The most important event format will be the annual conferences, which will be devoted primarily to the presentation and discussion of the research activities. These conferences will serve to reinforce the overall cluster concept once a year as a basis for introducing research impulses across section boundaries and opening up perspectives for cooperation. In addition to the conferences, there will also be thematic workshops, to be organized by the TransUnits and individual projects as well as gatherings at which members of the SPP present matters of relevance for the cluster.
Led by the SPP project directors Antje Flüchter, Andreas Gipper, Susanne Greilich, and Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink as a team, our second annual conference took place in hybrid form with twenty participants in the Augusteerhalle and altogether more than sixty online participants via Webex, which also enabled external researchers to take part. The point of departure was the pivotal question as to why certain texts, images, and sign complexes are translated, while others (must) remain untranslated. On the one hand, this approach directed the focus to translation politics and policies and the concept under lying them as well as the influencing sociocultural, economic, and intercultural factors, and on the other hand to translations in the context of political discourse and negotiation processes and thus to the connection between politics and translation. The chief concern here was with the interplay between actor-centred and structural dimensions of the politics of translation, in which context the organizers pointed out cultural filters, calculation, and diplomacy as particularly important factors from the heuristic point of view. In his keynote lecture “The Individuality of Language –Translation and Internationality”, Naoki Sakai (Cornell University) broadened the participants’ perspective by citing the example of Japan to expose the conception of homogeneous language as a fiction. We plan to have Mr Sakai continue his lecture at the third annual conference. The results of this year’s conference will be published in 2022 in the series “Übersetzungskulturen der Frühen Neuzeit / Early Modern Translation Cultures” (EMTC). The hybrid conference format was well received by the participants because it closely linked the digital and real worlds. All of the lectures given in Wolfenbüttel prompted online responses, and the co-moderation ensured the continual alternation between the two participant groups during the question and comment phases. ‘Translation’ thus came about not only between the various disciplines but, this time, also between different modes of participation, across geographical distances, and regardless of pandemic-related restrictions. Lively discussion took place virtually unimpeded. With a view to organizing our joint work in the second funding phase, the members of the SPP also explored new formats during the subsequent general assembly.
11 – 13 September 2019, HAB Wolfenbüttel
Under the direction of the programme committee – Prof Dr Peter Burschel, Prof Dr Regina Toepfer and Prof Dr Jörg Wesche – the members of SPP 2130 ‘Early Modern Translation Cultures’ introduced not only their projects’ conceptual and methodological approaches, but also initial results of their work.
The animated discussions once again mirrored the fact that scholarship can do justice to early modern translation cultures in all their diversity only by way of a broad spectrum of disciplines as offered by the SPP 2130. Despite – or perhaps precisely because of – this interdisciplinarity and the intensive collaboration carried out within its framework, it became ever more evident that translation must be understood as action, a means of conveying meaning, and a complex process. Peter Burke also adopted this perspective in his evening lecture. His point of departure was the proposition that all translations – from those striving for linguistic identity to those that compete with their source texts and seek to outdo them – are always cultural transmissions. Between the opposites ‘translation’ and ‘dislocation’, he introduced the concept ‘transposition’ as a way of directing the focus to the various creative aspects of translation, from domestication to explication to assimilation.
The SPP members compiled numerous ideas for an exhibition in which to present the insights hitherto obtained to the public at the close of the project’s third year. The research assistants of the individual projects gathered in the fixed working groups – TransUnits – that serve to reinforce the networking and interdisciplinary exchange within the SPP. Here as well, ideas for TransUnit projects were assembled. Creative processes were thus not only the subject of scholarly examination but also the means by which the conference participants themselves proceeded.
The results of the first annual conference will be made available in a collective volume scheduled for publication in 2020.
Under the direction of the programme committee – Prof Dr Peter Burschel, Prof Dr Regina Toepfer and Prof Dr Jörg Wesche – the members of the SPP 2130, ‘Early Modern Translation Cultures’ presented their projects in three sections: “Sign systems and media transformations”, “Anthropology and knowledge” and “Cultural affiliation and society”. Within this framework, it soon became obvious that the interdisciplinary exchange between the representatives of the participating disciplines – Celtic studies, history, early and modern German language and literature, Romance languages and literature, the history of religion, art history and the history of science – was extremely productive and stimulating. We would therefore like to expand this type of close collaboration at the first annual conference.
On the evening of 11 January, the SPP opened with a public evening lecture in the Augusteerhalle. Following warm words of welcome by the vice-president of the TU Braunschweig and the director of the HAB, Doris Bachmann-Medick spoke about various models of cultural translation. Her point of departure was the assertion that the binarity of original and translation had to be overcome in favour of more complex models. At the same time, she emphasized the significance of breaks, misunderstandings or detours by way of third parties.
The productiveness of these models already became apparent in the following discussions, in which not only the finely nuanced differences between the different projects’ conceptions of translation emerged, but also themes shared by several projects. In addition to translation in the religious-missionary context, this also applies, for example, to translator figures and networks and the closely related issue of the distribution of power in translation processes. However much the different projects have in common, the concern of the SPP 2130 is not to turn a blind eye to differences, contradictions and problems, but, quite to the contrary, to make them productive for interdisciplinary exchange and thematic, terminological and methodological reflection.