The Alliance Research Centre for Literature in Translation (Centrum voor Literatuur in Vertaling, CLIV) was founded by Ghent University and the VUB in 2014, when two research groups on literary translation joined forces: the Ghent University/University College Ghent Association research group Literature in Translation (2009-2014) and the VUB Center for Literary Translation (2012-2014). Today, CLIV collaborates with (inter)national research groups and centres of excellence, such as TRACE (UGent), CLIC (VUB), CETRA (KU Leuven), TricS (UAntwerpen), Philixte (ULB), CIRTI (ULiège), Prospéro (USL), PGET (UFSC, Brazil), and enjoys the support of a network of associated experts.
The Centre for Literature in Translation studies diverse phenomena of circulation, transformation and reinterpretation of texts and discourses (including imagery) in and across different geo-cultural areas. Primary objects of research are translations or translation processes underlying literary, philosophical and historiographical texts and media. Research objectives focus on the role of translation in the cultural transfer of knowledge, ideas, ideologies, norms and values as well as aesthetic procedures in fiction and non-fiction. In the corpora studied, this transfer and reinterpretation of cultural codes mainly manifests itself in a poetics of multilingualism and interculturality.
CLIV’s approach is highly interdisciplinary, as it aims to establish methodological connections between translation, literary, cultural and media studies. Due attention is also paid to historical criticism, cultural imagery and the foundations of the canonization of literary texts, scientific paradigms and philosophical thought. These cultural expressions have not only reached a wide audience thanks to translations, they were also produced by them.
The methodology pursued problematizes the assumed unidirectional dynamic between source and target cultures. The Centre’s research emphasizes the heterogeneity of each culture by mapping the margins and networks of exchange. Translations are approached predominantly from an intercultural, intermedial and transhistorical perspective with particular attention to mediating processes and agents that enable these transfers. In revealing the connections with the socio-historical context of texts, CLIV researchers refer to the historicity of all discourse. Central research topics include transnational memory cultures, multiple identity structures, transfer of cultural codes and multilingualism.
Many of the Centre’s research projects engage in the interaction between scientific research, knowledge transfer and translation practices, and thus have great societal relevance. This is evidenced by numerous partnerships, such as the organization of joint (UGent-VUB) course components and guest lectures; the collaboration with the transnational master/postgraduate degree in literary translation (University of Utrecht/KU Leuven); forums such as the Literary Translation centre of expertise [Literair Vertalen, https://literairvertalen.org/]or the PETRA consortium [https://petra-education.eu/framework-literary-translation] and journals such as Filter. In addition, CLIV’s interdisciplinary and societal profile is borne out by various cooperation initiatives with social agents, such as Literatuur Vlaanderen, the Antwerp Letterenhuis, the Royal Library (and other federal institutions), museums and individual translators. By extending these academic and public engagements, CLIV aims to contribute to the greater recognition and visibility of the work of translators.