SISU Translation Research Summer School

24 June – 29 June 2024

Key dates Registration Intranet Accommodation Venue


The SISU Translation Research Summer School 2024 will take place at Shanghai International Studies University as an in person event. 

Structure and Organization

The School will consist of five modules:

Each module encompasses three contact hours and six hours of guided reading.

Students participating in the School spend their mornings in taught sessions, while afternoons are spent in small group tutorials and independent study. Each student will have the opportunity to participate in three tutorials during the School.

On the final day, students will present their work to fellow students and staff and receive oral feedback.


MODULE 1 | Theoretical Approaches
Session 1A | Mona Baker
Actor Network Theory: Agency and Collaboration

Actor Network Theory (ANT) was developed in the early 1980s by Bruno Latour in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) but has since become influential in the social sciences and humanities at large. It was introduced to scholars of translation and interpreting by Buzelin (2005) as a complement to Bourdieusean analysis. Whereas Bourdieu focuses on the practices and structures that make up the social world, ANT acknowledges the agency of both human and non-human actors and the centrality of their interaction in explaining social practices. Agency, however, is not understood in the common sense of having the conscious will to act but rather as “a set of capacities that are structured like a language and which can therefore be translated into various material settings” (Shiga 2007:44). Translation here refers to how different actors involved in various scientific processes translate their own objectives into each other’s language in order to maximise effective participation and ensure the project is successfully completed. It is understood broadly to cover all forms of mediation that take place between and among human and non-human actors and is thus “a key metaphor for thinking about relations” (Felski 2016:751) in a way that makes it possible to account for the various processes of interpretation by which a given idea gradually becomes a scientific fact. This session will provide an introduction to Actor Network Theory and explore its current and potential applications in the field of translation studies.


Buzelin, Hélène (2005) ‘Unexpected Allies: How Latour’s network theory could complement Bourdieusian analyses in translation studies’, The Translator 11(2): 193-218.

Felski, Rita (2016) ‘Comparison and Translation: A perspective from Actor-Network Theory’, Comparative Literature Studies 53(4): 747-765.

Serrano, María Sierra Córdoba (2020) ‘Actor-Network Theory (ANT)’, in Mona Baker and Gabriela Saldanha (eds) The Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, Third edition, Abingdon, Oxon & New York: Routledge, 5-10.

Shiga, John (2007) ‘Translations: Artifacts from an Actor-Network perspective’, Artifact 1(1): 40-55.

Session 1B | Sue-Ann Harding
Practice Theory

What is practice theory? What might we see, learn and understand about translation if we changed our perspectives and focused not on translations (products), or translators (agents), or even the systems and networks that enmesh translation products and processes into socially situated contexts but looked instead at the practice itself, the doing? Yet, what is practice? How to theorise it? And why? This session will introduce practice theory as a conceptual and practical tool for investigating translation (including interpreting and AVT) as practice, with ‘practice’ as the unit of analysis. Drawing largely on recent work by Maeve Olohan, who in turn draws on the work of practice thinkers such as Schatzki (2001) and Reckwitz (2002), we will cover key concepts, including materials, competences and meanings (or the elements of practice); and how a practice theory model allows us to investigate dynamic connections and trajectories between elements and between practices. Exploring the TRSS2024 featured theme, we will consider especially how practice thinking enables us to investigate practice as a diachronous (time taking) activity as well as how practices endure and change over time, including past, current and imminent practices. While Olohan’s research focuses on professional translation workplaces, we will also discuss studies that focus on alternative settings, such as informal economies in the Global South, with invitations for students to critically consider how a practice-thinking approach might inform their own positions as researchers and the situated topics of their research projects.


Littau, Karin (2016) ‘Translation and the Materialities of Communication’, Translation Studies 9(1): 82–96.

Olohan, Maeve (2017) ‘Knowing in Translation Practice: A Practice-Theoretical Perspective’, Translation Spaces 6(1): 159–80.

