You are here

Warning message

Attention! This event has already passed.

Translation in Exile

Wednesday, 9 December, 2015 - 18:30
Brussels Parliament / University Foundation
Lombardstraat/Rue du Lombard 69, 1000 Brussels / Egmontstraat/Rue d’Egmont 11, 1000 Brussels
Vrije Universiteit Brussel / Universiteit Gent / Universidad de Compostela / Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina / Centrum voor Literatuur in Vertaling
+ 32 2 6291 068
International Conference

Centrum voor Literatuur in Vertaling / Vrije Universiteit Brussel / Universiteit Gent in cooperation with Universidad de Compostela / Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

Bringing together scholars from different disciplines such as cultural studies, translation studies, area studies, comparative literature, and anthropology, the Translation in Exile conference aims at providing a new understanding of exile as a theoretical concept, analytical category, and lived experience in the study of the translation of (literary) texts.

From Ovid over Dante to Victor Hugo, D. H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann, Assia Djebar, Irmgard Keun, Mahmoud Darwish, Salman Rushdie, and Julia Kristeva (to just name a few prominent authors), the experience of exile has profoundly influenced world literature throug the ages. For most of these literary émigrés, exile was never merely a question of location, of being somewhere else, but also of being in a different culture, of which the foreign language is one of the most immediate features. Especially literary exiles experience the problem of a foreign language on a daily, unmediated basis. They are constantly translating or being translated - their financial and existential survival depends to a great extent on language.

Exiled writers can translate themselves, be translated or become translators of other authors’ work. Present-day Europe has a number of immigrant writers who publish in the language of their country of adoption, with differing degrees of acceptance of their new languages' norms. Some of them are harassed by authorities, confronted with censorship, excluded from literary institutions, submitted to physical and psychological threats, living in fear of imprisonment. They were forced to leave their homes because of ideological, ethnic, religious, or moral reasons. Others were accused of a lack of patriotism in times of war, or were regarded as obscene by moral conservatives.

However, the émigré translator can also become a catalyst for conceptualising alternative worlds by initiating a dialogue with works of world literature. Exiled writers have put their knowledge of languages to use by translating either works of their homeland into the adopted language, or the other way round. Vladimir Nabokov translated Pushkin, Cabrera Infante translated James Joyce, Pedro Salinas translated Marcel Proust, Hans-Henning Paetzke translated György Konrád, Felix Pollak translated Heinrich Heine. Some of them also translated their own work into the language of adoption: Nabokov translated his early works into English, as did Cabrera Infante. The examples are legion.

This conference will touch on questions of multilingualism and displacement, and on their methodological implications for translation studies, first and foremost with regard to translating literary texts as a political and cultural practice. This conference pleads for a less metaphorical and more empirical understanding of translation. The focus will be on the interlingual nature of translation and exile as an interstitial locus of enunciation. The aim of the conference is to further our understanding of the authors’ experiences of exile, their function, opportunities, and problems as (self-) translators, as well as to explore how these émigrés have documented and represented their stories. The conference will circumnavigate a broad spatial and temporal spectrum. The focus of the conference is neither limited to the analysis of translation in the context of European languages and cultures, nor to one specific historical period.


To view the preliminary programme, download the attachment below.


Register by filling out the registration form below and do your payment online with credit card or Maestro.

Alternatively participants within the EU can pay via bank transfer to:

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussel

BE51 0010 6864 5562

mentioning ‘CONI505 + name’

and send their registration details to trlnxile@vub.ac.be

You can no longer submit using form.