The Cultural dynamics of communication

When:19 Nov 2013, 3pm - 4:30pm
Venue:Morven Brown 310
Who:David Katan
David Katan

Interpreting & Translation Seminar

It is the aim of this seminar to demonstrate how E.T. Hall's theory of "contexting" can be extremely effective in showing how the study of patterns of invisible cultural (and individual) communication orientations affect response. Hall theorised that we all unconsciously 'membership' our interlocutor in terms of our own high or low context orientations, and that this orientation is strongly related to cultural provenience. The seminar begins with an explanation of the theory, and its importance in the discussion of cultural orientations as a whole. The seminar also includes a strong practical element, allowing participants to identify their own level of high or low context communication – and to become aware of how their own orientation can affect reader understanding of intent.

Though the seminar focusses on written communication, it is should be of interest to all those interested in communication, intercultural communication and translating or interpreting.


David Katan taught at the Interpreters’ School, University of Trieste, Italy, for 20 years before taking up the chair in English Language and Translation at the University of Salento (Lecce) where for 6 years he was also Director of Studies for the undergraduate course in Linguistic Mediation and the graduate course in Translation and Interpreting. In 2012 he was Visiting Scholar at the School of Foreign Studies, University of Guangzhou, China. He has initiated the first school for doctoral students in translation at the University, with two state paid PhD students focussing on quality in translation in tourism using innovative corpus linguistics tools.

He has published over 60 articles on translation and intercultural communication both nationally and internationally. His book Translating Cultures: An Introduction for Translators, Interpreters and Mediators, is now in its 2nd edition, published (2004) by the translation specialists, St. Jerome, Manchester. It has also been re-published in Bejing, and is widely used as a textbook for translators at university level. More recent publications include contributions to the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Translation Studies (2008), The Routledge Companion to Translation Studies (2008), Volume 2 and 3 of the Benjamin’s The Handbook of Translation Studies (2012, in press) and the Wiley-Blackwell The Encyclopedia of Applied linguistics (2013).

He has recently completed a global questionnaire on translator/interpreter status, the results of which have been published in Hermes (2009) a Special Issue of Translation and Interpreting Studies (2011) and by Benjamins (2012).

He is Senior editor of Cultus: the Journal of Intercultural Mediation and Communication, now in its 6th year. The Journal is on the European Society of Translators (EST) list of recommended translation Journals. He is also on the editorial board of “RITT-Rivista internazionale di tecnica della traduzione - International Journal of Translation” and ESP Across Cultures.

He has also worked in business for over 30 years as an intercultural trainer with TCO-International Diversity Management, and is now a licensee of “The International Profiler”, a Worldwork instrument designed to help individuals deal with cultural differences during international postings.

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