Translating Research Cultures: the French Social Sciences and Humanities in English

Dr Lucy Garnier, professional academic translator and associated researcher at the University of London Instit

A Centre for Translating Cultures research event
Date28 November 2018
Time15:30 to 17:30

This talk will explore the challenges and broader implications of translating between two academic research cultures, specifically translating the French social sciences and humanities into English. French academics are under increasing pressure to use English as a lingua franca, creating substantial demand for specialist academic translations. In this field, the cultural mediation required of translators is very specific in nature. It involves producing texts for multiple readers — the original authors, but also other audiences such as peer reviewers, funding committees, journal editors, and the national and international academic community. The competing expectations generated by this situation seem to require incompatible degrees of domestication and the translator plays a complex role in this cultural transaction, compounded by a form of “invisibility” partly intrinsic to the academic framework. In this context, it is also interesting to ask what this negotiation process can tell us about the research cultures in question. What can we learn from the points of resistance encountered when navigating between the norms, values, and assumptions of two radically different epistemological traditions and, more broadly, what are the potential consequences and/or losses inherent to the hegemony of the English language in the academic world?


ProviderCentre for Translating Cultures

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