted Hughes and Harold Pinter. The Library’s Sound Archive holds recordings of translation events as well as interviews with writers and translators, including the ongoing project Between Two Worlds: Poetry and Translation, run in collaboration with the Arts Council. This session will be held at the British Library and there will be an opportunity to see and hear original material from the Library’s collections.

Translating Theatre into Exhibition: Methodologies for Performance Curation
Georgina Guy (University of London)

Georgina Guy’s research centres on the curated exhibition as a dynamic context in which established traditions of display and performance interact. In this paper, she will introduce methodologies employed in her forthcoming book to examine the current traffic of ideas and aesthetics moving between theatricality and curatorial practice. Drawing on examples from London-based arts institutions including the Courtauld Gallery and Tate Modern, this project models approaches for researching the display of performance in contemporary visual art and exhibition practices, with particular reference to the means through which curators attempt to mimic, or translate, the ontology of performance for gallery settings.

Biodata: Dr. Georgina Guy is a Lecturer in Theatre and Performance with the Department of Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her forthcoming book, Theatre, Exhibition, and Curation: Displayed & Performed (Routledge, February 2016) joins Theatre and Performance Studies with new directions in curation, visual arts, aesthetics, sociology of the arts, and reception and audience theories in order to address how performance is documented, exhibited, and otherwise attended to within institutions of contemporary art.

Collecting data through an interview: ethical and practical considerations
Dr Lukasz Kaczmarek (London Metropolitan University)

This paper reflects on my experience of using interviews as a data collection tool. The first part briefly focuses on a research context in which interviews were designed and implemented; this part explains benefits of using interviews to gauge participants’ individual and subjective impressions of community interpreter-mediated encounters. The second part discusses in greater depth a wide spectrum of challenges that had to be handled in the fieldwork, including inter alia settings-dependent obstacles, availability of participants and reliability of data. The third part addresses implications of using interviews in various contexts and offers practical advice for dealing with some of the challenges and dilemmas encountered in the process.

Biodata: Lukasz Kaczmarek is a Senior Lecturer in Translation at London Metropolitan University, where he teaches interpreting and translation at undergraduate and post-graduate level respectively. His main research interests are community interpreter competence, training and accreditation of the profession. His past and current research relies heavily on gathering participants’ experience of and reflections on interpreters’ performance in triadic exchanges. His most recent research activity focuses on participants’ perceptions of community interpreter roles.

Locating fan translators and their work
Dr Hye-Kyung Lee (King’s College London)

Fan translation plays a complicated role in the global cultural economy. As a labour of love, it is part of the symbolic economy of media fandom, where participants value non-commercial motivations and peer recognition. It is also a product of networked, collective efforts that rely on leadership, management and mutual commitment. With this fandom developing its own understanding of copyright and showing impressive productivity, its relationship with the industry is complex: from direct competition to imitation and assimilation, and collaboration. As a key intermediary of the transnational cultural flow, fan translation facilitates intercultural encounters, sometimes assisting the national branding of the producing country. Understanding this activity requires contextual knowledge of culture, practice and organisation of those who are involved and their interaction with the industry. In addition to developing interdisciplinary approaches that cross fandom and translation research with studies in cultural industries, cultural work and globalisation, a range of empirical investigation from analysis of fan-generated text to interviews with fans can be utilised. Yes, challenges are arising because of the evolving nature of fan translators’ practice, the variation in their culture and the inseparability of translated text from its context.

Biodata: Hye-Kyung Lee is based at the Cultural, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London. She works on cultural policy, cultural industries, cultural marketing and fandom within both global and East Asian contexts. She has written on fan translation of Japanese anime and manga and more recently on transnational cultural fandom. She has guest-edited special issues of Creative Industries Journal and Arts Marketing: An International Journal, and co-edited Cultural Policies in East Asia (2014, Palgrave). She is currently writing Cultural Policy in South Korea: from Cultural Control to the Korean Wave (2016, Routledge) and co-editing two books on cultural flow and the cultural industries in Asia.

Translation as collaborative practice: challenges for translation researchers
Dr Maeve Olohan (Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester)

This presentation will approach the theme of collaboration by considering how collaboration is part and parcel of much translation work, in both professional and non-professional contexts. Many different collaborative configurations are encountered, from dyadic relations to more extensive and more complex networks involving numerous actors, both human and material. We will draw on examples from historical and present-day translation practice to illustrate some of these configurations. We will then reflect on some of the conceptual and methodological challenges that such collaborative translation practices pose for translation scholars. In many cases they necessitate an ontological shift to focus on translation as performance or practice, rather than as process or product. Drawing on scholarship from other disciplines, notably workplace studies and network analysis, we will review some research methods which can assist in the practice-oriented study of translation and will evaluate the extent to which they may be helpful in shedding light on the collaborative nature of the activity.