Olohan, Maeve. 2018. “A Practice-Theory Analysis of Scientific Editing by Translators.” Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, Vol. 38: 298–328.

Reckwitz, Andreas (2002) ‘Toward a Theory of Social Practices: A Development in Culturalist Theorizing’, European Journal of Social Theory 5(2): 243–63.

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MODULE 2 | Research Methods
Session 2A | Maialen Marin-Lacarta
Ethnographic Methods and Fieldwork in Translation & Interpreting

One of the distinctive features of ethnographic approaches is their ability to allow researchers to observe phenomena from a synchronous temporality. As a result, translation and interpreting researchers have shown an increased interest in conducting ethnographic fieldwork to study agents, their interactions with other human and non-human actors, and their practices and processes of translation in real-time. This session will offer a historical overview of ethnography and will connect with the TRSS2024 featured theme by addressing Fabian’s (1983) seminal critique of the treatment of time in anthropological research. We will cover various ethnographic methods used by translation and interpreting scholars, including participant observation, fieldnote writing, diaries, interviews and focus groups. Examples of various studies will be used to illustrate these methods, and misconceptions about ethnography will also be addressed. Since ethical concerns are closely linked to the application of ethnographic methods because of the impact that research may have on participants, special attention will be paid to the researcher’s positionality, his or her relationship with research subjects, and various kinds of ethical concerns that arise when conducting immersive ethnographic fieldwork and when disseminating the results. Additionally, we will discuss digital ethnographies and ethnographies that include both online and offline fieldwork, as internet-mediated research has generated new forms of data collection that have recently gained popularity. Future avenues of ethnographic research in translation studies, including the potential of ethnographic action research, will also be touched upon.


Buzelin, Hélène (2022) ‘Ethnography in Translation Studies: An object and a research methodology’, Slovo Ru: Baltic Accent 13(1): 32–47.

Marin-Lacarta, Maialen and Chuan Yu (2023) ‘Ethnographic Research in Translation and Interpreting Studies.” The Translator 29(2): 147-156.

Session 2B | Kyung Hye Kim
Corpus Analysis

A corpus-based approach to the study of translation and interpreting has proved valuable in several areas, including contrastive and diachronic analysis, the analysis of translation and language contact and change (Bisiada 2013; Malamatidou 2016), institutional translators’ mediation of political discourse (Pan, Fu and Li 2023), and conceptual analysis (Karimullah 2020). Establishing thorough and appropriate text selection criteria is essential for any type of corpus research as these criteria provide the basis on which linguistic patterns identified in the analysis may be reliably interpreted. This session will discuss what needs to be considered in deciding on criteria for building corpora to support a diachronic study of translation/interpreting. Drawing on a number of software tools developed by the Genealogies of Knowledge and Oslo Medical Corpus projects, this session will also demonstrate how a corpus-based diachronic analysis can go beyond traditional linguistic analysis to investigate the evolution of concepts across time and space.


Malamatidou, Sofia (2016) ‘Understanding Translation as a Site of Language Contact: The Potential of the Code-Copying Framework as a Descriptive Mechanism in Translation Studies’, Target, 28(3): 399-423.

Feng Pan, Yi Fu and Tao Li (2023) ‘Institutional Translators’ Mediation of CPC Work Reports Diachronically through Personal Pronouns: A corpus-based discourse analysis approach’, Perspectives, DOI: 10.1080/0907676X.2023.2194548.

