Hungarian delegate at the 9th EST Congress held at Stellenbosch University, South Africa 2019. november 15.

Conference report

From left to right: Prof. Luc van Doorslaer, vice president of the European Society for Translation Studies (EST), University of Tartu and KU Leuven; Kovács Fruzsina, PhD student at Pázmány Péter Catholic University; Prof. Ilse Feinauer, head of the congress organising committee, Stellenbosch University; Prof. Arnt Lykke Jakobsen, president of the European Society for Translation Studies, Copenhagen Business School; Marike van der Watt, PhD student at Stellenbosch University.

Translation is part of everyday life in South Africa. This country has 11 official languages, some of which are not standardized, which poses a special challenge for translators and terminologists. At the 9th EST Congress, even the small organizational details drew our attention to the context. Instead of a conference folder, for example, participants were given a textile bag produced by a local company which provided training as well as employment in the region, and the special surprise of the opening ceremony was a local choir that sang in English, Italian, Afrikaans and Zulu languages.

More than 200 presentations were given at the 9th Congress of the European Society for Translation Studies titled Living Translation: People, Processes, Products held between 9-13 September 2019 at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Conference participants arrived from 46 countries to present a poster, or a paper in one of the 21 panels, or in an individual presentation session. The topics of Congress responded to the social realities and challenges of the 21st century, thus the panels centered around questions such as intersemiotic translation, translation ergonomics, big data approaches, legal translation and interpreting, or the role of translation technology and the human translator. Fruzsina Kovács, 5th year doctoral student at Pázmány Péter Catholic University participated as one of the conveners of the Transnational Image-building and Reception panel with Paola Gentile (University of Trieste) and Marike van der Watt (Stellenbosch University), and also presented her PhD research as well as the Pratchett Project of PPCU which is to be launched in September 2019.

The Congress was different from other Translation Studies events not only because of the unique scenery, but also because translation and interpreting scholars, practitioners and professional organizations gathered from five continents to discuss current uses of translation, share findings of cutting edge research, and debate issues that relate to the broader concept of translation used in academic discourse. At the opening, Guy Midgley, the internationally renowned professor of Botany and Zoology at Stellenbosch University pointed out that scientific communication and the translation of this message for society play a central role in the fight against climate change. Keynote speaker, Professor Paul Bandia (Concordia University, Montreal, Canada) called the attention to the fact that countries that lack research funds might fall behind in scientific research, and this causes inequality in the field. Professor Claudia Angelelli (Heriot-Watt University, Scotland) talked about interdisciplinary in Translation and Interpreting Studies research, and Professor Kobus Marais (University of the Free State, South Africa) explored ways to model change in translation.

The rich conference program was preceded by four intensive workshops. Professors Haidee Kotze (Macquarie University, Australia) and Gert de Sutter (University of Ghent, Belgium) offered a full day training for doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers with the title: New Corpus Methods in Translation and Interpreting Studies, which is applied in current research at Pázmány Péter Catholic University. Professor Anthony Pym (Melbourne University, Australia) held a seminar on supervising doctoral dissertations in Translation Studies. Professors Kobus Marais and Carmen Delgado Luchner (University of the Free State, South Africa) gave a workshop for doctoral students in research methodology and research ethics, and the workshop of Professor David Katan (University of Salento, Italy) raised awareness to the importance of gaining intercultural competences.

The Congress provided an excellent opportunity to initiate synergies of international research, to strengthen existing cooperation, or start a dialogue with translation scholars from the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Estonia and Canada to name just a few countries. Why is it important that Hungary would be part of the global Translation Studies discourse? Being a small country, the Hungarian cultural market heavily depends on translation. The Translator and Interpreter MA program at Pázmány Péter Catholic University meets that demand by training professionals with excellent language and translation skills, and the Doctoral School of the University aims to bring up a new generation of researchers who can present innovative methodology and fresh research findings at international academic fora.

The next congress of the European Society for Translation Studies will be held in Oslo, Norway in August 2022. Further information: https://est-translationstudies.org/

Fruzsina Kovács

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