European Society for Translation Studies Congress

WESS Newsletter

Fall 2013, Vol. 37, No. 1

My first encounter with Germany happened this summer as I traveled to Germersheim for the 7th European Society for Translation Studies (EST) congress from August 29 to September 1, 2013. There are surely a few questions that crossed your mind as you read my initial sentence. Where is Germersheim and why would a conference be held there? Furthermore, why would a librarian take part in a Translation Studies conference?

Banner for the 7th European Society for Translation Studies (EST) congress

Germersheim is located on the Rhine thirty-five minutes by train south of Mannheim and 65 miles south of Mainz. One can also travel there by boat along the Rhine River from the city of Karlsruhe. Until recently Germersheim was known as a military camp and Bavarian fortress partly dismantled because of the Versailles Treaty after World War I and used by the Allied Army at the end of World War II. Progressively, the military buildings and sites began playing a linguistic and cultural roleMillán, Carmen, and Francesca Bartrina. “Prelude: The Institutionalization of the Discipline.” The Routledge Handbook Of Translation Studies. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2013: 23. Web. 13 Sept. 2013. with green spaces, parks, and playgrounds surrounding them. It is now a university town: home to a satellite campus of the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz and the Faculty of Translation Studies, Linguistics and Cultural Studies (FTSK). In fact, with its 2000 students, the School of Translation Studies, founded in 1947 by the French military,Sawyer, David. Fundamental Aspects Of Interpreter Education: Curriculum And Assessment. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2004: 47. Web. is one of the largestJohannes Gutenberg Universität of Mainz. “German in Germany: Translation and Interpreting for Native Speakers of English.” in the world. Some of its students provided lodging to the congress attendees, who, like me, did not find a place at Germersheim’s over-extended hotel accommodations. I am truly grateful to Imme Grunert, who let me stay at her apartment while she was away.

Image of building and ruins

In September 2012, Dr. Agnes Whitfield, Professor at York University (Toronto, Canada), placed a call for papers for the EST Congress panel she had proposed on Libraries and Translation Studies. Dr. Whitfield explained that “play such a vital role in the preservation and circulation of our cultural heritages and the panel seeks to explore the many fruitful connections that could be made between translation scholars interested in intercultural dialogue and librarians.”Judy Green. “cla Panel on Libraries and Translation Studies.” E-mail to Canadian Library Association. 12 Sept. 2012. Web. I answered the call for dialogue with a paper entitled, “Information Literacy at the Heart of Librarianship and Translation Studies: A Case Study of the University of Alberta Libraries.” My proposal went beyond presenting librarians as gate-keepers to “cultural heritages,” but as information literacy instructors and active participants in training future translators. I used concrete examples from my role as Romance languages librarian at the University of Alberta (UA) and library liaison to the UA’s translation certificate. I co-presented on August 29, 2013 at the EST Congress with Dr. Agnes Whitfield, who delivered a paper entitled, “The Circulation of Translations of Anglophone and Francophone Literary Works in Canadian Libraries: A Cross-cultural Empirical Study.” She presented results on surveys and interviews she conducted on circulation, holdings, acquisitions, and cataloguing of translated works in Canadian libraries, in which, she concluded, “literary translations remained substantially under-used as a source of intercultural knowledge.”Agnes Whitfield. “The Circulation of Translations of Anglophone and Francophone Literary Works in Canadian Libraries: A Cross-cultural Empirical Study.” Translation Studies: Centers and Peripheries 7th EST Congress Germersheim 29 Aug – 1 Sept. 2013 Abstracts: 29. Print. This panel demonstrated that libraries, both academic and public, are central and not peripheral, given the theme of the congress, “Translation Studies: Centers and Peripheries,” to the field of Translation Studies and the translation book market/readership.

Before arriving in Germersheim, I thought I would be the only librarian among Translation Studies professors and researchers. To my surprise I met two other librarians, Stuart von Wolff, who was a librarian at the University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Canada) and now teaches in Finland, and Carmen Königsreuther Socknat, head of Bibliographic Services at the E.J. Pratt Library, Victoria University / University of Toronto (Canada). There may have been other librarians at the congress, whom I would have been honoured to meet and mention here. I always find presenting and attending “non-librarian” conferences an enriching experience where unforeseen connections and dialogues happen and evolve into fruitful opportunities. Like librarianship, it seems, Translation Studies contemplates its future, questions its role in academe, and is willing to redefine itself to become, as Dr. Lynn Penrod’s (University of Alberta) EST Congress paper proposes, a “lifeline for Humanities study, and the global community in the 21st Century.”Lynn Penrod. “Translation: Lifeline for Humanities Study in the 21st Century.” Translation Studies: Centers and Peripheries 7th EST Congress Germersheim 29 Aug – 1 Sept. 2013 Abstracts: 53. Print. Librarianship’s extensive experience with transdisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity can benefit other disciplines as they enter into an existential dialogue and look onto the peripheries in order to recentre themselves.

Denis Lacroix
Romance languages librarian
Bibliothécaire de langues romanes
1-01K Rutherford South
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2J4