Karimullah, Kamaran I. (2020) ‘Editions, Translations, Transformations: Refashioning the Arabic Aristotle in Egypt and metropolitan Europe, 1940–1980’, Palgrave Communications 6(3). DOI:  

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MODULE 3 | Research Design and Dynamics 
Session 3A | Maialen Marin-Lacarta
Researching Collaborative Translation

The stereotypical image of the lone translator, especially within literary translation, has been debunked by researchers investigating the collaborative nature of translation (Cordingley and Frigau Manning 2017). After introducing various historical instances of collaborative translation, this session will examine the diverse definitions encompassed by this umbrella term. We will explore the reasons for the delayed focus on the collaborative nature of translation by situating this subdiscipline within the historical development of Translation Studies as a field. In addition, we will delve into the various subcategories and variations associated with this meta-concept (Zwischenberger 2022), such as crowdsourcing, volunteer translation, community translation and user-generated translation, among others. Drawing on real examples from research that examines collaborative translation in different areas, the session will cover questions of research design, data collection and analysis. Additionally, we will discuss how a collaborative understanding of translation can help us investigate the interaction between humans and non-humans in the translation process, especially in an era where advancements like neural machine-translation and Artificial Intelligence are transforming the profession. Finally, the session will also touch upon the social and ethical consequences of collaborative translation, particularly in the context of studies on volunteer translation, profit-driven crowdsourcing, and machine-centred collaboration.


Cordingley, Anthony and Céline Frigau Manning (2017) ‘What is Collaborative Translation?”, In Anthony Cordingley and Céline Frigau Manning (eds) Collaborative Translation: From the Renaissance to the Digital Age, London: Bloomsbury, pp. 1–30.

Zwischenberger, Cornelia (2022) ‘Online Collaborative Translation: Its Ethical, Social, and Conceptual Conditions and Consequences’, Perspectives 30(1): 1–18.

Session 3B | Kyung Hye Kim
Researching Retranslation

Retranslation is a ubiquitous phenomenon. Sacred texts like the Bible and Buddhist scriptures and literary texts by renowned authors such as William Shakespeare and Leo Tolstoy have been subject to constant retranslation due to their canonical status and enduring appeal. However, non-literary texts have also been retranslated to serve various purposes, for example, to rewrite and thus promote alternative narratives (Kim 2018), just as religious texts are continually retranslated to promote new ideologies and foreground the views of different mediators in different social contexts (Choi and Kim 2021). This session will explore the various reasons for retranslation discussed in the literature, before addressing the issue of how to design a rigorous case study in this area. This will include discussion of various ways of articulating appropriate research questions and studying retranslation – for example, by analysing retranslations of the same work by different translators into the same language; by conducting a comparative analysis of multiple translations published in different cultures and languages; and by examining retranslated audiovisual materials, which might involve indirect translation practices.


Gürçağlar, Şehnaz. Tahir (2020) ‘Retranslation’. In Mona Baker and Gabriela Saldanha (eds) Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, 3rd. ed., London: Routledge, pp. 484–489.

Alvstad, Cecilia and Alexandra Assis Rosa (2015) ‘Voice in Retranslation: An overview and some trends’ Target 27(1): 3–24.

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MODULE 4 | Featured Theme: Translation and Temporality
Session 4A | Mona Baker
Translation and Conceptions of the Future

Time is a concrete phenomenon that we can objectively measure in units such as seconds, minutes and hours, which in turn are measured in relation to other concrete phenomena such as sunrise and sunset. Nevertheless, even at this concrete level our experience of time is mediated by instruments such as calendars, diaries and clocks, and it is largely such mediating instruments that allow us to acquire a shared sense of time. Concrete or otherwise, time and the passage of time are ultimately experienced and interpreted subjectively, depending on how we orient ourselves towards the three temporal domains that define our existence: the past, the present and the future. How we do so has implications for the choice of political as well as translational strategies, both at the level of individual experience, and more importantly, in terms of the collective experience of generations.  This session will focus on the different ways in which the future is currently envisioned and anticipated by groups of activists and translators located in very different parts of the world, focusing on the implications of their location and lived experience for the choice of two translational strategies that have recently received some attention from translation scholars: prefiguration and aspirational translation.


Baker, Mona (2016) ‘The Prefigurative Politics of Translation in Place-based Movements of Protest: Subtitling in the Egyptian revolution’, The Translator 22(1): 1-21.

