Anneleen Spiessens is an assistant professor at Ghent University and is affiliated with the Department of Translation, Interpreting, and Communication. She holds degrees from Ghent University (PhD) and KU Leuven (MAs in Romance Languages and in Literary Studies).
She is the author of Quand le bourreau prend la parole: témoignage et fiction (Droz 2016), which uncovers the complex configuration and circulation of testimonies delivered by perpetrators of mass political violence during the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide. The book is based on her doctoral research and explores the ethical questions raised by these testimonies, examining the relation between discourse and violence, document and fiction. It also aims to take part in the debate around translation and authorship, looking for possibilities for translators to convey their “attitude” towards the perpetrator’s discourse without jeopardizing the idea of a “faithful” translation. By disclosing the polyphonic configuration of the mediated testimonies, it further assesses the importance of editorial and/or translational framing as ethical “counterdiscourse.”
Anneleen has published on Russian news translation, together with Piet Van Poucke, to underscore the role of translation in the construction of cultural and political identities. She is co-editor of the Handbook of Translation and Memory (Routledge, forthcoming), which sets out to chart the intersections between translation and memory as they operate together in the reconstruction, transmission and repurposing of the past.
Her latest research project focuses on translation and the museum. The museum can indeed be considered as a "translation space", a space of heightened language awareness and intense cultural transaction. The concept of space relates both to concrete, architectual forms (the museum building, the exhibition room), and to "zones", places where we encounter the Other and challenge stereotypical images. Equally, "translation" is analyzed as both a metaphorical transfer process and an interlingual activity: museums "translate" cultures and stories for their visitors through the selection and combination of objects and texts, and through various scenographic strategies; but as touristic destinations, museums also resort to translation "proper" in order to cater for different language user needs. The project's aim is to investigate the impact of translation on representations of the Other, and on memory construction in the museum.
Anneleen's research interests include:
- Translation and memory (personal memory, collective and cultural memory, travelling memory)
- Translation and testimony (secondary witnessing, memory transmission, trauma, perpetrator testimony)
- Translation in the museum (translation and space, translation policy, multimodal translation)
- Translation and ideology (political translation, censorship, identity)
- Translation and/in conflict (specifically on the Shoah, Rwanda, Russia)
- News translation (translated journalistic discourse, circulation of global news)
- Ethics of translation and translator agency
- Literary translation and narrative voice