Plenary papers' abstracts and speakers biodata Plenary papers' abstracts and speakers biodata

Istvan Kecskes, State University of New York, Albany, USA

Intercultural impoliteness in the socio-cognitive paradigm

There has been a lot of research on impoliteness focusing on one particular language or cross-cultural differences (e.g. Bousfield 2008; Bousfield and Locher 2008; Kienpointner 2008; Culpeper 2009). However, much less attention has been paid to intercultural communication in which all or some speakers communicate not in their native tongue. The goal of this presentation is to analyze intercultural interactions to find out how some of the major tenets of impoliteness theories work in those situations.

Almost all researchers seem to agree that no act is inherently impolite, but such a condition depends on the context or speech situation. The presentation will examine this context-dependency in intercultural communication where interlocutors cannot always rely on much of existing common ground and conventionalized context but need to co-construct most of it in the communicative process. I will argue that the lack of shared background may restrict the interpretation process to the propositional content of an utterance, which may result in an increased context-creating power of that utterance. Current research (e.g. House 2002; Kecskes 2007) shows that in intercultural communication the most salient interpretation for non-native speakers is usually the propositional meaning of an utterance. So interpretation generally depends on what the utterance says rather than on what it actually communicates. As a consequence, focusing on propositional meaning interlocutors are sometimes unaware of impoliteness because it is conveyed implicitly or through paralinguistic means.

Istvan Kecskes is Professor of Linguistics and Education at the State University of New York, Albany, USA where he teaches graduate courses in pragmatics, second language acquisition and bilingualism. His latest publications include five books Foreign Language and Mother Tongue. 2000. Erlbaum (with T. Papp); Situation-Bound Utterances in L1 and L2. 2002. Mouton; Cognitive Aspects of Bilingualism. 2007. Springer; Explorations in Pragmatics. 2007. Mouton (with L. Horn); Intention, Common Ground and the Egocentric Speaker-Hearer. 2009. Mouton (with J. Mey). His next book "Intercultural Pragmatics" will be published by Oxford University Press in 2013.

Professor Kecskes is the founding editor of "Intercultural Pragmatics", the Mouton Series in Pragmatics  and the bilingual journal "Chinese as a Second Language Research". Together with Pilar Garces Blitvich he founded the "Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict" to be published by John Benjamins from 2013.

Mona Baker, Centre for Translation & Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester, UK

Translation, Representation, and Narrative Performance

Translation is one of the core practices through which any cultural group constructs representations of another and contests representations of the self. Part of its power stems from the fact that as a genre, it tends to be understood as ‘merely' reporting on something that is already available in another social space, that something being an independent source text that pre-exists the translation. Using concrete examples of subtitled political commercials and video clips created by both political lobbies and activists, this presentation will attempt to demonstrate that far from being a documentary practice that follows and is subsidiary to an independent source text, translation is imbricated in an ongoing process of (re)constructing the world through narrative performance.

Mona Baker is Professor of Translation Studies at the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester, UK. She is author of In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation (Routledge, 1992; second edition 2011) and Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account (Routledge, 2006), Editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (1998, 2001; second edition, co-edited with Gabriela Saldanha, 2009);Critical Concepts: Translation Studies (Routledge, 2009); and Critical Readings in Translation Studies(Routledge, 2010). She is also founding Editor of The Translator (St. Jerome Publishing, 1995- ), Editorial Director of St. Jerome Publishing, and founding Vice-President of IATIS (International Association for Translation & Intercultural Studies –


Lynda Yates, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Intercultural communication and the transnational: Managing impressions at work

Whether in pursuit of a safer place to live, economic advancement or simply from a desire to travel, increasing numbers of professionals find themselves working in cultures and languages in which they did not train. As a country of migration, Australia is home to many such transnationals. Despite high levels of proficiency in English, however, many find that communication at work can be something of a challenge, and that different perspectives on professional roles and identities as well as differences in pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic assumptions can become almost invisible barriers to success and progression. In this paper I will draw on recent research into the demands of three different professions: childcare, teaching and medicine to consider some of the issues faced by transnationals seeking to master not only the language but also the professional and community cultures underlying expectations about how they should talk at work. I reflect on the contribution that such studies can offer new arrivals as they seek to understand both how and why people talk the way they do at work. 

