Symposium Hertmans in Translation

In the autumn of 2021, the TRACE research group (Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication, Ghent University) and CLIV jointly organise the Hertmans in Translation symposium. The colloquium will focus on translations of poetry, prose and drama and will also address the role of translators as cultural mediators.

For more information please see the announcement.

‘Omniscientific Joyce’ (Trieste, 14-18 June 2021)

Translating the Uncle Charles Principle 

Call for Panel proposals
‘Omniscientific Joyce’, Trieste, 14-18 June 2021
Panel chaired by: Kris Peeters (UAntwerp) and Guillermo Sanz Gallego (VUB)


The omniscience of Joyce’s narrators goes a long way, as it pertains not only to characters’ inner thoughts, but also to their own formulation of these thoughts, i.e., their inner voices and idiosyncratic and sociolinguistic ways of expressing such thoughts. In Joyce’s world of words, characters have their own speech, and narrators tend to embrace these ways of expression typical of the focalizers and characters they speak of. However, this ‘Uncle Charles Principle’ (Kenner, 1978) entails more than just specific word choices. Characters’ voices and inner voices re-used by narrators are also a means of characterization, i.e., of portraying a specific character’s psychology and social class.

The subtlety of such double-voiced discourse in which characters’ speech and inner voices are reproduced by narrators constitutes a challenge for translators. Not only is double-voicedness easily overlooked, the stylistic variety it implies is at odds with ‘translation universals’, such as normalization, standardization, and conventionalization (Laviosa, 2001; Mauranen, 2007).

We invite Joyce scholars and translation scholars to reflect on why, how and to what extent the Uncle Charles Principle causes translation difficulties, and to analyze how Joyce translators have either overlooked or resolved these difficulties. We also invite speakers to reflect on how the translational phenomena observed may allow for a theoretical fine-tuning of Kenner’s principle. Examples may be drawn from translations of Dubliners, A portrait, or Ulysses into all languages, but should be limited to passages showing the Uncle Charles Principle.

Research questions may include, but are not limited to:

  • (To what extent) Do translations show evidence of normalization / conventionalization of language when the Uncle Charles Principle is involved?
  • Does normalization / conventionalization automatically lead to single-voiced narrators?
  • (How) Do translators reconstruct double-voiced narrators in the translated text?
  • (How and why) Does translation alter character psychology and characterization?
  • Is there a difference in translators’ behavior with regard to characters’ speech as compared to characters’ inner thoughts?
  • Is there a difference in translators’ behavior with regard to direct discourse, as compared to indirect discourse; with regard to free indirect discourse as compared to indirect discourse?
  • Which aspects or configurations of the Uncle Charles Principle are recreated in translation, and which are not (or less)?
  • Which translation strategies allow for a successful recreation of the Uncle Charles Principle and which translation strategies do not?
  • Are there differences regarding the Uncle Charles Principle between translations in different languages; in different periods; in different cultural target contexts?
  • Are there differences regarding the Uncle Charles Principle between first or early translations, and retranslations?
  • What can translations and retranslations teach us with regard to the Uncle Charles Principle?
  • What are the limits of Kenner’s principle in the face of translation?

Proposals – title and 200 to 300 word abstract – are to be addressed directly to and,

no later than Feb. 12, 2021.

As panel chair, we will submit the panel proposal, including names, affiliations and titles of all speakers, by Feb. 15, 2021. Depending on the number of proposals we receive, we will decide whether to submit a single panel (of 4 speakers), or a double one (which would allow us to accommodate up to 8 speakers).

Online conference “World Literature and the Minor: Figuration, Circulation, Translation” (6-7 May 2021, University of Leuven)

Conference website

Call for Papers (abridged version)
The conference “World Literature and the Minor: Figuration, Circulation, Translation” will explore the multifaceted meanings of the minor from different disciplinary perspectives—as it is represented in literary texts (figuration), as it inflects patterns of mobility and reception (circulation), and as it marks processes of linguistic and cultural transfer (translation). The conference will work towards a critical, more inclusive understanding of the minor, both conceptually and methodologically.

