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Translating Practices: Languages and Translation in Higher Education from a Cross-cultural Perspective

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


The second day and the conference itself concluded with a second workshop run by Emily Spiers (Lancaster University, Creative Futures) on “The Future of Translation”. Using a dynamic method for generating discussion, Emily first invited us to briefly discuss in groups the changes we think have happened in translation, understood as broadly or as narrowly as each group wanted. The emergence of translation technology that followed the spread of home computing, globalization and the boom of the language services sector, the birth of translation studies and university training, the recognition of the profession and the emergence of organisational structures and large institutional translation services, the democratisation of the profession, the dominance of the English language, as well as the broadening of translation as a concept were the most important points mentioned. On this basis, and departing from it as much as we saw fit, we were invited to imagine what translation might look like in 50 years’ time, in 2067 – and to picture this using the creative map, wooden blocks, human figures, and coloured wires to represent that world. The three groups proposed three different approaches that overlapped in certain respects and greatly differed in others. The shared predictions were focussing on the evolution of technology: CAT tools will gradually improve and make human translators increasingly dispensable, even though most of us agreed that literary translation has the best chance to remain human generated, thereby contributing to the survival of the profession with a much reduced number of practitioners. One group imagined the continued growth of Google as central power around which states will revolve, and which is perfected thanks to the global population’s input through their use of Google platforms. Another group took this in a slightly different direction by predicting a device that would sit in everyone’s ears translating in direct everything that the bearer sees and hears in any language at all. No one would therefore need translators any more, nor would they need to learn languages. Yet as people would continue to exist who are fascinated by languages and translate for fun or as a form of art. The device will also enable the development of massive multicultural and multilingual megapolises where everyone is able to understand everyone else’s language and culture and can live together in peace.

Event (Conference)

TitleTranslating Practices: Languages and Translation in Higher Education from a Cross-cultural Perspective
LocationUniversity of Lancaster
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Degree of recognitionInternational event