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The Contingencies of Translation: Hope, Faith and Doing One’s Best

Susanne Tietze, PhD is a Professor of Multilingual Management at Sheffield Hallam University (UK). Grounded in an interpretive paradigm, she is an organizational scholar and has researched a variety of phenomena, including multilingualism as it plays out in organizational arenas. An early focus of her research was the theme of translation as an empirical phenomena, as a methodological challenge, as a philosophical stance and way of being in the world. She has recently concluded a research project into the role of paraprofessional translators in multilingual (business) communities and the agentic decision-making which informs their roles.  She has also published about the role of the English language as the lingua franca of management knowledge and how its use impacts upon the research process.  Her latest books (Horn, Lecomte, Tietze, 2020) comprise an edited volume, titled Managing Multilingual Workplaces. Methodological, Empirical and Pedagogic Perspectives, and a research text (2021) titled Language, Translation and Management Knowledge. A Research Overview. In this reflexive talk Susanne will show how translation is always a precarious process which suspends the translating agents between different meanings systems and meaning worlds. Within this tension, translators make bounded decisions through which a degree of agency unfolds and understanding is generated. Translators understood as bounded decision makers are then explored through a focus on paraprofessional translators who operate in multilingual work places. Again, translation is shown to be a precarious, incomplete process. From thereon, it is argued that translation remains a fruitful endeavour whether operationalised as empirical research; whether used to raise important methodological questions or whether treated as an epistemological stance.

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