Call for Papers

On the Conflicting Universals in Translation:

Translation as Performance in East Asia


Dates: 30 June – 2 July, 2022

Venue: Université de Paris (UP), Paris, France


Keynote speakers:

Anne Cheng (Collège de France)

Tejaswini Niranjana (Ahmedabad University)

Yoko Tawada



The East Asian Translation Studies conference aims to provide a platform for translators and researchers working in the East Asian context to exchange ideas on issues related to translation. The first EATS conference held in June 2014 at the University of East Anglia, UK, generated vibrant discussions not only on theory and history, but also the translation practice and new trends in the field. The second conference at Meiji University, Japan, in July 2016 was a continuation of those dialogues, bringing into focus the notion of "East Asia", its role and influence on translation studies (TS). The third conference, hosted by Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy, in June 2019 explored the changing identities of East Asia observed in translation.

At the fourth conference (EATS4), to be held at Université de Paris (UP) in France, we wish to initiate meaningful discussions on how universals are handled in translation in the East Asian sphere. We welcome presentations and participation in discussion by both researchers and practitioners.

In her eulogy on translation (Éloge de la traduction,2016), Barbara Cassin argues that translation by nature is against Logos, which is "someone's universal". Yet we know only too well the assimilative translations of the past that erase all traces of strangeness and turn the others into one of our own. Today, heading in the opposite direction, some scholars suggest that translation should go back to the "source" because the other is irreducible, and the language of the other is untranslatable–so much so that in current cultural studies debates, the translator is required to become the double of the author; either that or give it up entirely.

Given the interactions with the West in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there have always been two main views on translation in the East Asian sphere: translation to build the new and the common, and translation to exalt particularity and distance. In fact, these attitudes also represent the political positions of the translating agents, therefore would change over time and shape the public discourse. In both cases, a stage is set for a performance of a foreign world, in which questions of the universal inevitably arise: Is there a common ground that allows translation to cross borders? Does translation convey universals? If so, what are they? Is translation in itself “universalizing”?

As the 4th East Asian conference has been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also set up a special stream for COVID-19 related topics.


Round table Discussion: Universal values and East Asia through the lens of translation.  (Participants to be precised later)


We invite papers on the following topics, but not limited to:

- Flows of translations between Western and Asian languages

- Asian humanities through translation

- Untranslatability East and West  

- Circulation and influence of translation in East Asia

- Translation into a non-native language

- Post-colonial approaches to translation 

- Translation and interpreting for minority communities in the East Asian context

- Censorship and self-censorship in translation

- Impact on ethics of machine translation, computer-aided translation

- Digital humanities and translation in East Asia



Special stream: East Asian Translation Studies under/after COVID-19, how Translation Studies/translation contributed or contributes to overcome pandemics or syndemics?

- Representation of COVID-19 and other syndemics/pandemics in literature /world literature

- COVID-19 in the media

- Interpreting/translating for ethnic and migrant communities under the pandemic.

We welcome especially translators and interpreters who have worked and helped people during the pandemic to share their experience.


Practical informations

Individual proposals, panel or cross-language panels on inspiring topics (either 3 or 6 speakers for each panel) are welcome. Please note this in your abstract submission.

 The conference working language is English.

We plan to publish selected papers.



Please submit your abstract with a short bio (max. 500 words) by 25 October 2021 to the following email address:

Successful applicants will be notified by January 2022



Regular participant: EUR150 (on or before 15 May 2022) / EUR170 (after 15 May 2022)

Student: EUR30

Modalities of payment will be precised in January 2022.

SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE [in alphabetical order]

Prof Sungeun Cho (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies)

Prof Pierre Kaser (AMU/ IrAsia)

Prof Sharon Tzu-Yun Lai (National Taiwan Normal University)

Dr Robert Neather (Hong Kong Baptist University)

Prof Nicoletta Pesaro (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice)

Prof Isabelle Rabut (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris)

Dr Akiko Uchiyama (The University of Queensland)

Prof Judy Wakabayashi (Kent State University)



ORGANISERS [in alphabetical order] 

Nicolas Froeliger (Université de Paris)

Gérald Peloux (CY Cergy Paris Université)

Cécile Sakai (Université de Paris)

Florence Zhang (Université de Paris)





Dr Gloria Lee

Dr Nana Sato-Rossberg (SOAS, University of London)

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