[conference] 31st Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Translation Studies: Translation and Adaptation

Adaptation has long had a negative reception within the discipline of Translation Studies. It is quite normal to be confronted with negative perceptions of adaptation – long since regarded as ”the extreme limit of translation” (Vinay and Darbelnet 1958, Vázquez-Ayora 1977, among others), a distinctive translation operation, and even an ”act of betrayal” or ”a lack of respect” (Bensoussan 1988) – whenever matters concerning equivalence, fidelity or primacy of the source text are raised. And this, notwithstanding calls by numerous authors for it to be considered an integral part of the translation operation (Hurtado 1990, Bastin 1990, Gambier 1992, et al.) and demands by others for it to be established as an independent field of study (Hutcheon et O’Flynn 2006, Raw 2012, Cattrysse 2014). 

All of which gives rise to two crucial questions. a) Is adaptation, strictly speaking, a part of the translation operation? b) Should adaptation, as a field of study, extend to adaptation-translation? 

a) The ubiquity of the adaptive influence in modern professional translation is undeniable, be it in advertising or in broadcasting, or in the localization of software, video games and telephony. Does this imply the existence of a translational process or approach? Adaptation practices are equally at work in literature, fiction, poetry, and theatre. Should this be seen as a denial of the Other or merely as a modern-day imperative? Is adaptation essentially ethnocentric? Where does one draw the line between adaptation and appropriation? 

b) Adaptation Studies is, in fact, well established today. The Adaptation Studies Association will hold its 12 th Annual Conference this September. There is a growing stream of conferences and, with every passing day, a new publication: Hutcheon and O’Flynn (2006), Sanders (2006), Raw (2012, 2013) and Cattrysse (2014), among others. From its Film Studies and Art History beginnings, Adaptation Studies has grown to span numerous other fields (Translation Studies included?). How can each enrich the other? Can adaptation be described as cultural, technological, linguistic? 

The transfer of a written work to film is undoubtedly a form of adaptation and, by the same token, a type of translation (Gambier 2003; Gambier 2004). Lastly, adaptation will, at times, cater to the linguistic peculiarities of a group; for example, by way of simplified literary classics targeting a youth audience or through the use of regionalisms in translated works destined for readers in a specific geographic locale. 

Addressing such a complex and wide-ranging subject in the context of the conference will, hopefully, signal the foundations of an interdisciplinary approach to adaptation and, concomitantly, lead to the proposal of new problematics and perspectives.

Call for Papers: 

Suggested topics for discussion: 

Translation and adaptation 

Leaving aside book-to- film adaptations (the most typical example), how does the shift from one semiotic system to the next compare with translation? What are the points of contact and divergence between Translation Studies and Adaptation Studies? Are equivalence, loss, and compensation still of relevance today? If not, by what have they been superseded? In developing such lines of research, how should we define translation and adaptation? How does the transition from one semiotic system to another take place? 

An Interlinguistic Perspective 

Can one properly describe as ‘translations’, adaptations destined for new audiences, such as a child-targeted simplification of a beloved literary classic or legal documents written in plain language? How do such adaptations impact the culture of their 
new audiences, assuming that every language conveys a distinctive culture? 

An Intralinguistc Perspective 

Are there discernible boundaries between what is considered translation and what is termed as adaption? Do rewriting, pastiche, and parody go hand-in- glove with translation and adaptation? What about plagiarism? What are the potential ethical issues raised in such cases? 

Papers should not exceed 20 minutes. Your proposal (in English, French or Spanish) should include the two following documents: 

– A 300-word abstract in Word format, which will be included in the conference program 
– A completed form (below). The information you provide in the form will not be used to evaluate the quality of your proposal; rather, it will be included in the grant application that CATS will submit to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). 

Please send your proposal to the organizers, Valérie Florentin and Georges L. Bastin, to the following address: act.cats2018gmail.com by September 30, 2017. 

Proposals should include the following information: 

Surname (Family name) 

Affiliation country 


Diplomas (please start with the most recent) 
4 Lines Maximum 

Positions recently held, as well as positions related to this event (please start with the most recent) 
5 Lines Maximum 

Recent publications as well as those related to this event (please start with the most recent) 
10 Lines Maximum 

Title and abstract (100 -150 words) 

Relevance of your paper to the conference (100 – 150 words)