‘Cultural Representations of Covid-19 in non-Anglophone Settings’ – 21-22 June 2021

The Languages of Covid-19: Implications for Global Health Care, 21-22 June 2021

This British Academy-funded project, organised by Dr Steven Wilson and Dr Piotr Blumczynski (QUB), examines the role that modern languages and translation studies can play in revealing new ways of thinking about and communicating Covid-19. Focusing on the language used in multilingual healthcare settings, international public health campaigns and by patients across the globe, the project analyses what new facets or understandings of the disease might be revealed by a linguistic and cultural encounter with non-Anglophone languages and societies. This cultural panel is convened by Dr Marta Arnaldi. Contributions from poetry, music, theatre, the visual arts and digital production. 

‘Translating Distress’ – 17 June 2021

Thursday, May 27th

‘Translating Distress’


Jean-Marc Dewaele, Birkbeck
Sally Rachel Cook, Birkbeck
Stephen Romer, Oxford
Ross White, Liverpool

How can translation help us communicate distress and wellbeing? What impact does the use of a foreign language have on the therapeutic journey of refugee survivors? In this talk, clinical psychologist Ross White and applied linguist Jean-Marc Dewaele dialogue to explore the ethical and epistemic complexities of multilingual and multicultural mental health research. They consider ways in which translation, broadly construed, can provide the sufferer with tools to reinvent and perform a new self. The event includes a poetry reading by Stephen Romer, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. 

‘Honouring the Languages of Illness: Translation and Emotions in the Face of Disease’ (Symposium) – 21 May 2021

Translation and Emotion online symposium, The Open University, 21 May 2021

In this lecture, Marta Arnaldi connects three seemingly unrelated experiences: translation, emotions and illness. She argues that patient-doctor interactions and processes of literary translation are relational practices that share a spectrum of affective responses. Courage, uncertainty, impatience, wonder, desire, guilt, compassion, vulnerability and despair are but some of the different emotions involved in these encounters.

‘The Disease of Translation’ – 29 April 2021

Thursday, April 29th

‘The Disease of Translation’


Karen Leeder, Oxford
Matthew Reynolds, Oxford

Covid-19, literature of quarantine and the aesthetics of old age and illness. How have modern writers and translators brought the language of medicine into the texture of fiction? Has the opposite ever happened?  

‘Translating Symbolism into Precision Medicine’ – 31 March 2021

Wednesday, March 31st

‘Translating Symbolism into Precision Medicine’


Vernon David, musician
Banafshé Larijani, Bath

World-leading scientist-poet Banafshé Larijani explores the continuum between science and art, and the ways in which translation enables this constant flux. Music and cellular signalling pathways will be correlated. This is an academic presentation, a poetry reading and a live performance.

‘Translating Disability’ – 15 March 2021

Monday, March 15th

‘Translating Disability’


Emma Bond, St Andrews
Claudia Durastanti, novelist and translator
Elizabeth Harris, translator

Great translation, George Steiner said, ‘moves by touch’; translators, he continues, ‘can even smell words’. In this talk, we will reflect upon the close yet mysterious relation between translation and disability. Should sign languages used by the deaf communities across the world be considered as foreign tongues? And, if this is the case, what meanings does the word ‘foreign’ bear for disability studies and for society at large? 

‘Crisis of Translation, Translation of a Crisis: The Case of COVID-19’- 28 October 2020

National Capital Area Translators Association (NCATA), Washington DC, 28 October 2020

crisis = late Middle English, the turning point of a disease

Google English Dictionary 

The coronavirus pandemic has posed a series of translation problems, from the necessity to translate information for multilingual populations to the implication of migration on the spread of the disease. It has also become an ongoing economic, political, and racial crisis of global concern. In this talk, Marta Arnaldi discusses the ways in which translation provides us with a language to recognise, communicate, and overcome crisis at a time when the understanding of the multi-cultural dimension of diseases is felt as being of utmost priority. Translation, she argues, captures the decisive moment in which we could either get worse or heal.  

‘Cinematic Translations: Visualising the Invisible Path of Contagion’ – 21 August 2020

With Marta Arnaldi and Kirsten Ostherr

Kirsten Ostherr is the Gladys Louise Fox Professor of English at Rice University in Houston, Texas. She is a media scholar, health researcher and technology analyst as well as the founder and director of the Medical Humanities Program and the Medical Futures Lab at Rice. Prof. Ostherr is the author of numerous publications including two outstanding books: Medical Visions: Producing the Patient through Film, Television and Imaging Technologies (OUP, 2013) and Cinematic Prophylaxis: Globalization and Contagion in the Discourse of World Health (Duke, 2005).