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Fra, Esp, Por


Tracing the Effects of Transfer through Translation

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM)

October 24 – 25, 2012


The research project CANADA IN LATIN AMERICA, located at University of Ottawa and Concordia University in Canada, is seeking collaborators who are interested in translation as a vehicle of international exchange.

The project explores the translation and the dissemination of Canadian writing in Latin America as a vital mode of contact between these two parts of the Americas. It examines the practices, results, and effects of this important cultural transfer over the past thirty years.

Translation is one of the most important, yet least explored, means of promoting contact between cultures.

-   This project examines how Canada’s efforts at cultural diplomacy and nation-branding play into its translation politics – via grants, funding for Canadian studies, and support for the export of books.

-   It looks closely at how Canadian works are selected, translated and disseminated in Spanish and Portuguese.

-   It focuses on the reception and the impact of Canadian writing in Latin America.

We invite abstracts for papers that explore questions around translation processes, the movements of texts, the agents that select and promote them, and their dissemination, reception and effects in Latin America. Papers will be organized around 3 main sub-areas of research:

A. Objects:

1. Texts and their ‘Canadian’ provenance, production and content (for example, is ‘Canadianness’ an important feature of these works);

2. Selections of texts to translate – who makes them, how, and  under which circumstances?

3. Translations as final products – how do they turn out? Do some of these translations come with paratexts (forewords, prefaces, glossaries, translator notes, etc.)?

4. Anthologies of Canadian or Québécois literature: are they to be considered a vanguard or do they usually establish a canon?

5. Canada’s dual nationality: is it reflected in some of these editorial ventures?

6. Genres: are some preferred at given periods in given countries? How does non-fiction fare compared to fiction? Within fiction, have theatre texts received special attention? How have they been received by theatre audiences? How can we explain the discrepancy between highly profiled Québec theatre and more discreet English Canadian theatre? Also, how can we explain the particular success of Quebec poetry in Mexico?

7. Other related topics dealing with “translations” as “objects”: do elements of shared ‘American’ histories – colonial pasts, settler stories, European backgrounds, indigenous peoples – have an impact in translation choices? How do Latin American-born Canadian authors (such as Argentinian-born Alberto Manguel who now writes in English and Brazilian-born Sergio Kokis who now writes in French) fare in Spanish and Portuguese translation?

B. Agents:

1. Authors, translators, and “cultural entrepreneurs” such as publishers, editors and distributors; how are texts selected and on what basis? Who devises translation projects?

2. Literary agents and their import – what type of intermediary roles do they play?

3. Spanish and Portuguese publishers: the importance of Madrid and Barcelona publishers in Latin America; the decline of Portuguese publishers in favour of Brazilian publishers?; What are the types of power differentials between Latin American and Peninsular publishers (e.g. the reception in Mexico of Canadian work translated in Spain?)

4. Work by Canadian studies academics and Embassy staff (such as cultural attachés): do they play a direct or even indirect role in how Canadian works end up circulating in Latin America? Does cultural diplomacy have an effect on larger issues of international exchange?

5. Reviewers: how do professional readers read Canadian work in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina? Is there a focus on the Canadian source culture? Or is it simply mentioned in passing? How much space is given to translations of world-renowned authors like Atwood, Munro and Ondaatje in the book section or literary supplements of the national papers like O Globo, El Mercurio, O Estado de Sāo Paulo, El Excelsior, El Tiempo, La Nación, A Folha de Sāo Paulo?

C. Events:

1. International book fairs such as Guadalajara, Buenos Aires, Sāo Paolo, Bogotá: are they major venues for signing contracts for the translation and dissemination of Canadian works in Latin America?

2. Initiatives of Canadian Embassies and Délégations du Québec in Mexico City, Sāo Paulo and Santiago?

3. Canadian Studies conferences and the research partnerships that are born out of these meetings: how effective are they?

4. Institutional policies – translation funding (of Canadian or Latin American origin), support for authors to travel; support for publishing – how important are these practices?

A database with the details of nearly 1000 translations (into Spanish and Portuguese) will be available online in January 2012, for shared use. Quantitative reports (related to issues dealing specifically with language, genre, geography, funding, gender, etc.) can already be requested (see next page for example on the reception of Atwood in the Latin American press).

Abstracts in English, French, Portuguese or Spanish (approx. 300 words) on any of the above or other related topics are welcome.

Papers will be presented and discussed in a collaborative workshop setting at the October 2012 UNAM Conference, and culminate in articles for a peer-reviewed publication in 2014 titled Translating Canada into Latin America.

Financial aid may be available for travel and accommodation, upon application.

Please send abstracts to:

Luise von Flotow: flotow@uottawa.ca


Marc Charron: marc.charron@uottawa.ca

Submission Deadline: August 1, 2012