On the History of Internalization and Higher Education Language Policy: Is Translation Studies an Exception?
University of Ottawa, Canada
Abstract: One of the aims of Translation & Minority 2 is “to contribute to the internationalization of […] Translation Studies by presenting scholarly work […] on theories and practices originating in ‘minor’ contexts (which translate more) and in lesser-translated [sic] languages”. On the other hand, the working languages of the conference are the two official languages of the host university: French and English, and no mention is made of interpreting services (either between French and English or from these to other languages) being made available. Two general reactions to this state of affairs within the TS community can be reasonably envisaged: (1) the internationalization of TS need not involve a multilingualism ‘policy’, since theories and practices originating in minor contexts and less-translated languages can, and indeed should, be translated into so-called “target-language intensive languages” (Cronin 2003: 145) (such as English and French), ideally resulting in “a more democratic view on the role translators and Translation Studies scholars from all cultures play in defining the field” (Translation & Minority 2); and (2) Since TS scholars are acutely aware of the power differentials involved in translation practice and, what is more, of the “epistemicidal” tendencies of English academic discourse (Bennett 2007), multilingualism (and its assumed corollary, epistemological diversity) should be a necessary step for a true internationalization of the discipline. In this paper, I question the ‘disciplinary exceptionalism’ of TS and propose to shift attention from the discipline to the institution where it is located: the university. In a recent publication, José Lambert notes that universities, together with religions, “have been among the privileged historical frameworks for internationalization throughout history” (2014: 121). Yet, the management of worldwide academic communication has been remarkably uninformed by research. I point out in this regard that the internationalization debate in TS could profitably draw on the history of the internationalization of universities and, in turn, that greater interdisciplinary cooperation including TS could yield valuable results for making informed decisions in matters of higher education language policy.
Keywords: internationalization, multilingualism, academic communication, universities, higher education language policy
Bio: Jorge Jiménez-Bellver is a third year PhD student in Translation Studies at the University of Ottawa. He earned his BA in English and an MA in Translation and Interpreting Studies from the University of Alicante, Spain, and an MA in Comparative Literature (Translation Studies track) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA. In 2011 he completed a five-month traineeship at the Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, and from 2011 to 2014 he taught translation courses at the University of Texas at Brownsville, USA.