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CFP: Languages and Translation: Cognitive Challenges

Beyrouth- Lebanon
Organization: Saint Joseph University of Beirut (USJ)
Categories: Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2020-04-29 to 2020-04-30 Abstract Due: 2019-12-06

Call for papers

Languages and Translation: Cognitive Challenges

The Faculty of languages and translation (FdLT) of Saint Joseph University of Beirut (USJ) and its institutions, namely School of Translators and Interpreters of Beirut (ETIB, Center for Modern Languages (CLV) and Center for Arabic Research and Studies (CREA) organize an international conference entitled "Languages ??and Translation: Cognitive Challenges" in Beirut (Lebanon) on 29 and 30 April 2020.

The purpose of this conference is to bring together research teams interested in issues related to the links between cognitive processes cognitive processes and teaching/learning languages and translation/interpretation.

Arguments and axes of the conference


For decades, research in cognitive sciences has been focusing on learning processes by examining the phenomenon of brain plasticity. Progress achieved turns out to be real and unavoidable nowadays. The basic learning principles, or what Stanislas Deheane calls the pillars of learning, are well defined and require adaptation, reassessment, if not a revolution of teaching practices. This is even becoming more urgent at the time of the “digital tsunami” (Emmanuel Davidenkoff) that has transformed the learner profile. In fact, the needs of the learners have changed: they have their own ways to access knowledge, their rhythm and attention capacities are not the same anymore, and their intellectual curiosity is affected. In the face of the growing stakes and challenges, teachers must inevitably adapt their approaches towards the learners.


Teaching languages and translation/interpretation is no exception. The cognitive aspects of learning and acquisition of skills must be taken into consideration in this kind of teaching: optimizing attention and memory, soliciting active involvement by arousing the learners’ curiosity, admitting making mistakes as an inevitable path towards acquisition, consolidating learning by spaced repetition, taking into consideration external factors such as sleep, emotion and physical and cognitive ergonomics… This is a non-exhaustive list of the influencing factors which, if better understood, would encourage teachers to adapt their class management in view of promoting the different skills they wish the students to acquire in terms of languages and translation/interpretion. In this regard, the conference would offer the opportunity to reflect on the methods that are already in force in teaching languages and translation/ interpretation and on their theoretical bases in order to see to what extent the cognitive factors are taken into consideration and whether the scientific achievements confirm or refute some practices.


However, in the case of both fields in question, it is not the learning processes that only should be understood, but also the cognitive processes involved in the performance of the final tasks to be accomplished. Descriptive research works have been multiplying for decades now and have been concerned with the translation and interpretation processes, as well as the linguistic operations such as bilingualism or multilingualism in light of cognitive sciences. In fact, translating, interpreting, speaking or writing are per se specific cognitive acts. Research works deal inter alia with issues of interference, cognitive load, attention, memory, decision making, inhibition of erroneous reasoning, and automatisms, etc. These cognitive factors are studied in both the phase of understanding and grasping of the meaning and that of the production. The results of these research studies certainly have indirect implications on the planning of programs and learning curricula, as well as on teaching methods. Reflection on research methodologies would also be beneficial for the progress of these research works.


The two axes of the conference are:

1-      Cognitive aspects in learning and acquisition of skills in languages or translation/ interpretation.

2-      Cognitive aspects in descriptive research (conceptual and empirical) in languages or in translation/ interpretation.



Davidenkoff, E. (2014). Le tsunami numérique, éducation : tout va changer! Êtes-vous prêts? Paris, France: Stock

Dehaene, S. (2018). Apprendre! Les talents du cerveau, le défi des machines. Paris, France : Odile Jacob

Fuchs, C. (2011).  Les langues au carrefour de la cognition. La Clé des langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029). Repéré à http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/plurilangues/langue/domaine-de-la-linguistique/les-langues-au-carrefour-de-la-cognition

Houdé, O. (2017). Apprendre à résister. Paris, France : Le Pommier

Lavault-Olléon, E. (2011). L’ergonomie, nouveau paradigme pour la traductologie. ILCEA, 14. DOI : 10.4000/ilcea.1078

Moukheiber, A. (2018). Votre cerveau vous joue des tours. Paris, France : Allary Éditions

O’brien, S. (eds). (2011). Cognitive Explorations of Translation. London / New York: Continuum International Publishing Group

Plevoets, K., & Defrancq, B. (2018). The cognitive load of interpreters in the European Parliament. A corpus-based study of predictors for the disfluency uh (m). Interpreting, 20(1), 1–28.

Schwieter, J W. & Ferreira, F (eds). (2014). The Development of Translation Competence: Theories and Methodologies from Psycholinguistics and Cognitive Science. Cambridge Scholars publishing

Sutter, G De. Lefer, M-A & Delaere, I. (eds). (2017). Empirical Translation Studies. New Methodological and Theoretical Traditions. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter


Proposals in French, Arabic or English, should include the following information:

·         The title and language of the paper

·         The name of the author with his/her affiliation and full contact information

·         An abstract of 250 words

·         A bio-bibliography not exceeding 150 words.


Proposals must be sent in Word format by email to the following address: fdlt@usj.edu.lb

The deadline for proposal submission is December 6, 2019.

The proposals will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee and the Committee's decision will be communicated by January 30, 2020 at the latest.


Important dates:

·         December 6, 2019: Deadline for proposal submission

·         January 30, 2020: Notification of abstract evaluation

·         February 10, 2020: Beginning of conference registration (https://fdlt.usj.edu.lb/)

·         February 28, 2020: Dissemination of the conference preliminary program

·         April 3, 2020: End of conference registration - Dissemination of the conference final program

·         April 29 and 30, 2020: The Conference


Venue: Pierre Y. Boukhater Amphitheater, Human Sciences Campus, Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Damascus Street, Beirut, Lebanon.


Conference registration fee:


-          Participants: 50 USD (payable at the bank or online by credit card)

-          Speakers: free

-          Teachers and students of ETIB: free


Special rate: To benefit from a group price (25 USD per person for more than 10 participants per university), please send an e-mail to the following address: hala.ghosn@usj.edu.lb







Scientific Committee

Gina ABOU FADEL SAAD – Saint Joseph University of Beirut

Bart DEFRANCQ – Ghent University

Bernard HARMEGNIES – University of Mons

May HOBEIKA HADDAD – Saint Joseph University of Beirut

Nada EL KHOURY – Saint Joseph University of Beirut

Gary MASSEY – University of Zurich 

Nadine RIACHI HADDAD – Saint Joseph University of Beirut

Lina SADER FEGHALI – Saint Joseph University of Beirut

Mary YAZBECK – Saint Joseph University of Beirut



May Haddad