Event Report: Fifth East Asian Translation Studies Conference

The fifth East Asian Translation Studies conference was held at the University of Queensland on June 26–28, with a mixture of on-site and online participants. The conference kicked off with a keynote speech by Professor Min-hua Liu from Hong Kong Baptist University titled “Is There an Aptitude for Interpreting beyond Bilingualism?” The second keynote was by Professor Clint Bracknell, who gave a fascinating talk on his work in producing the first adaptation of a complete Shakespeare play into the Noongar Aboriginal language (via a Japanese manga!) and the dubbing of a Bruce Lee film into Noongar. The third keynote was by award-winning translator of classical and modern Japanese fiction, Dr. Meredith McKinney, titled “The changing role of literary translation: Some perspectives.” Meredith provided a brief history of the translation of Japanese literature into English since 1866 (two years before the Meiji Restoration), likening it to Issa’s haiku about a snail climbing Mt. Fuji. The final keynote was by Dr. Adolfo Gentile, a pioneer in translator and interpreter education in Australia and beyond, who drew on his experience as a member of the Refugee Review Tribunal to discuss “Human rights and interpreting: Intersections.” The keynote speakers’ bios and abstracts are available here.

Altogether there were ninety-six presentations, with four or five concurrent sessions. The presentations skewed somewhat toward Chinese-related topics, but there was a good representation of Japanese-related talks, as well as papers on translating and interpreting in other Asian languages.

One theme in several presentations and the closing panel discussion was the impact of AI. Peishu Wang spoke on “Exploring the efficacy of Chat GPT in game localization: An empirical study from player preferences.” The closing panel discussion again brought up the topic of AI (e.g., its impact on language teaching and university programs in teaching translation and interpreting; how to use AI critically and ethically). The program and abstracts of the papers (with bios of the authors) are available here.

The next EATS conference will be held in Arizona, USA in the winter of 2026.

Thanks to Judy Wakabayashi for sharing this report, June 29, 2024.