Biodata:Maeve Olohan is Senior Lecturer in translation studies at the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester, where she delivers postgraduate courses in commercial, scientific and technical translation, translation technologies and research methods in translation studies. She is author of Scientific and Technical Translation(forthcoming 2015) and Introducing Corpora in Translation Studies (2004), editor ofIntercultural Faultlines: Research Models in Translation Studies I (2000) and co-editor of a special issue of The Translator (2011) on the translation of science, and of Text and Context: Essays on Translation and Interpreting in Honour of Ian Mason (2010).

The Brightest Heaven of Invention: team-work in translation
Anna Ponomareva (UCL)

Translation is generally perceived as a solitary activity, but the scholarship of Alexander Pushkin’s novel in verse Eugene Onegin (1830s) in English provides a at least three examples of essentially collaborative translation. The first is a family project, an enterprise involving the husband-and-wife team of Babette Deutsch and Avrahm Yarmolinsky (1936). The second is a co-operation between two colleagues, Dorothea Radin and George Patrick (1937). And the most recent is an artistic and political partnership between Olivia Emmet, an American translator of Russian Literature, and Svetlana Makourenkova, a Russian poetess and a scholar of World Literature (1999). This paper, which forms part of my ongoing research into translation methods, will be largely focused on the evaluation of the Emmet and Makourenkova team-work.

Biodata: Anna Ponomareva is a Teaching Fellow and a PhD student in Translation Studies in CenTraS, UCL. She also works at Imperial College London, the University of Surrey, City University, the University of Southampton and London Metropolitan University, where she teaches courses in practical translation and Russian. Her research interests range from Russian Symbolism to Translation Theory. Among her publications are articles on Andrei Belyi and Edvard Grieg, Translation as Intercultural Communication, and Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language.

Wikipedia translation: Collaborativity, translation and the web
Dr Mark Shuttleworth (UCL)

Even though Wikipedia exists in nearly 300 different language versions, it is generally accepted that most of its content is the product of original writing rather than being a translation of the content of another language Wikipedia. However, as it turns out, there are both organised efforts to translate sections of the encyclopaedia (or even the encyclopaedia in its entirety) for particular purposes and also ad hoc (or sometimes semi-organised) translation of specific pages on the part of individual users. For the researcher, Wikipedia translation offers what is almost a complete, self-contained research ecosystem: within a single site there are not only potential STs and TTs in 287 languages, but annotated drafts, comments and discussion, guidelines, translation requests, statistics and analysis, access to the translators themselves as well as full records of their activity. How can all this data be accessed and studied? It is the aim of this paper to make a number of proposals towards a possible methodology for researching this complex yet potentially data-rich new type of translation.

Biodata:Mark Shuttleworth was based at Imperial College London before moving to University College London in October 2013, where he continues to research, teach and supervise PhD students on a wide range of different translation-related topics. His publications include the Dictionary of Translation Studies, which appeared in 1997 and which was translated into Chinese in 2005, and works on metaphor in translation, translation technology, translator training and medical translation.

Writing a blog about your academic subject
Prof John Wells (UCL)

If you are enthusiastic about your subject, you’ll want to discuss it with other people. A blog is a way of discussing things not just with the colleagues or students you know personally, but also with people anywhere in the world. There are various issues you need to think about before starting to write a blog. They include:
• Which website is going to host your blog?
• How long should each blog posting be?
• How regularly should you post?
• How can you receive feedback? Will you permit people to comment, and if so will you moderate the comments?
• How will you let people know about your blog? Using social media.

Biodata:John Wells is Emeritus Professor of Phonetics at UCL. He started his phonetic blog after retirement, finding that he missed the regular opportunities for discussion with colleagues and students that he had enjoyed until then. He came to UCL as a postgraduate after doing a BA in classics at Trinity College Cambridge. After gaining his master’s at UCL in 1962 he was appointed to the academic staff, ultimately being promoted to the established Chair of Phonetics in 1989. He was elected FBA in 1996. He has been president of the International Phonetic Association, the World Esperanto Association, and the English Spelling Association. Among his publications are Accents of English (CUP, 1982), the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (Pearson Education, third edition 2008), and English Intonation: an Introduction (CUP, 2006). His most recent book is Sounds Interesting (CUP, 2014), a compilation of his blog pieces. He continues to enjoy life in retirement.


For registration, lunches, breaks, reception and poster sessions: UCL, South Cloisters, Wilkins Building
For event sessions: Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre and British Library


To register, please click here.

A list of possible accommodation options can be found on UCL’s accommodation page.


Mark Shuttleworth, Geraldine Brodie and Anna Ponomareva

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