First International Conference on Fictional Translators

in Literature and Film

to be held at the Center of Translation Studies of the University of Vienna on 15 – 17 September 2011

 Theme of the conference

The last few years have seen an upsurge in films and literary texts in which translators or the act of translating have a central role. One reason for this development may be that translators serve as a perfect screen for the projection of social and cultural anxieties associated with various aspects of globalization, i.e. migration, cultural hybridity, mobility, multilingualism, etc. The topic of translation has reached all literary and film genres – from dramatic works and novels to (auto)biographies, from motion pictures to documentary films – and can be found in all fields: in historical novels and films, as well as in science fiction, experimental literature and films, crime stories and comedies. In their works, writers and film directors seem to make the most of the social and political dimensions of translating practice.

Up to now, academic studies focusing on fictional translators in literature and films have been relatively few. One aim of this conference is to promote a more systematic approach by bringing together scholars from different disciplines with various research backgrounds and methodologies, such as translation studies, cultural, studies, sociology, literary studies, film studies, hermeneutics, philosophy, etc. This pioneering conference aims to be a meeting point for all those interested in the subject, to become a discussion forum where scholars with different academic backgrounds can meet so as to stimulate interdisciplinary research in this area.



Suggested topics


The First International Conference on Fictional Translators in Literature and Film is open to a variety of topics and approaches. Papers may discuss individual literary works and films, or specific genres, languages and cultural areas. Themes could, for example, include the following:


  • What is the narrative role of the translator in a literary work or film?
  • How are translator characters and their activity gendered or sexualized in fiction, and what does this dimension bring to our understanding of how translations are usually received?
  • What may fictional translator characters reveal about the psychology of writing and reading?
  • What may such characters teach us about the ethical concerns involved in the relationships usually established between "originals" and their reproductions?
  • What culture-specific features can be identified in the translators or translating practice depicted in the film or literary work?
  • Which cultural areas and social or other constellations do the fictional characters inhabit?
  • Which concepts of translating are implicit in the fictional practice of the characters portrayed?
  • Which cultural images are constructed? And from which perspective?
  • Which role models are created in the films and literary works?
  • What socio-political conditions or events contribute to the emergence of fictional translators?



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