Literary Self-Translation and its Metadiscourse

Power Relations in Postcolonial Contexts

colloque self-translation large

26–27 October 2023

Conference Description

Initially relegated to the margins of translation studies, literary self-translation has now become a research topic in its own right, both in the fields of translation studies and comparative literature. While translation studies typically concentrate on the variety of (sociological, ideological, aesthetic) reasons why authors would choose to translate their literary texts themselves and on comparisons between self-translations, translations and other types of transfer activities such as rewriting, the field of comparative literature addresses self-translation mainly as a cause of literary multilingualism, with a clear focus on so-called transnational literatures. Our conference aims to bring both approaches together by examining self-translation as a practice that prompts self-reflexive metadiscourses on literary and translation production and gives new insights into the motivations and literary language uses of multilingual writers. This metadiscourse is present in the literary text itself and in essays, speeches delivered during award ceremonies, interviews, blogs, social media posts, academic lectureships or activism statements for minority rights.

Self-translations challenge binaries pertaining to the relationship between original and copy, author and translator, source and target language, which are inherent in the traditional understanding of translation itself. In a world marked by globalisation, transnational movements and the aftermath of colonialism, self-translation also unsettles power relations and forms of imbalance that are especially at play in contexts in which minority and majority languages come into contact. By taking a closer look at the metadiscourses of authors who use self-translation as a literary tool, we seek to analyse to what extent this practice counters linguistic hegemony and/or cultural oppression in contexts characterised by power differentials, but also to understand why and how self-translation might function as a source of inequalities.



Book of Abstracts



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Registration fee:

  • Standard rate (speaker): 60€
  • Reduced rate for PhD & MA students (speaker): 40€
  • Standard rate (participant): 30€
  • Reduced rate for PhD & MA students (participant): 20€
  • Online attendance: 20€
  • Attendance is free for members of the UNamur, ULiège, and KULeuven.

Payment details:

  • Account: ULIEGE - LITERARY
  • IBAN: BE03 3400 9045 7184
  • Bank: ING

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Scientific Committee

  • Valérie Bada (ULiège)
  • Elke Brems (KULeuven)
  • Núria Codina Solà (KULeuven)
  • Dirk Delabastita (UNamur)
  • Eva Gentes (Independent Scholar)
  • Maud Gonne (ULiège)
  • Rainier Grutman (uOttawa)
  • Marie Herbillon (ULiège)
  • Jack McMartin (KULeuven)
  • Denise Merkle (UMoncton)
  • Reine Meylaerts (KULeuven)
  • Daria Tunca (ULiège)
  • Myriam-Naomi Walburg (ULiège)
  • Rita Wilson (Monash)

Organizing Committee

  • Núria Codina Solà (KULeuven)
  • Dirk Delabastita (UNamur)
  • Maud Gonne (ULiège)
  • Marie Herbillon (ULiège)
  • Reine Meylaerts (KULeuven)
  • Myriam-Naomi Walburg (ULiège)

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