[Event] Researching Volunteer Translation during an Unfolding Political Conflict, Prof. Mona Baker, 21 February 2019, Qatar

Researching Volunteer Translation during an Unfolding Political Conflict

Speaker: Prof. Mona Baker, University of Manchester & Baker Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, Jiao Tong University, Shanghai

Date and time: Thursday, February 21, 2019 4:00 PM-7:00 PM

Venue: HBKU Student Centre, Ball Room 2, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar



This lecture will draw on a study of the textual and non-textual behavior of volunteer subtitlers and filmmakers during a particularly tense and conflictual period in 2012-2014 in Egypt. The period in question was characterized by extremely volatile and dangerous political developments that could not have been predicted at the start of the research project. The dangerous context and the challenges posed by a fast-paced, fluid, non-hierarchical pattern of collaboration between relatively distinct groups (filmmakers and volunteer subtitlers) who do not interact regularly despite producing prolific output collaboratively both impacted the research in distinct ways and called for an unusual degree of flexibility in dealing with events as they unfolded. The discussion will explore the difficulty of offering traditional research ‘findings’ in contexts where intense human relations and experiences are unfolding and taking unpredictable directions during the research period, rendering any notion of optimal researcher distance from the object of study both unworkable and undesirable and placing issues of trust and ethics at the centre of the research agenda. These difficulties are further exasperated by the ethos of contemporary movements of collective action, where there is often no interest in maintaining a record of individual contributions to any output or even a basic hierarchical structure that prevents any member from editing a (subtitled) video after it has been published.


About the speaker:

Mona Baker is Professor Emeritus of Translation Studies at the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester, UK, Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded project Genealogies of Knowledge: The Evolution and Contestation of Concepts across Time and Space, and co-editor, with Luis Pérez-González and Bolette Blaagaard of the Routledge series Critical Perspectives on Citizen Media. She is author of In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation(Routledge, 1992; second edition 2011) and Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account(Routledge, 2006), Editor of Translating Dissent: Voices from and with the Egyptian Revolution (Routledge, 2016), Citizen Media and Public Spaces: Diverse Expressions of Citizenship and Dissent (co-edited with Bolette Blaagaard), the Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (1998, 2001; second edition, co-edited with Gabriela Saldanha, 2009); Critical Concepts: Translation Studies (4 volumes, Routledge, 2009); and Critical Readings in Translation Studies (Routledge, 2010). Her articles have appeared in a wide range of international journals, including Social Movement Studies, Critical Studies on Terrorism, The Translator and Target. She is founding Editor of The Translator (St. Jerome Publishing, 1995-2013), former Editorial Director of St. Jerome Publishing (1995-2013), and founding Vice-President of IATIS, the International Association for Translation & Intercultural Studies (2004-2015). She posts on translation, citizen media and Palestine on her personal website, http://www.monabaker.org, and tweets at @MonaBaker11.