Under the influence of globalisation and digitisation, translation and interpreting (T&I) practice has diversified exponentially in recent decades and continues to do so. Changes in communication channels and carriers have resulted in the proliferation of new, often hybrid, T&I text types and modes, that aim to give access to information and communication across borders, be it physical, linguistic, cultural or imagined ones.
Migration movements have expanded these borders and have led to the emergence of new internal, linguistic and cultural borders, within societies. This development continually requires the adaptation of existing and the creation of new T&I modes, alongside and in interaction with more traditional ones. T&I practice is key to the establishment of an inclusive society that embraces the needs of all, including people with disabilities and ethnic minorities. Today’s society requires interlingual, intralingual and intersemiotic translation to overcome borders; in brief, T&I has long ceased to be a matter of (applied) linguistics alone.
T&I scholars are embracing the need for interdisciplinary research resulting from this state of affairs, which not only impacts on policy-making, practice and education but also on research priorities, methodologies and theoretical frameworks. Indeed, as new hybrid forms of T&I develop alongside more traditional ones and result in a rapprochement between T&I modes that used to be unrelated, the borders of what it means to “translate”, “interpret”, “write”, “edit”, “post-edit” the output of Machine Translation, etc., are being stretched. This results in new, interdisciplinary research questions in a dire need of a sound academic footing, besides new, state-of-the-art academic curricula. Therefore, research into contemporary T&I relies heavily on collaboration with other fields of study, such as intercultural studies, cultural history, film and theatre studies, psycho- and sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, pragmatics, corpus and computational linguistics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, urban studies, fashion studies and some of their research methods, adapted to T&I-related research questions.
T&I’s quintessentially interdisciplinary research, which opens up many opportunities for collaboration both within our faculty and with other faculties, more specifically, the Faculties of Medicine, Law, Applied Economics, Social Sciences (with whom some research is already being developed), also allows the T&I research community to be actively engaged in promoting evidence-based policies. Across borders collaborates with various professional actors and policy makers, both at the Flemish and national level and at the level of the European institutions. T&I research is not only interdisciplinary from an academic point of view. It relies heavily on interaction with professional players, whether they be literary translators, legal translators, technical writers, revisers, interpreters, audiovisual translators or accessibility managers. This is also why T&I is a prime candidate for European research projects that aim to tackle issues that go hand in hand with multilingualism and multiculturalism but also (language) technologies.
Concretely, the type of research that is carried out ranges from semi-experimental process research, over corpus studies, ethnographic research, linguistic and/or literary text analysis, reception research, sociolinguistically-oriented research, discourse analysis, to T&I theory and the reconceptualisation of T&I practice today. In brief, ACROSS BORDERS aims to provide a platform for interdisciplinary research that unites fundamental and applied research by academics within and across the borders of its discipline.