Translation Studies

Translation will play an increasingly key role in informing the world about sustainable development. Global challenges such as education, innovation and technology, justice, social inclusion and gender equality have resonance in translation practices, policies, as well as in scientific research on translation. By supporting cultural and linguistic diversity translation is vital to sustainable development and will increasingly become instrumental in achieving a better future for all.

Translation in the 21st century and the challenge of sustainable development

European Commission

Event organised in collaboration with the European Commission

The themes debated in the course of the Summer School will be related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly: quality education; industry and innovation; gender equality; reducing inequalities; peace, justice and strong institutions (cfr.

Translation’s involvement in these topics is more and more noticeable, and themes such as professional ethics, the social and political responsibility of translation or the impact of technological innovation are just a few examples. The Summer School will therefore provide up-to-date analyses on these topics and stimulate reflections on translation’s contribution to a better future for all.


Dates and schedule

Lessons and workshops are scheduled from June 24th to 28th, 2019, for a total of 30 hours of lectures and seminars. All activities will be in English.

Programme Director

Prof. Mirella Agorni, Ca' Foscari University of Venice

Keynote Lecturers

  • Prof. Anthony Pym, University of Melbourne - Australia, Distinguished Professor of Translation and Intercultural Studies at Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Spain
  • Prof. Luise von Flotow,  University of Ottawa, Canada
  • Prof. Loredana Polezzi, Cardiff University, UK
  • Prof. Pilar Orero, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Prof. Amalia Gladhart, University of Oregon
  • Prof. Andrea Rizzi, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Prof. David Katan, University of Salento, Italy
  • Katia Castellani, Directorate General for Translation, European Commission
  • Peter Mead, Senior Interpreter, NATO Defense College, Rome, Italy
  • Carlo Eugeni, technical translator, interpreter, subtitler, respeaker, INTERSTENO, Rome, Italy


  • Elisa Fina, Phd Ca' Foscari University of Venice
  • Katia Peruzzo, Phd Ca' Foscari University of Venice
  • Giuseppe Trovato, Phd Ca' Foscari University of Venice
  • Ester Torres Simon, Phd University of Rovira i Virgili, Spain


Prof. Anthony Pym - The consequences of neural machine translation

Since 2016 neural machine translation has produced a qualitative leap in electronic translation technologies. What are the social effects of this change? What are the consequences for the translation profession? What impact might it have on how we train translators? 

Prof. Loredana Polezzi - Multilingualism and translation in a mobile world

The lecture will explore the relationship between space, language and translation in the contemporary world. The focus will be on the connection between geopolitical maps and language repertoires in the context of increasing geographic and social mobility. Attention will be paid to everyday practices, cultural products and the relationship between these, on the one hand, and language ideologies, on the other.

Prof. Pilar Orero - An image is worth 1000 words: translating audiovisual media

Audiovisual translation or Screen Translation has always been studied from Translation Studies. Technology has revolutionised both translation and media allowing automatic translation workflows. This presentation will depart from the traditional concepts defining Translation Studies to understand the nature and name of Translation Studies in 21st century. With the rise of "accessibility" as an enabler for full communication and participation of people in society. Audiovisual Translation has always been associated to screens, while most reading today is through screens. Probably all translations performed today are through screens. This takes us to revise Translation Studies from a semantic approach to a communicative approach (Newmark 1988).

Prof. David Katan - Translating for sustainable development in the field of tourism?

This talk will argue that the focus on inclusion, making translation a functionalist and performative action for the tourist has left communication with the destination community itself out of the equation. So, while the destination location is now being more successfully ‘targetted’ (at least in theory), the UN Sustainable Development Goal, “Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance”,  has at best been neglected. Yet, the concept of ‘authenticity’ and ‘understanding’ when crossing cultures is of extreme importance for the tourist experience (though admittedly not for all tourists).  We will investigate the various ways that scholars and tourist guide producers have approached the subject, and the various ways ‘translation’ (but not only) has and can be employed for international tourism.  These various ways may also have a direct impact on ‘intercultural understanding and tolerance’. The discussion will be informed in relation to the role of the ‘mediator’ and to the type of tourism – whether fast or slow, which mirrors accessibility/ sustainability  concerns. 

