Dr. Séverine Hubscher-Davidson is Senior Lecturer and Head of Translation at The Open University. She has lectured on both UG and PG translation courses for over 14 years at 3 different universities. Most recently she designed the online distance-learning MA in Translation at the OU which received a Teaching Excellence Award in 2018. She is the author of Translation and Emotion – A Psychological Perspective (Routledge, 2017) and has published articles on various aspects of translation psychology in international journals such as Meta and Target. Most recently, she has had an article accepted in the Taylor & Francis journal Translation Studies on the topic of translators’ imaginative resistance.

Translation, Emotion, and Performance

This presentation will address how translation performances can be emotionally and cognitively both authentic or inauthentic. While authentic translation performances can engender personal growth and ‘nourish the soul’, performing when one’s values and actions are at odds can lead to professional dissonance and psychological discomfort. After outlining some of the conditions that can influence translators’ performances from a psychological perspective, the dark side of experiencing emotion-eliciting translation events and dissonant performances will be explored. Drawing on examples from the translation and psychological literature, I will illustrate the long-term emotional and psychological impact of performing stressful and traumatizing translations. Finally, I will argue that we need to focus on teaching translators how to perform in emotionally intelligent ways if they are to become resilient performers in the future.

Dr. Gabriela Saldanha (University of Birmingham)

Gabriela Saldanha is a Lecturer in Translation Studies at the University of Birmingham. She is co-author, with Sharon O’Brien, of Research Methodologies in Translation Studies and co-editor, with Mona Baker, of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. Her main area of research is translation stylistics and the artistic nature of translation, the reception of translation and their impact on literary landscapes, and the relationship between gender identity and translation. She is currently collaborating with artist and researcher Heather Connelly to explore the impact of artistic research in Translation Studies.

Against translation as creative writing: risks and opportunities of the commodification of literature

In this presentation I make two, related, arguments. First, that translation is a hybrid art from, combining elements of both literary and performing arts; and, as such, requires a transdisciplinary approach. This claim is made against a scholarly landscape that privileges views of translation as a type of creative writing. I argue that concepts such as ‘creativity’ or ‘subjectivity’ – which play a prominent role in shaping that landscape – are not sufficient to convey the complexity of the work of a literary translator. I further suggest that subsuming translation within a ‘creative industries’ discourse does not do justice to the distinctiveness of translation as an art. Secondly, I consider the dynamics of commodification and aestheticisation (Appadurai, 1996;  Svašek 2007) of translated literature within a world literature landscape. Using reviews of translated literature, I illustrate how the social and emotional efficacy of translated books is manipulated in a way that appeals to what I call ‘literary tourism’. I conclude by reflecting on the challenges and opportunities of promoting the aestheticisation of translation as art.


Jethro Soutar is an English writer and a translator of Spanish and Portuguese. He has translated novels from Argentina, Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, and Portugal, as well as two works by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, from Equatorial Guinea. The first, By Night The Mountain Burns, published by And Other Stories, was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. He is a commissioning editor for Dedalus Africa and a cofounder of Ragpicker Press, editing its debut title, The Football Crónicas, and its latest, Refugees Worldwide.

Translating unheralded literary cultures

This workshop will present the difficulties involved in the translation and publication of authors from unheralded literary cultures. It will then look at the challenges arising from translating one language inflected with another, using the example of creole in The Ultimate Tragedy by Abdulai Sila (Guinea-Bissau) and a panoply of African voices around a campfire in The Gurugu Pledge by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel (Equatorial Guinea). The workshop will require no knowledge of the texts’ source languages (Portuguese and Spanish) and will accommodate people translating into and out of English.


Rachael McGill is a writer of theatre, radio, short stories and novels and a literary translator specialising in theatre. She translates from French, German, Spanish and Portuguese. She’s worked for theatres and companies including the National Theatre and the Royal Court in the UK, Husets Theatre in Copenhagen and the Union of Theatres of Europe in Paris. Her translation of Kerstin Specht’s play Marieluise won the Gate Theatre Translation Award, and is published by Oberon. Her translation of the novel The Desert and The Drum by Mbarek Ould Beyrouk is published by Dedalus and has been shortlisted for the 2019 Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize.

Translating theatre

Translating Theatre Workshop

An interactive workshop and discussion to explore and play with some of the challenges of translating drama. We will talk about historical and social context, slang and profanity, dialect, register, naturalistic, non-naturalistic and experimental forms, creating character voice and how to translate words that actors can act. We will have a go at some short extracts in different languages (no knowledge of any particular language required, and you can translate into English or into another language). If you’re in the mood you can do a bit of acting or directing too.