Interpreting in Zones of Conflict

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Date(s) - 14/05/2014
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

JSC Auditorium, Building 54 (next to the bus loop),


Japanese Studies Centre Special Seminar:


Marc Orlando (Monash University)  Status and roles of interpreters through history

Kayoko Takeda (Rikkyo University)  Interpreters as collaborators in wartime/postwar occupations

Beatrice Trefalt (Monash University)  The issue of interpretation in early post-war critiques of the war crimes trials, 1949-1954

How did historical actors communicate with each other across language barriers? In zones of violent conflict, such as wars or colonial occupations, and in their aftermaths, such as war crimes trials or reconciliation commissions, who spoke on behalf of another, to make communication possible? This seminar contributes to an emerging discussion about how to recover from historical invisibility the interpreters and translators whose presence, often on the margins and self-consciously effacing, enabled one group to exert domination over another. Marc Orlando will introduce the discussion by speaking broadly about the roles and status of interpreters through history, with one key moment being the Nuremberg trial. Professor Takeda Kayoko will discuss changing conceptions of the role of Taiwanese interpreters and translators for the Japanese Imperial army before and after the Japanese defeat. Beatrice Trefalt will close the discussion from the perspective of a historian of BC war crimes trials in the Asian region after World War II.

With the support of the Faculty Visiting Distinguished Visiting Scholar program, Monash’s Japanese Studies and Translation and Interpreting Studies will host a visit by Professor Takeda Kayoko, who works in the area translation and interpreting studies at the Rikkyo Graduate School of Intercultural Communication, from 12 to 16 May 2014.

 Professor Takeda’s research interests cross translation studies and history: she is interested in the role of the translator and interpreter in areas of conflict, and particularly in the context of war crimes trials. She has written Interpreting the Tokyo War Crimes Trial: A Sociopolitical Analysis (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2010), and has translated Francesca Gaiba’s The Origins of Simultaneous Interpretation: the Nuremberg Trial as ニュルンベルク裁判の通訳 (Tokyo: Misuzu shobō, 2013). She is also pursuing research interests in the conviction for war crimes of Taiwanese interpreters working for the Japanese Imperial Army in local war crimes trials in the wake of World War II.

 While at Monash, Professor Takeda will present her research on translation and interpreting during war crimes trials in a public lecture in the evening of Thursday 15 May (see attached flyer). She will also discuss her research in a joint seminar on war crimes trials with Marc Orlando and Beatrice Trefalt on 14 May, and conduct a master class for postgraduate students in translation and interpreting studies on 13 May.

Enquiries about Professor Takeda’s visit can be directed to Dr Beatrice Trefalt (, in Japanese Studies.