Deadline for abstract submission: 15 December 2020. Please send your proposal to

Keynote speakers
Michael Cronin (Trinity College Dublin)
B. Venkat Mani (UW-Madison)
Francesca Orsini (SOAS)
Lyndsey Stonebridge (Birmingham)

Online format
In order to stimulate as much interaction as possible, the conference panels will consist of small working groups based on pre-circulated papers. The participants will have 5 minutes to summarize their paper. The presentations will be followed by a short response and a general discussion.

We plan to publish a selection of the papers in a thematic special journal issue and a book. The aim of the discussions is to establish common threads between the different topics and to work towards expanded versions of the papers suitable for publication.

Important dates
15 December 2020: deadline for abstract submission
15 January 2021: notification of acceptance
1 March 2021: deadline for online registration
20 April 2021: deadline for paper submission
6-7 May 2021: conference

Coloquio “Nuevas escrituras multilingües latinoamericanas y latinas (2000-2020)”

Coloquio “Nuevas escrituras multilingües latinoamericanas y latinas (2000-2020)”

Estimad@s colegas:
Querid@s amig@s:

El próximo 15 y 16 de octubre se organiza el coloquio virtual internacional: “Nuevas escrituras multilingües latinoamericanas y latinas (2000-2020)”. Este coloquio, una colaboración entre la Universidad de Gante y la Universidad de Lovaina, se organiza en el marco del proyecto “Vidas en traducción” financiado por el Fondo de Investigación científica de Flandes.

En particular les llamamos la atención sobre la conferencia inaugural de Pablo Gasparini (Universidade de São Paulo) y las actividades con varios escritores invitados. El programa completo y los resúmenes se encuentran en el sitio web:

Tomando en cuenta la diferencia de horarios para los participantes, el coloquio empieza siempre a las 14 hrs (hora de Bruselas). La participación es gratis y no hace falta registrarse de antemano. El coloquio se realizará a través de la plataforma Zoom. Se puede acceder a través de los enlaces siguientes (habrá un enlace diferente para cada día):

Jueves 15 de octubre de 2020:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 989 7186 2502
Passcode: 6k185j08

 Viernes 16 de octubre de 2020:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 973 8792 2299
Passcode: 5l233c46

Para mayor información sobre el uso de Zoom, véase nuestro sitio web.

En espera de poder darles la bienvenida virtual, l@s saludamos muy cordialmente.

Ilse Logie, An Van Hecke y Sarah Staes

Call for abstracts – The complexity of socio-cultural emergence: biosemiotics, semiotics and translation studies


Kobus Marais, University of the Free State
Reine Meylaerts, KU Leuven
Maud Gonne, UNamur/ UCLouvain

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Biosemiotics – Terrence Deacon (University of California, Berkeley)
Semiotics – Frederik Stjernfelt (Aalborg University, Copenhagen)
Translation studies – Michael Cronin (Trinity College Dublin)

Conference date: 26-28 August 2021

Place: KU Leuven, Belgium

Since the emergence of complexity thinking, scholars from the natural and social sciences as well as the humanities are renewing efforts to construct a unified framework that would unite all scholarly activity. The work of Terrence Deacon (2013), at the interface of (at least) physics, chemistry, biology, neurology, cognitive science, semiotics, anthropology and philosophy, is a great, though not the only, example of this kind of work. It is becoming clear that this paradigm of complex relational and process thinking means, among others, that the relationships between fields of study are more important than the differences between them. Deacon’s contribution, for instance, lies not (only) in original findings in any of the fields in which he works but (also) in the ways in which he relates bodies of knowledge to one another. An example would be his links between a theory of work (physics) and a theory of information (cybernetics) by means of a theory of meaning (semiotics).

This line of thinking indeed situates semiotics and biosemiotics in the centre of the abovementioned debate (also see Hoffmeyer, 2008; Kauffman, 2012).

In semiotics, Susan Petrilli’s (2003) thought-provoking collection covers a wide variety of chapters focused on translation, which she conceptualizes as semiotic process. Her work made it possible to link biosemiotics and semiotics through the notion of “translation”, which is what we aim to explore further in this conference.

Michael Cronin’s work in translation studies links up with the above through his use of the notion of “ecology”. To apprehend interconnectedness and vulnerability in the age of the Anthropocene, his work challenges text-oriented and linear approaches while engaging in eco-translational thinking. He calls tradosphere all translation systems on the planet, all the ways in which information circulates between living and non-living organisms and is translated into a language or a code that can be processed or understood by the receiving entity (Cronin, 2017, p. 71). The aptness of Cronin’s work on ecology finds a partner in that of Bruno Latour, whose development of a sociology of translation (2005) responds to the need to reconnect the social and natural worlds and to account for the multiple connections that make what he calls the ‘social’.

