Transius Symposium

"Historical Perspectives on Institutional Translation"

15 September 2023, University of Geneva

Funded by the SNSF

Programme | Practical information 

This one-day symposium will bring together researchers who take a historical perspective on how institutional translation relates to society across a diversity of regions, periods and subjects. The symposium will provide an opportunity to address common methodological problems, such as those encountered when working with institutional archives and corpora. It is also an invitation to consider to what extent and under what conditions research on historical cases can contribute to current discussions on institutional translation.

The symposium will be hosted by the Centre for Legal and Institutional Translation Studies (Transius) of the University of Geneva’s Faculty of Translation and Interpreting. It is part of the project Places of Translation (2022–2026), led by Valérie Dullion (University of Geneva) and Reine Meylaerts (KU Leuven) with funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen (FWO).

The event will take place onsite at the Uni Mail building of the University of Geneva and online through Zoom. Participation is free of charge, but registration is mandatory in all cases. Registration is now closed.

Please note that registration for onsite attendance is no longer available, as we have reached full capacity.

For more information: Estelle.Gross(at)


9.00-9.15: Opening

9.15-10.00: Lieven D’hulst (KU Leuven): "Exploring institutional translation in Belgium during the French period (1795-1815): overview and outlook"

10.00-10.45: Michael Schreiber (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz): "Institutional translations during the French Revolution into European languages and into Creole. A comparison"

10.45-11.00: Coffee break

11.00-11.45: Haidee Kotze (Utrecht University): "Parliamentary discourse and translation in the (post)colony: A historical perspective"

11.45-12.30: Paolo Canavese (University of Geneva): "Using corpora to track the impact of evolving translation practices on institutional texts: A micro-diachronic study (1974-2018) of Swiss legislation in Italian"

12.30-14.00: Lunch break

14.00-14.45: Kaisa Koskinen (Tampere University): "Paraprofessional translation in bilingual meetings"

14.45-15.30: Robert Dickinson (formerly of the United Nations Office at Geneva): "Pioneers in “a great experiment”: The translators of the League of Nations and their struggle for professionalization"

15.30-15.45: Coffee break

15.45-16.30: Elisabeth Möckli (Universities of Fribourg and Geneva): "Translating Humanitarian Action for Children: Language Policies and Practices in the Swiss Red Cross Child Evacuations (1940-1942)" [CANCELLED]

15.45-16.30: Estelle Gross, Judit Renneboog, Valérie Dullion & Reine Meylaerts (University of Geneva & KU Leuven): "Local translation policies in Belgium and Switzerland (1830/1848–1918): Reflective, explicit, implicit and absent sources"

16.30-16.45: Closing words

Each presentation: 30 min. + 10 min. discussion

Practical information


The symposium will take place at the Uni Mail building (40, Boulevard du Pont d'Arve. 1205 - Geneva). See access map below.


Hotels provide with a free Geneva Transport Card for each day of the stay. To get to the Uni Mail building on public transport, please follow these indications:

From Cointrin Airport: Take any train at the airport's train station* and get off at Cornavin train station (first stop). Take the tramway line 15 towards "Palettes" until "Uni Mail" stop.

*All trains departing from Cointrin Airport's train station stop at Cornavin Train Station.

From Cornavin train station: Take the tramway line 15 towards "Palettes" until "Uni Mail" stop. [map]

For more information, please visit Geneva's public transportation system website (TPG).


All participants must make their own arrangements for lunch.


Participants are responsible for booking their own accommodation if necessary.

Access map