Translating Cultures and Care for the Future Innovation Awards on International Development

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is pleased to announce a new call for Research Innovation awards on International Development. The call is a joint initiative between the AHRC’s Translating Cultures and Care for the Future themes. Awards will be funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

Projects will be expected to take innovative, collaborative and adventurous approaches to development-focused topics pertinent to the Translating Cultures and Care for the Future themes. They will be expected to make incisive contributions to the development of the themes.

Closing Date: 21/07/2016

The call seeks to complement a number of other calls that have recently been launched, or are in development, through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This includes recently announced calls on global health and agriculture and food systems, a possible joint call on resilience to natural disasters, a planned ESRC/AHRC call on forced displacement and an AHRC/ESRC call on conflict to be delivered through the Partnership for Conflict, Crime, and Security Research (PaCCS). Given the intersections between issues, applicants are advised to consider which opportunity is most appropriate for their research plans, taking into account the particular foci (for example the focus on Translating Cultures and Care for the Future for this call); call requirements (e.g. expectations relating to innovation, non-academic engagement, etc.) and types of activities which can be supported under the calls (e.g. funding levels/ durations, provision for networking, exploratory, developmental research etc).

For further information on scheme criteria, eligibility, assessment procedures and supportable activities please see the Translating Cultures and Care for the Future Innovation Awards on International Development scheme guidance. (PDF, 182KB)

Translation and the law

Guest post: first appeared on the ‘talking humanities’ blog.

Dr James Hadley, researcher in translation/translingual studies at the School of Advanced Study, gives a taster of a ground-breaking new project on the world of legal translation that is bringing together the expertise of the Institute of Modern Languages Research and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

Law is something that underpins everything we do in the present day. From the ways in which we buy and sell things to how we move around, law shapes every aspect of our lives. However, laws are not static, and while they are ubiquitous, they are far from uniform.

Legal systems, traditions, structures, and terms vary fundamentally around the globe, and even within Europe, the common law system that characterises the English system, is unusual. So what happens when laws and legal documents need to be translated from one language to another? How do we bridge the gaps between not only the different languages at work, but also the radically different understandings of what a law is and how it functions?

The Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR), in partnership with the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) has just begun a new project aimed at exploring some of these key questions. We want to know who is qualified to translate legal documents, how they are assessed, and what issues may be associated with reading translations of legal documents.

It might be tempting to assume that the translation of legal documents is something that occurs relatively rarely. However, when we start to think about jurisdictions such as Canada, Hong Kong, and Switzerland, each of which has more than one official language, and is required to make laws equally available in each, we start to see that legal translation occurs all the time.

In these contexts, translated laws carry the same legal force as the laws they have been translated from, so they function precisely in the same way as the laws they have been translated from. This approach reaches its extreme, perhaps, in contexts such as the EU, in which new legislation is required to be published synchronously in all 23 of the EU’s official languages, each of which is considered to be of equal standing.

However, the intention of creating a law with equivalent force in another language is not the only reason legal documents might be translated between languages. Such documents are very frequently translated in response to particular issues. The directors of a company that begins trading in another country may require large numbers of legal documents to be translated, simply to understand the regulations under which they will be required to work. Similarly, individuals living abroad very often require legal documentation to be translated in order to allow them to buy a house, accept a job, or simply to understand their rights in the new culture.

As anyone who has ever needed to wade through a contract will know, legal documents are written in their own language, sometimes called legalese. Thus, even if a legal document is English, and you speak the language, it is not necessarily the case that you will understand everything that is written in it. That being the case, and legal traditions around the world being so variable, it is easy to see how translating legal documents from one language to another would be no mean feat. Even if you do happen to speak both languages, you also need to understand, and be able to reproduce the respective forms of legalese with an extremely high degree of technical accuracy.

We at the School of Advanced Study are interested in all aspects of legal translation. Over the coming years, we are planning a series of projects that will explore the particular idiosyncrasies, issues, and problems associated with translating laws and legal documents. Keep an eye on the websites of the two institutes (IALS and IMLR) for a whole series of events and developments in which we will look forward to sharing our interest in this theme with you.

Dr James Hadley is an early career researcher at the Institute of Modern Languages Research. He is interested in the ways that translation theory has been used, and even more interested in the ways that it has not been used. To date, much of his research has focused on translation in under-researched contexts, such as Japan, and medieval Europe. He is currently completing two projects, one on indirect translations or translations of translations, and the other on the phenomenon of celebrity translators in the Meiji period Japanese context. His next project will be an ambitious survey of the use and generation of translation theory today.

Translation, Translanguaging and Creativity: A Translating Cultures Workshop

To coincide with the visit to the UK of Dr Tong King Lee (University of Hong Kong), author of the recent Experimental Chinese Literature: Translation, Technology, Poetics (Brill, 2015), the AHRC translating cultures theme has organized an afternoon workshop on translation, translanguaging and creativity.

The event has been arranged in collaboration with and is hosted by the Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London.

