International Advisory Board

Mona Baker

Professor of Translation Studies

Address: Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies 
School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures 
University of Manchester 
Oxford Road 
M13 9PL, UK

monabaker.pngProfessor Baker’s main research interest at the moment is examining the role played by translators and interpreters in mediating conflict. The underlying assumption of her work is that whoever undertakes it, and whatever form it takes, translation is never a by-product of social and political developments. It is part and parcel of the very process that makes these developments possible in the first place. Translation is also not innocent. It is not about "building bridges" or "enabling communication" as is commonly assumed, but about the active circulation and promotion of narratives. Morally speaking, it is neither inherently good nor inherently bad in itself - it depends on the nature of the narratives it promotes and in which it is embedded, and of course on the narrative location of the person assessing it.

In all types of conflict, but particularly in an international conflict such as the war on Iraq and the so-called war on terror, translation is central to the ability of all parties to legitimize their version of events, their narratives. Since this type of conflict is played out in the international arena and cannot simply be resolved by appealing to local constituencies at home, each party to the conflict has to rely on various processes of translation to elaborate and promote a particular narrative. Professor Baker is interested in studying the way in which translation functions in this context, including the selection of texts to be translated, the type of people involved in translating them (irrespective of whether they are professional translators), and the various agendas they serve. This includes researching the use of translation by powerful, well-funded institutions as well as its use by various groups of peace activists and humanitarian organisations with little or no funding and no access to major media outlets.

Research Specialisation:

  • Translation and Conflict, Translation and War
  • Ethics in Translation Research and Translator/Interpreter Training
  • Application of Narrative Theory to Translation and Interpreting
  • Framing & Contextualization Processes in Translation and Interpreting
  • Activist Communities in Translation Studies (e.g. Babels, Tlaxcala, Translators for Peace, ECOS, etc.)
  • Corpus-based Translation Studies


Related publications include:

  • Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account (Routledge 2006)
  • Narratives of Terrorism and Security: ‘Accurate’ Translations, Suspicious Frames (Critical Studies on Terrorism, 2010)
  • Interpreters and Translators in the War Zone: Narrated and Narrators (The Translator, 2010)
  • Translation as an Alternative Space for Political Action (under review, Social Movement Studies)
  • Ethics in Interpreter and Translation Training: Critical Perspectives (with Carol Maier, The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 2011)
  • Translation and Activism: Emerging Patterns of Narrative Community (The Massachusetts Review, 2006)
  • Reframing Conflict in Translation (Social Semiotics 2007)
  • Resisting State Terror: Communities of Activist Translators and Interpreters (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)
  • Ethics of Renarration (interview with Andrew Chesterman, Cultus 2008)
  • Contextualization in Translator- and Interpreter-mediated Events (Journal of Pragmatics, 2006)
  • Narratives in and of Translation (SKASE Journal of Translation and Interpretation, 2005)

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