Ghent University/UGent
20-21 May 2014

The Centre for the Study of Text and Print Culture and the Association Research Group “Literature and Translation” wishes to promote a comparative literature approach that helps to understand translation as an act of transfer that involved mediating processes in terms of meaning, form, and ideology: these processes were conditioned by the materiality and various formats in which different translations were published, as well as how different translations of the same text competed not only in textual-ideological terms but also in economic terms in a marketplace where publishers of translations needed to make a profit. In that respect, the publishing of academic translations needs to be contextualised alongside translations designed for learners (such as school children) of foreign languages.

Expensive, elite subscription (or patronage-supported) editions should be related to cheaper pocket translations meant for a significantly larger readership. In order to understand these translations and the complex interrelationships between translated texts and national literatures and canons, it is essential to reconceive of translation studies as an important field for the study of transnational historiography. Translators, like authors not engaged in translation, reflect dynamics of exchange but also language and stylistic training; above all, translations, like other literary texts, utilise a vast array of paratexts. Equally importantly, the material form through which these translations was presented to different readers in different cultural contexts reveals important insights regarding the stratification of readership and consumption/reading habits.