Translation as Reading (ACLA 2020)

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Translation as Reading

CFP: ACLA 2020, March 19-22, Chicago.

Organizers: Junjie Luo and Eugene Eoyang

When Gayatri Spivak (1993) discusses “translation as reading,” she focuses on the relationship that a translator establishes with the original text and its translation. This seminar examines the role that reading plays in various aspects of translation. Following Spivak’s argument, this seminar welcomes papers that use the concept of reading to discuss the dynamics between texts and translators. How do different modes of reading influence translation strategies? What historical and cultural factors contribute to a translator’s understanding of the original text? We encourage contributors to use reading as a critical lens to compare cultures. For example, how does a translator’s interpretation of the source text reflect the cultural differences and the opportunities/challenges in cross-cultural communication?

While Spivak regards reading as an interpretative undertaking, reading is contingent on the materiality of the translation process. For example, how does the typeset of a translation influence reading experiences? How is a crowdsourced translation produced given that the contributors may have different ways of reading the same original text? We are interested in papers that address the materialistic and technological aspects of reading and translation.

Literary critics also read translations in order to examine them. We also welcome papers that use innovative approaches to offering new readings of translations. For example, how can computational and statistical tools be used to analyze the style of a translator? Are there any differences between reading a translation that appear on line and reading a translation published in a physical book?

This panel seeks to broaden and deepen the discussion of the role that reading plays in the translation process. We welcome different approaches to examining the relationships between translation and reading, and invite papers which contribute to the conversations about this topic.

Please submit your abstract through the ACLA website by Sept 23, 2019. If you have any questions, please contact Junjie Luo at and Eugene Eoyang at

Categories: CFP