Lynda Yates has had wide experience in adult TESOL in Europe, Armenia and Egypt, and has consulted to industry. Her research interests centre around adult language learning and communication in workplace and further study contexts, focussing in particular on speaking skills, pronunciation and interpersonal pragmatics. After ten years as Senior researcher and then Acting Director of the Adult Migrant Education Program Research Centre in Australia, she is currently Head of Linguistics at Macquarie University in Sydney.

Minako O'Hagan, Dublin City University, Ireland

Modern digital entertainment as a locus of intercultural communication: Gamer response to translated games

This presentation aims to introduce a relatively new area of translation research known as game localisation which entails a set of translation practices invented by the game industry to make video game products available in international markets. In particular, the presentation discusses game localisation from a perspective of intercultural communication, highlighting game-specific cultural issues which arise during the process of localisation. The presentation touches on a new research direction based on a pilot experiment designed to capture physiological data of the gamer playing a localised game in order to tap into the effect of translation through the gamer's less conscious as well as conscious behaviour. 

Minako O'Hagan, PhD, is a senior lecturer at Dublin City University and a member of the Centre for Translation and Textual Studies. She has been involved in interdisciplinary, cutting-edge translation research with a main interest in the impact of emerging technologies on the practice of translation. Funded research projects include a feasibility study on Machine Translation of subtitles for DVDs and eye-tracker studies on translation tools and game players. More recently her research focus has been on video game localisation and translation crowdsourcing on social media platforms.

Patricia von Münchow, Université Paris Descartes, France

"Believe me when I say that this is not an attack on American parents": Intercultural parenting books in an interdiscursive network

Battle Hym of the Tiger Mother (Chua, Bloomsbury, 2011) and French Children Don't Throw Food (Druckerman, Doubleday, 2012) are two recent global bestsellers belonging to a relatively new discursive genre: The intercultural parenting book. Within the theoretical framework of Cross-Cultural Discourse Analysis, in the tradition of French Discourse Analysis, I will examine these books – with a special emphasis on Franco-American publications – in order to identify self and other-representations of motherhood, fatherhood, and parent-child relationships. I will also focus on discursive strategies designed to prevent conflicts that might occur when foreign parenting practices are presented as a model.

The results of the analysis will be confronted with the outcome of an earlier contrastive study of three German, three French and three US-American parental guidebooks to ascertain whether representations are the same or different, which are explicitly mentioned in what can be considered metadiscourse and which are more implicit or even unconscious. Finally I will show what kind of (often conflictual) reactions intercultural parenting books bring about in reviews, comments on reviews, etc. and how these different texts combine into an interdiscursive network.

Patricia von Münchow is Professor of Linguistics and Director of the Master's program in Linguistics at the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences – Sorbonne, Paris Descartes University. She is a specialist in Contrastive Discourse Analysis and author of Les journaux télévisés en France et en Allemagne. Plaisir de voir ou devoir de s'informer (Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2004, second edition 2005, third edition 2009) and Lorsque l'enfant paraît… Le discours des guides parentaux en France et en Allemagne (Presses universitaires du Mirail, 2011).


Ana Rojo, University of Murcia, Spain 

The Impact of Translation on the Empirical Scale: When Translation Makes a Difference in Cognitive Processing

Translation has played for long a supporting role in the research scenario under the wing of linguistic and literary studies. More recently, the theoretical and methodological concerns arisen by process research have given translation an additional role in cognitive science. The interest in the cognitive aspects of translation has led scholars to turn to disciplines such as cognitive linguistics, psycholinguistics or even neurology in search of innovative approaches and research methods. This talk aims at presenting the audience with a variety of the empirical studies that have contributed to enlarge our knowledge of translation. The intention is to show that the joined work of disciplines from cognitive science may have an influential say in defining the potential impact that translation research has on communication and language processing as well as on those factors that condition the translator's work.

Ana Rojo is Senior Lecturer in Translation at the University of Murcia (Spain), where she is currently also Head of the Translation and Interpreting Department. Her main areas of research are the fields of Translation and Cognitive Linguistics. She has authored and co-edited the following books and monograph issues: Contrastive Cognitive Linguistics (University of Murcia, 2003), Cognitive Linguistics: From Words to Discourse (University of Murcia, 2007), Step by Step. A Course in Contrastive Linguistics and Translation (Peter Lang, 2009), Trends in Cognitive Linguistics (Peter Lang, 2009). She has also written many scholarly articles which have appeared either in specialised national and international journals or as book chapters published by several national and international publishing houses (Atrio, Anubar, Mouton de Gruyter, John Benjamins, Livius, Sendebar, Babel, Languages in Contrast, Meta, Across Languages and Cultures, etc.).