This TransUnit is an interdisciplinary team with a common research interest: the translation of religious texts in a missionary context.
Our team will focus on exploring catechisms, a particularly popular genre in the early modern period when missionaries used it as a tool for evangelising non-Christians around the world. As missionaries believed that non-Christians could only be convinced of the truth of Christianity in their mother tongue, the translation of catechisms played a key role in missionary contact-zones. Catechisms were usually among the first texts translated and published by missionaries in local languages.
While catechisms were originally aimed at replacing beliefs and worldviews in and outside of Europe with the Christian religion, they can today serve as important testimonies to less well-documented contact situations and strategies of teaching the Christian faith and shed light on processes of linguistic and cultural exchange in the context of missionary endeavours.
The special character of this type of text allows for a variety of approaches, such as from the fields of postcolonial studies and cultural translation. Our team will analyse these texts from different angles, a task in which the individual projects will support each other through interdisciplinary and cross-language comparisons. Specifically, the TransUnit deals with translations of catechisms into Arabic, Tamil, Welsh, and Zapotec.
Yannic Klamp, Research Assistant of the project ‘Colonial Translation practices’
Paula Manstetten, Research Assistant of the project ‘Salomon Negri’
Giulia Nardini, Research Assistant of the project ‘Roberto Nobili’
Elena Parina, Co-Director of the project ‘Translating into welsh’