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SU first in Africa to host international translation studies congress
Author: Lynne Rippenaar-Moses
Published: 12/09/2019

​​Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated team of academics within the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch at Stellenbosch University, the first translation and interpreting studies congress of the European Society for Translation Studies (EST) will take place on African soil this week from 9-13 September. 

Some of the most significant academics to teach and conduct research on translation and interpreting studies will be speaking at the five-day event, including Profs Anthony Pym, Christiane Nord, Christina Schäffner, Paul Bandia, Claudia Angelelli, Kobus Marais, Gary Massey, John Milton, Luc van Doorslaer, and Reine Meylaerts amongst others.

This is the 9thEST congress and the first to be held outside Europe after SU successfully bid for and was chosen as the host of the congress that takes place every three years. The theme of the congress is Living Translation: People, Processes, Products.

According to Prof Ilse Feinauer, the Chair of the organising committee of the congress and a Professor in Afrikaans Linguistics and Translation at SU, close to 260 delegates from 46 countries are participating in the event with more than 200 papers to be delivered either as part of one of the 21 panels to be hosted or as a freestanding paper or poster. 

“The theme of this congress speaks to the latest research trends in translation studies, namely deep or thick sociological approaches used to describe lived realities in social contexts. The focus is inter alia on how and why the translation product has come about or what the relationships between and the roles of the various agents are, working towards this product. Living translationrelates to enactments of reality, in other words actual lived experiences, more so than reflections or reports onreality," said Feinauer during her address at the opening of the congress.

“In Africa in particular translation is intrinsically linked with its environment: translation in all its variety is not only the object of an academic discipline, it is a fact of life, because most African countries have a multitude of languages functioning on the lower functions, apart from the official languages, used for the higher functions. In order to communicate effectively, speakers need to operate in a lingua franca or a language that is not their first language or interpret for others. The theme therefore ties the discipline of translation studies to Africa as context."

​​This is underpinned by the topics to be addressed during the panels which include: 

  • Transnational image building and reception
  • Re-thinking the role of the interpreter in conflict-related scenarios
  • Cognition live! The dynamic interaction with the environment 
  • Translation as empowerment: new Bible (re)translations
  • Translation technologies for creative-text translation
  •  Intercultural competencies for translators: Do we have them?
  • Translating minority voices in a globalised world
  • Lawyers and linguists translating legal terms: Who is more literal?
  • Emotions in interpreting – implications for people and process 

Prof Arnt Lykke Jakobsen, Emeritus Professor from Aarhus, Denmark, and the President of the EST, was also in attendance at the opening event where he spoke in more detail about the EST and its mission. He was re-elected as President during the congress and Feinauer became the first African scholar in Translation Studies to be elected as a member of the EST Executive Board Committee. 

The four keynote speakers who will set the tone for the next few days are Prof Guy Midgley, a leading expert in biodiversity and global change science at SU; Prof Kobus Marais, Professor in Linguistics and Language Practice at the University of the Free State; Prof Paul Bandia, a Professor of French and Translation Studies in the Department of French at Concordia University in Montreal Canada; and Prof Claudia Angelelli, a Chair in Multilingualism and Communication at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. 

“This congress," added Feinauer, “is also regarded as a meeting space for young scholars to foster future collaborations and network with other young and more established scholars who contribute research for a new generation of scholars that they can learn from, replicate and build on."

Feinauer thanked all the sponsors that made the event possible, including the Research and Innovation Division and Language Centre at SU, the Trust vir Afrikaanse Onderwys, Folio Online, Penguin and Random House publishers, Van Schaik publishers and bookshop as well as Welmoed and Kaapzicht wineries. 

Photo: The keynote speakers at the 9thEuropean Society for Translation Studies (EST) congress that will take place from 9-13 September are Prof Guy Midgley of SU, Prof Kobus Marais of the University of the Free State; Prof Claudia Angelelli of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh Scotland and Prof Paul Bandia of Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.(Anton Jordaan, SSFD)

For the full programme, visit