Prof. Amalia Gladhart - Migrating Translations: sustainability, texts, and contexts

The lecture will consider challenges and possibilities of translation in the context of migration, with an emphasis on literary translation and the shifting contexts of reading and publication. If migrations of people parallel the migration of texts, how does migration affect the contexts of translation? How might we think about sustainability and migration together, and what might it mean to link sustainability and translation?

Prof. Andrea Rizzi - Translator ethics for a sustainable culture: lessons from premodern European translators

The ever-growing output of collaborative, non-professional translations raises questions about the role of translators in facilitating readers, listeners, and clients’ ‘recognition of cultural diversity, inclusion, and equality’ (2015 UNESCO Policy Document for the Integration of a Sustainable Development Perspective). This talk addresses some of these questions by exploring liminal discourses on the ethos and visibility of premodern, non-professional European translators.

Prof. Louise Von Flotow - Translation and Unequal Language

In the 1970s and 1980s scholarly interests focused on the politics of language, and the political uses and abuses to which language could be put. Feminist writers and academics documented the unequal, patriarchal, ‘phallologocentric’ aspects of European/Anglo-American language use, and began producing texts that renewed and revised the respective language they were working with. This triggered so-called feminist translation – as the critical feminist work on unequal language needed to be circulated. My presentation will follow the development of largely feminist gender-awareness in translation and translation studies from the late 1970s to the late 1990s, when gender queer arrived, and move on to address current problems in the transnational aspects of gender-aware language and translation. Here, the power of English as a/the lingua franca, another example of unequal language, that strongly affects gender-awareness will be the main topic.

Katia Castellani - Translating for a multilingual European Union in the digital era

Multilingualism is a pillar of the European Union. What does being multilingual imply? How is multilingualism guaranteed? What is the role of linguists in EU institutions?
The speaker, a European Commission translator, will describe the work of linguists at the EU and the role of multilingualism for citizens’ participation in the democratic process.


Prof. Anthony Pym - Trust, status and the exchange of capitals in the translation market

Selling a translation is like selling a used car: the buyer never really knows what is inside. Clients and receivers nevertheless choose to trust or distrust translators on the basis of several kinds of social signals (qualifications, experience, professional associations, personal recommendations, etc.). Translators then learn to invest in such signals, accrue benefits, and convert those benefits into other kinds of signals. This seminar will present a series of historical and current cases where translators are in problematic situations and are required to adopt a market strategy. Students have to analyze the options available and predict success or failure.

Prof. Loredana Polezzi - The Wealth of Languages: Translation, Multilingualism and Development?

This interactive seminar will invite participants to reflect on our cognitive and affective maps of language and translation, and how these relate to the geopolitics of mono- and multilingualism. It will examine the role of notions such as ‘mother tongue’, ‘native speaker’, or ‘foreign languages’ in articulating the relationship between language and identity/belonging. And it will explore the implications of those concepts for educational and professional practices.

Prof. Pilar Orero - From paper to digital: Accessibility as the new context for Translation Studies

The seminar will analise the raise of accessibility, its place in Human Rights and resulting mandates. This legislation normalises citizen democratic participation in the Information Society. Accessibility services such as lingustic (translation), physical (architecture), design (universal design), and media (subtitling, audio description, clean audio, easy to read, sign language interpretation) allow for this social integration and full citizen participation. The seminar will look at the latest communicative possibilities and accessibility services in both traditional media and immersive media, such as 360videos.

