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Published: 16 June 2020

Creative Translation and Technologies Expert Meeting

Dr Ana Guerberof-Arenas and Dr Dimitris Asimakoulas, Centre for Translation Studies at the School of Literature and Languages, organised a one-day expert meeting on “Creative Translation and Technologies” (29 May 2020). The event, which took place online, focused on the link between creativity and translation technologies, especially Machine Translation.

Artificial Intelligence and Neural Machine Translation are at the forefront of technology advances and are becoming ubiquitous in society. As automation increases, creativity is routinely referred to as the characteristic that will differentiate humans from machines. Yet such a topos creates a need for a nuanced understanding of the relationship between technology and creativity. More specifically, it gives rise to significant questions with respect to how creativity may be defined, how textual evidence of creativity can be systematically explored or quantified and how suitable or applicable technology may be for different types of texts.

In response to this debate, the Centre for Translation Studies at University of Surrey hosted an online expert meeting on Creative Translation and Technologies, with delegates attending in various (overlapping) capacities as academics, content publishers, translators and transcreation professionals. The meeting served as a forum for the latest research on creativity and technology, especially Machine Translation. This is research that shifts emphasis on the translation of creative literary texts (traditionally seen as relatively impervious to technological applications), on the practices/attitudes of literary translation professionals who may integrate Machine Translation into their workflow and on the creative quality of translations produced with the aid of machines. Attendees contributed to the debate from a practical or theoretical perspective. They also jointly addressed a series of questions bound to gain more traction in the (near) future, namely: how technology can facilitate the translation and dissemination of creative texts; which areas technology needs to develop to be ready for translating more creative texts; what collaborations may be envisaged between industry and academia; what ethical implications there are in using technologies.