Date: Monday June 13th 2016

Time: 2.00-5.00

Place: Room 246, IMLR, Senate House South Block



 2.00: introduction (Charles Forsdick, University of Liverpool; Translating Cultures)


Jess Bradley (University of Leeds; Translation and Translanguaging), ‘Translanguaging from studio to street: resemiotizing the narrative in production and performance’

Katja Frimberger (University of Glasgow; Researching Multlingually), ‘Arts, pedagogy & becoming’

James Hadley (IMLR), ‘Creativity in indirect literary translation and its constraints’


Mike Baynham (University of Leeds; Translation and Translanguaging) and Bruno Duque (Leeds key participant TRANSLANG sports phase)

Fieldwork Conversations: A conversation with Bruno

3.30: coffee


Derek Duncan (University of St Andrews), Loredana Polezzi (Cardiff University) and Naomi Wells (University of Warwick)

Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Transnationalizing Creative Practices

4.40: final reflections (Tong King Lee)

5.00: close

Spaces are limited, so please register here by Monday June 6th. For information about the seminar, please contact:

The seminar will be followed by a lecture on ‘Translation, Translanguaging and Literary Art’ by TK Lee at Birkbeck College, University of London:

Date: Monday June 13th 2016

Time: 6.00-7.00

Place: Room 416, Malet Street, Birkbeck Main Building (Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX).


This talk explores how translation and translanguaging feature as both conceptual theme and visual trope in contemporary literature and art. Based on the multilingual cyberpoetry of the sinologist and translator John Cayley and the text-art installations of transnational artist Xu Bing, we will look at the material effects of translation and translanguaging in the opening up of new (inter)semiotic spaces in mixed-media artefacts; these spaces are also creative grounds for the sensuous engagement of the embodied reader and critical engagement with language ideologies. Two themes are in focus: first, the dialectic between translation/translanguaging and signification/communication in aesthetic art, bearing in mind that translation and translanguaging are broadly defined, and relate to both verbal and non-verbal modalities; second, how translation and translanguaging draw readers into cognitive-perceptual – alongside hermeneutic-interpretive – participation in the unravelling of the works in question, thereby turning readers into viewers as well as players. Through a close reading-viewing-playing of Cayley’s and Xu Bing’s works, the talk demonstrates how translation and translanguaging function as performative resources in some of the most exciting experiments in multimodal literary art.

For enquiries about the lecture in Birkbeck, contact:

Tong King Lee will also lead a seminar on ‘Negotiating Chinese Soft Power Through Translation’ the previous week at the University of Leeds

Date: Thursday June 9th 2016

Time: 2.00-3.30

Place: The Coach House, School of Education, University of Leeds

Directions: The School of Education is building 71 on

This talk examines the cross-cultural operations involved in the discursive construction of China, with a focus on how translation, alongside other textual practices, serves as a strategic instrument in advancing ideological causes. The talk is divided into two parts. The first part revolves around the theme of “Chinese soft power”. It explores how contemporary China constructs and projects its own (positive) cultural image through the systematic translation of select Chinese titles into foreign languages and the dissemination of these titles through rigorous publication programs. The second part examines Anglophone representations of contemporary China in both literary and non-literary texts, both translated and non-translated writing. With an eye on interculturality, we seek to elucidate two issues here: first, how British and American publishers consciously shape the image of China through the translation, publication, and paratextual marketing of select Chinese titles; second, how these translations, together with (non-translated) English-language writings on China, generate a powerful discourse that in turn governs the way China is perceived by Western audiences. By investigating how China is manipulated in translated texts and their paratexts, as well as whether and how China’s self-representation is mitigated by Anglophone representations of China, we draw implications for understanding the geopolitical relations between China and its Western Other from the perspective of intercultural discourse.

For information about the Leeds seminar contact: Mike Baynham ( or Jess Bradley (

Shakespeare in Translation: forthcoming events

Shakespeare in French

Date: 08/06/2016 – 10:0018:00
Institute: Institute of Modern Languages Research
Type: Conference / Symposium
Venue: Dr Seng T Lee Centre for Manuscript and Book Studies

With Shakespeare’s works being regarded (and thrust down people’s throats) as ‘universal classics’, it is perhaps not surprising that they have so often been staged across the Channel. The Bard is, in fact, the writer whose works are most frequently performed in France. Join us then in Senate House Library to explore Shakespeare from a French perspective. Along with talks from Florence March and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin (Université Paul Valéry), there will be a screening of Les Enfants du paradis and a bilingual reading of (extracts from) Henry VI.

See more at:


All the World’s a stage: Shakespeare in Europe and the Americas


Conference Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road


Fri 10 Jun 2016, 10:30 – 17:00

This study day brings together leading specialists to explore Shakespeare’s cultural presence in Europe and the Americas No writer’s work has been translated, performed and transformed by as many cultures across the world as Shakespeare’s. Themes include Shakespeare’s European source material; postcolonial adaptations; Shakespeare and politics, and Shakespeare and performance.

In partnership with the AHRC Translating Cultures Theme and the Polish Cultural Institute.

See more at:

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