Translation Studies

Translation and Religion: Interrogating Concepts, Methods and Practices

What is the relationship between ‘translation’ and ‘religion’? While all ‘religions’ travel and engage in translation of one kind or another, what gets translated? How do the different components of what is currently understood as ‘religion’—texts, practices, experiences, inner faith or belief systems—translate differently? How can we analyze such commonly held beliefs that some languages simply are sacred and should not be translated? And what are the implications of such questions for understanding religious conversion? What can translation concepts and methods tell us about the way religions and the study of religions are constructed?

While both disciplines have evolved and grown rapidly over the past half century, each has also engaged, in the past few decades, in a re-evaluation of its basic ideas and terms, including fundamental categories such as ‘religion’ and ‘translation.’ It can no longer be taken for granted that there is one definition for what comprises the ‘sacred’ or indeed a ‘correct’ or ‘good’ translation. Such re-assessment provides an excellent context within which to creatively engage the two to generate forward-looking theoretical perspectives.

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Alan Williams, University of Manchester

From Oceanography to Fillet-O-Fish®.  The Spectrum of Translation of the Poetry of Rumi

Professor Arvind Pal Mandair, University of Michigan

Complicating Contact Zones: Translation as Practice of Creating Concepts and Self-Differentiation


Translation and Religion conference poster

For further details and a full conference programme please see:



Enquiries should be addressed to Dr. H. Israel at


Translation and Religion: Interrogating Concepts, Methods and Practices

This three-day AHRC-funded conference aims to bring together scholars from the two disciplines to investigate theories, concepts and methods with comparative and critical tools in order to evaluate areas of mutually creative overlap.

The University of Edinburgh