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© Brecht Evens: De bondgenoten / Le Roi Méduse. (Oogachtend / Actes Sud, 2024).

International conference BELTRANS: Book translation in multilingual states (1945-2024)

From 28 November 2024
to 29 November 2024



Start: 28 November 2024 - 08:00
End: 29 November 2024 - 17:00





Book translation involves border crossings of many kinds: between languages, cultures, geographies, historical periods, genres, etc. In this conference we want to focus on how literature crosses language borders within states, foregrounding in particular the actors, institutions and dynamics that shape translation in multilingual states. Large-scale histories of (literary) translation are most often written in and about countries whose territorial borders equal language borders (e.g. Frank & Turk 2004; Schögler 2023; Sapiro 2008; Schoenaers 2021).

But monolingual states are rather the exception than the rule in the international system, and many officially monolingual states sustain multilingual literary cultures, whether via officially recognized regional and local languages, or non-recognized variants. How can the state of the art of translation research be enriched by singling out “those situations in which nation state and linguistic unity do not overlap” (Leperlier 2022: 130; Leperlier 2021)? Within any given state, books are indeed often produced in ‘plurilingual spaces’ and in different (variants of) languages (Leperlier 2021).

Do these books reach the citizens of the other linguistic community(ies) within that state, and if so, how? How is multilingual book production organised in a single-state context and what are its implications for nation-building and transnational relations? These questions can be addressed by drawing inspiration from recent work on multilingual spaces and national (literary) translation histories (e.g. Riikonen e.a. 2007; Kahn 2017), literary and cultural historiography (e.g. Chapman 2003; Schreiber 2016; Vanacker & Verschaffel 2022), cultural transfer and reception studies (e.g. D’hulst e.a. 2014; D’hulst & Koskinen 2021), sociology of translation (e.g. Sapiro 2008, Heilbron 2010), cultural policy and translation policy research (e.g. Meylaerts 2011 & 2018, Schreiber & D’hulst 2017, Maumevi?ien? e.a. 2019, Paquette 2019, McMartin 2019, Schögler 2023), transcultural studies (Bachmann-Medick 2019), memory studies (Erll 2011, Deane-Cox & Spiessens 2022) and big translation history (Roig-Sanz & Folica 2021).


Tristan Leperlier (French National Centre for Scientific Research)
Jonathan Paquette (University of Ottawa)

Organising committee

  • Nina Allaert (KBR)
  • Elke Brems (KULeuven)
  • Emmanuel Debruyne (UCLouvain)
  • Clara Folie (UCLouvain)
  • Ewoud Goethals (KULeuven)
  • Sven Lieber (KBR)
  • Reine Meylaerts (KULeuven)
  • Timothy Sirjacobs (KULeuven)
  • Stéphanie Vanasten (UCLouvain)
  • Ann Van Camp (KBR)
  • Sophie Vandepontseele (KBR)

Scientific committee

  • Delia Guijarro Arribas (Paris Nanterre)
  • Marnix Beyen (UAntwerpen)
  • Michal Borodo (University of Bydgoczcz)
  • Elke Brems (KU Leuven)
  • Emmanuel Debruyne (UCLouvain)
  • Clara Folie (UCLouvain)
  • Laura Fólica (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)
  • Ewoud Goethals (KU Leuven)
  • Maud Gonne (ULiège)
  • Rainier Grutman (University of Ottawa)
  • Johan Heilbron (CNRS/Paris-Sorbonne, EHESS)
  • Sven Lieber (KBR)
  • Jack McMartin (KU Leuven)
  • Reine Meylaerts (KU Leuven)
  • Francis Mus (UGent)
  • Diana Roig Sanz (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)
  • Timothy Sirjacobs (FWO/ KU Leuven)
  • Herbert Van Uffelen (Universität Wien)
  • Stéphanie Vanasten (UCLouvain)



Coming soon


Practical information

This conference is part of the BELTRANS-project regarding Intra-Belgian (literary) book translations since 1970, funded by the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO) Research Programme Brain 2.0 and by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO), and is organised in association with Royal Library of Belgium, KU Leuven and UCLouvain.


Discover the BELTRANS project

Image : © Brecht Evens: De bondgenoten / Le Roi Méduse. (Oogachtend / Actes Sud, 2024).