Martha Cheung Award 2021 Winner and Two Runners Up

 

The Martha Cheung Award for Best English Article in Translation Studies by an Early Career Scholar

Announcement of 2021 Award Winner and Two Runners Up

 

The SISU Baker Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2021 Martha Cheung Award is Dr. Gabriele Salciute Civiliene of the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, UK, for her article entitled ‘Between Surface and Depth: Towards embodied ontologies of text computing across languages’, published in Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 45/2 (2020).

Dr. Salciute Civiliene’s study is a highly original, interdisciplinary contribution that offers new insights into the study of translation. It provides a critical consideration of what underlies the epistemo-methodological impasses of the mainstream approach to repetition in translation studies, and considers the possibility of a new practice for cross-linguistic quantitative reading. The article demonstrates how data visualization based on the computational analysis of translated text can illuminate our understanding of cognition and perception. Translation theory is shown to present an interesting problem for the Digital Humanities, one that fundamentally complicates text computing and challenges the flat dimensions of quantification. Dr. Salciute Civiliene draws on her research into the design of cross-linguistic distant reading and the modelling of repetition strings as equivalents of dynamic translatorial response to argue for and demonstrate the possibility of thick computing as suspended between textual surfaces and depths.

 
Runners up
 

Two further submissions have been deemed by reviewers and the Award Committee to be of outstanding quality and therefore deserve mention as runners up. In alphabetical order, the runners up are Dr. Christian Olalla-Soler, Università di Bologna, Italy, and Dr. Yan Jia, Peking University, China.

Dr. Olalla-Soler’s article, entitled ‘Practices and Attitudes toward Replication in Empirical Translation and Interpreting Studies’, appeared in Target 32/1 (2020). It presents the results of three studies on practices in and attitudes toward replication in empirical translation and interpreting studies. Replication, a central concept in the scientific method, is defined as the repetition of the methods that led to a reported finding. The article provides evidence-based arguments for initiating a debate about the need for replication in empirical translation and interpreting studies and its implications for the development of the discipline.

The article by Dr. Yan Jia, entitled ‘Trans-Asian Popular Aesthetics: The reception of Hindi popular fiction in 1980s China’, appeared in the Journal of World Literature, Volume 4 (2019). It examines the Chinese reception of Gulshan Nanda (1929–1985), one of the best-selling writers of Hindi popular fiction in the 1960s and 1970s. The article argues that Nanda’s popular fiction contributed to China’s cultural reconstruction in the 1980s by fulfilling the previously repressed need of Chinese readers for entertaining novels that conveyed a desired moral order, by enabling Chinese translators of Indian literature to engage with the literary debate about the re-evaluation of popular literature, and by helping revitalize Chinese theatre in a time of crisis. The study demonstrates the complexity of transnational flows of popular literature by presenting a Trans-Asian example that relies on the melodramatic appeal of the works, their relevance to local issues, and the scholarly engagement in the host culture, rather than the author’s global stardom or the marketing strategies of multinational publishing companies.

As in previous instalments of the Award, the Committee will attempt to gain permission from publishers to provide open access copies of all three articles on the website of the Centre. A further circular with relevant links will be sent out in due course.

For further information on the Martha Cheung Award, visit Martha Cheung Award
 
March 2021
On behalf of the SISU Centre and the Award Committee
Robert Neather, Chair of Award Committee
 
 

Dr Gabriele Salciute Civiliene (King’s College London, UK)

Award Certificate

Salciute Civiliene, Gabriele (2020) ‘Between surface and depth: towards embodied ontologies of text computing across languages, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 45(2): 117-140.

Abstract: Translation theory and cases present to the Digital Humanities an interesting problem that fundamentally complicates text computing and challenges the flat dimensions of quantification. While distant reading, for example, in one language is relatively straightforward, computation across languages poses epistemo-semiotic challenges. What it is here to overcome, among other things, is technological conformism rooted in predominantly monolingual digital textual scholarship; disembodied textual ontologies that arise from some reductive forms of quantitative reading as well as the hierarchical discretization of a text; and, finally, thin computing that gratifies the notions of text as inscription rather than as experience, which echoes the problem raised by Geertz’s anthropological concept of ‘thick description’. By drawing on my research into the design of cross-linguistic distant reading and the modelling of repetition strings as equivalents of dynamic translatorial response, I will discuss a possibility of thick computing as suspended between textual surfaces and depths.

Available open access until mid-April 2022 at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03080188.2020.1764800

 

Dr. Christian Olalla-Soler (Università di Bologna, Italy)

Award Certificate

Olalla-Soler, Christian (2020) ‘Practices and Attitudes toward Replication in Empirical Translation and Interpreting Studies’, Target 32(1): 3-36.

Abstract: This article presents the results of three studies on practices in and attitudes toward replication in empirical translation and interpreting studies. The first study reports on a survey in which 52 researchers in translation and interpreting with experience in empirical research answered questions about their practices in and attitudes toward replication. The survey data were complemented by a bibliometric study of publications indexed in the Bibliography of Interpreting and Translation (BITRA) (Franco Aixelá 2001–2019) that explicitly stated in the title or abstract that they were derived from a replication. In a second bibliometric study, a conceptual replication of Yeung’s (2017) study on the acceptance of replications in neuroscience journals was conducted by analyzing 131 translation and interpreting journals. The article aims to provide evidence-based arguments for initiating a debate about the need for replication in empirical translation and interpreting studies and its implications for the development of the discipline.

Available open access until the end of 2021 at: https://www.jbe-platform.com/content/journals/10.1075/target.18159.ola

 

Dr Yan Jia (Peking University, China)

Award Certificate

Jia, Yan (2019) ‘Trans-Asian Popular Aesthetics: The reception of Hindi popular fiction in 1980s China’, Journal of World Literature 4(4): 530–551.

Abstract: From 1980 to 1991, seven titles of Gulshan Nanda’s Hindi popular fiction were translated into Chinese without Western involvement, and Kaṭī pataṅg alone spawned nearly twenty adaptations in both theatrical and picture-story book forms. This essay argues that Nanda’s popular fiction contributed to China’s cultural reconstruction in the 1980s by fulfilling the previously repressed need of Chinese readers for entertaining novels that conveyed a desired moral order, by enabling Chinese translators of Indian literature to engage with the literary debate about the re-evaluation of popular literature, and by helping revitalize Chinese theatre in a time of crisis. This paper shows the complexity of transnational flows of popular literature by presenting a Trans-Asian example that relies on the melodramatic appeal of the works, their relevance to local issues, and the scholarly engagement in the host culture, rather than the author’s global stardom or the marketing strategies of multinational publishing companies.

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