Prof. David Katan - Translating for Intercultural Understanding and tolerance according to E.T Hall’s Iceberg theory

The aim of this seminar is to illustrate an adaptation of E.T. Hall’s Tripartite Iceberg model of Culture especially for tourism guides. Each part or level of culture requires a particular set of strategies and sensitivities to translate for understanding and tolerance of difference. At the tip of the iceberg, the Technical level of culture, culture-bound terms require recourse to a translator’s procedural toolbox. At the next, Formal level, issues regarding genre, norms and communication orientations require more structural intervention to mediate communicative effect. At the third (and hidden) level, other cultural orientations, values and beliefs relating to accepted practice come to the fore, and have a potentially strong ‘affect’ on the tourist reader - and tolerance for cultural difference is tested. In all cases the level of effect or affect will depend on the envisaged reader or personaand type of tourist guide.

Prof. Amalia Gladhart - "Migration in Translation” Hard to say, possible to manage?

The seminar will build on questions raised in the lecture, offering concrete examples and shared exercises and encouraging participants to consider the movement of translations within their own contexts of work and study. Roberto Cossa’s short play, Gris de ausencia, with its multi-lingual, multi-accented dialogue and its representation of migration across borders and generations, will serve as one starting point for thinking about how to translate representations of migration and how to in turn move (or migrate) those translations.

Prof. Andrea Rizzi - How to study the ethos of translators

In this seminar we will examine prefatory material by premodern and contemporary translators and other go-betweens to understand how we can gauge the ethos of communication and persuasion that underpins transcultural communication.

Peter Mead - Interpreting and translating for an international organization: a personal viewpoint

Based on eight years’ personal experience of working at the NATO Defense College in Rome as a staff interpreter, I will explain the kind of language services involved. The talk will cover the following topics: an introduction to the NDC as part of NATO; which languages are needed, and why; how interpreting, translation and revision are organized; our relationship with our ‘clients’; being a permanent member of staff compared to self-employed/freelance status; organizational ethos and professional fulfilment. The idea is to give plenty of opportunity for interaction, questions and discussion on these topics, rather than present them in a classic lecture format.

Prof. Louise Von Flotow - On the Challenges of Producing Feminist/Gender-aware Criticism in Translation Studies

Based on the work of editing and producing two recent books: Translating Women (2011) and Translating Women. Different Voices and New Horizons (2017), I will focus on the challenges that arise in English-language scholarly publishing on gender-aware translation, especially with regard to a project that set out to be inclusively ‘transnational’. Challenges include the reading and editing process, and the norms of an English essay; the question of ‘betraying one’s culture’ by translating/studying translations; and issues of inclusion and exclusion. The big questions is how universalist notions about gender parse when local culture and politics intervene?

Dott. Carlo Eugeni - Trans-pretation and AVT - When Subtitling for the Deaf becomes Accessibility for All

In line with EU and UN recommendations, and in the framework of the global challenges of education, innovation and technology and social inclusion, this seminar will try to focus on two cutting-edge concepts in the field of Audiovisual Translation (AVT): Trans-pretation and Universal Accessibility. Starting from the limited scope of Subtitling for Deaf and the Hard-of-Hearing people, meant as intra-lingual transposition of dialogues and special effects of a movie to the benefit of people with hearing loss, this seminar will widen the perspective of the audience on Diamesic Translation. In particular, it will be shown how examples of targeted forms of translation have today developed to include any form of access to spoken communication, both pre-recorded and live (films, documentaries, live events, trials, parliamentary sessions, etc.), advantaging the whole community, and requiring experts in a hybrid form of profession, at the crossroads between translation and interpretation: trans-pretation.

We thank for their contribution

Associazione Italiana di Anglistica

  • the Associazione Italiana di Anglistica (AIA)
  • the Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies
  • the Department of Asian and North African Studies
  • Ca' Foscari School of Economics, Languages and Entrepreneurship
  • Laboratorio sulla Traduzione delle Lingue Orientali

Last update: 28/10/2019