Published: 06 May 2021

Dr Félix do Carmo delivers Keynote Speech at International Conference in Spain

The keynote address, entitled "Discourses of and about translation, before and after the digital revolution", will take place on Thursday, 13 May 2021, at the III International Conference EnTRetextos (III Congreso Internacional EnTRetextos).

In this keynote speech, Dr Félix do Carmo, from the Centre for Translation Studies, University of Surrey, sets out to discuss the discourses that revolve around translation, considering the differences between what the discipline of Translation Studies understands as translation and what other sources from outside academia are spreading to the world. The speech will account for the recent advances in technology and how they shape some of the industry discourses, while also representing the views of researchers and translators.


Abstract of the Keynote Speech: An alternative title for this talk could be: “What do we talk about, when we talk about translation”? The fact is that “translation” means many different things to many different people. Discourses produced by the discipline of Translation Studies should be considered the legitimate sources of “discourses of translation”, since they incorporate a reflection on the ontological identity of translation. Still, these discourses do not often reach beyond the confines of the discipline, leaving a wide open field for “discourses about translation”, superficial uses of the term, unconcerned by its definition or ontological setting. Regrettably for the discipline, new discourses coming from the world of technology, most related to machine translation, are powerful enough to be heard and replicated across the world. This talk covers the conflict between these two types of discourses: one sustained by a knowledgeable concern about translation, and the other based on a pragmatic, technology-based, use of the term. In this talk, I will present a reflection on the views of translation conveyed by some of these discourses: some positive, other negative; some contribute to its increased visibility, but devalue the role of the creators of translated texts; others defend the human creativity behind translation, but stall the required continuous feeding of translated products to the world. I will address the discourses of the industry, the discourses of the researchers, and the mostly silent voices of the translators. At the end of this reflection, I will approach the initial question of this abstract: what do we know about translation? Must it always elude our efforts to define and understand it, often seen as a mere secondary communication act? Our discourses of translation are being challenged by this technology that offers some form of translation in our mobile phones and computers. The ultimate goal of this talk is to contribute to our understanding of what translation is, by analysing what is said about it.

More information about this keynote speech can be found at the website of the III International Conference EnTRetextos.