Baker, Mona (2020) ‘Translation and Solidarity in the Century with No Future’, in John Ødemark and Eivind Engebretsen (eds) Challenging Medical Knowledge Translation, Special issue of Humanities and Social Sciences Communications. DOI

Gaber, Sherief (2016) ‘What Word Is This Place? Translating urban social justice and governance’, in Mona Baker (ed.) Translating Dissent: Voices from and with the Egyptian Revolution, London & New York: Routledge, 97-106. 

Session 4B | Sue-Ann Harding
Translation and Memory

What is remembered and what is forgotten? Who is remembered and who is forgotten? How are they remembered, forgotten, remembered and forgotten again, and why does it matter? As a companion session to Session 4A, ‘Translation and Conceptions of the Future’, this session aims to compel us to think about how translation reconfigures the past for the present in the making of the future. The session will introduce key issues and debates in translation studies around history and focus on theoretical intersections between memory studies and translation studies, including collective memory, commemoration, sites and silence. Drawing especially from the diverse contributions in the recently published Routledge Handbook of Translation and Memory (Deane-Cox and Spiessens 2022) we will discuss ways in which translation and memory are interwoven in, for example, textual networks, lifewriting, museums, place and indigenous perspectives. Students are invited to critically consider their own research projects in light of this temporality. What should we bring with us from the past as we move into the future? What might we – in this present moment – choose so as to (re)imagine and forge a future in which we can and want to live?


Deane-Cox, Sharon (2020) ‘Memory’, in Mona Baker and Gabriela Saldanha (eds) Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, 3rd ed., London and New York: Routledge, pp. 320-324.

Deane-Cox, Sharon and Anneleen Spiessens (eds) (2022) The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Memory, London and New York: Routledge. Selected chapters tbc.

Vinitzky-Seroussi, Vered and Chana Teeger (2010) ‘Unpacking the Unspoken: Silence in Collective Memory and Forgetting’, Social Forces 88(3): 1103–22.

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MODULE 5 | Academic Career Development
Session 5A | Sue-Ann Harding
Publishing in International Journals

Writing and publishing peer-reviewed academic papers in international journals is an essential part of academic life, career development and disseminating and responding to research. Yet for many, including emerging scholars and those navigating different languages, rhetorical conventions, and institutional expectations, the processes of publishing and the work of editors and peer-reviewers can remain obscure. This session aims to dispel some of that mystery. It covers the publishing process from writing the paper, to identifying and pitching it to appropriate journals, what happens after submission, through to working with editors and responding to peer-review. Topics include, finding suitable journals (in and beyond translation studies), what makes a good paper, ways to improve your writing, co-authorship, issues around publishing in English, book reviews, and alternatives to the traditional models of academic publishing. The session draws on the presenter’s experience as an editor, peer-reviewer and published author and aims to inform, encourage and open up a space for questions and discussion.

Session 5B | Maialen Marin-Lacarta
Applying for External Funding for Research Projects

After the completion of doctoral studies, academics are required to apply for competitive research grants throughout their career, from individual projects to collaborative grants as their career progresses. Obtaining external funding for research projects is often a job prerequisite, and junior academics may lose their jobs if they fail. Based on the presenter’s experience in Hong Kong and Europe, this session will discuss best practices for developing successful proposals in the field of Translation and Interpreting. Special attention will be paid to various key elements that are becoming indispensable: interdisciplinarity, collaboration, novelty, feasibility and impact. The session will address issues such as finding suitable grants and funding agencies, choosing when to apply, identifying a project topic, preparing an application, and writing and structuring proposals. Through the analysis of project abstracts, participants will learn to identify strengths and weaknesses of project proposals. The session will draw on real examples of grants awarded by funding bodies in Hong Kong (University Grants Committee), Spain (Ministry of Science and Innovation) and Europe (European Research Council, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions), and that investigate a variety of themes such as translation in international NGOs, national politics and the reception of Russian literature in English, and digital translations and the production of knowledge. 

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