In an effort further to work out the implications of this new way of thinking, Marais (2019, p. 120) conceptualized translation in terms of “negentropic semiotic work performed by the application of constraints on the semiotic process” (see also Kress 2013). Building on Peirce, namely that the meaning of a sign is its translation into another sign, translation is defined as a process that entails semiotic work done by constraining semiotic possibilities. This conceptualization allows for the study of all forms of meaning-making, i.e. translation, under a single conceptual framework, but it also allows for a unified ecological view for both the sciences and the humanities. “The long standing distinction between the human and social sciences and the natural and physical sciences is no longer tenable in a world where we cannot remain indifferent to the more than human” (Cronin, 2017, p. 3).

These kind of approaches open ample possibilities for a dialogue between Translation Studies, Semiotics and Biosemiotics, exploring translation not only in linguistic and anthropocentric terms, but as a semiotic process that can take place in and between all (living) organisms – human and non-human organic and inorganic, material and immaterial alike. Not only the translation of Hamlet into French, or of oral speech into subtitles, but also communication between dolphins or between a dog and its master, or moving a statue from one place to another, or rewatching a film are translation processes. However, many of the implications of this line of thinking still need to be explored, and if the references to Deacon, Petrilli and Cronin holds, this should be done in an interdisciplinary way that tests, transgresses and transforms scholarly boundaries.

It is for this reason that we call for papers for a conference in which we hope to draw together biosemioticians, semioticians and translation studies scholars to discuss the interdisciplinary relations between these fields and the implications of these relations for the study of social and cultural reality as emerging from both matter and mind. We invite colleagues to submit either theoretical or data-driven or mixed proposals, reflecting on the complexity of social-cultural emergence as a translation process. Some of the topics that colleagues could consider would be the following:

· Is translation, as semiotic work and process, indeed able to link all of the biological world, including humans, with the non-living world in one ecology, and if so how?

· What conceptual constructs in each of the three fields are relevant for the other fields, and how?

· Could the fields learn methodological and epistemological lessons from one another? If so, what would these entail?

· Could collaborative scholarship enhance an understanding of social-cultural emergence, and if so, what would this scholarship entail?

· How, if at all, does entropy and negentropy play out differently in social-cultural systems compared to biological and/or physical systems?

· How does social-cultural emergence differ from biological and even physical emergence? Systems thinking tends to ignore differences like the intentionality of biological agents in contrast to physical agents. Thus, if one were to consider the possibility that intention has causal effect, how does one factor intention into thinking about complex adaptive systems?

We plan an interactive conference. Firstly, we invited three keynote speakers, one from each of the fields involved, to give their views on the relationships between these three fields. Secondly, apart from the normal responses to papers, we would like to end each day of the conference with a session (about one hour) in which the keynote speakers reflect, round-table style, on the papers of the day and in which participants have the opportunity to engage them and one another in open debate style.


Submission of abstracts – 1 December 2020
Notification of acceptance – 1 February 2021
Registration opens – 1 March 2021
Registration closes – 15 July 2021

Please e-mail enquiries and abstracts of around 300 words to one of the following addresses:


Cronin, M., 2017. Eco-translation: Translation and ecology in the age of the anthropocene. New York: Routledge.

Deacon, T. W., 2013. Incomplete nature: How mind emerged from matter. New York: WW Norman & Company.

Hoffmeyer, J., 2008. Biosemiotics: An examination into the signs of life and the life of signs. London: University of Scranton Press.

Kauffman, S., 2012. From physics to semiotics. In: S. Rattasepp & T. Bennet, eds. Biosemiotic gatherings. Tartu: University of Tartu Press, pp. 30-46.

Kress, G., 2013. Multimodal discourse analysis. In: J. P. Gee & M. Handford, eds. The Routledge handbook of discourse analysis. New York: Routledge, pp. 35-50.

Latour, B., 2005. Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Marais, K., 2019. A (bio)semiotic theory of translation: The emergence of social-cultural reality. New York: Routledge.

Petrilli, S., ed., 2003. Translation Translation. Amsterdam: Rodopi.