I regularly receive emails with calls for papers for various conferences, journals and whatnot. Usually I’ll have a quick glance at the subject line and then delete the email if it’s not of interest. The subject line of one particular specimen caught my eye with the term “eco-translation”. Not knowing whether it was some form of environmentally aware translation or something else that might be really useful or interesting, I thought I might as well have a look. I’ve read the call several times and I’ll be honest, I still don’t really know what they’re talking about and I’m not sure I want to. Calls for papers are supposed to inspire, encourage and explain. All this one does is bombard you with jargon, vague descriptions and non-explanations and then give you a bit of a headache.
Eco-translatology is viewed as an ecological approach to Translation Studies with an interdisciplinary orientation. In the light of the affinity and isomorphism between translational ecosystems and natural ecosystems, Eco-translatology regards the scene of translation as a holistic translational eco-system, and focuses on the relationship between the translator and the translational eco-environment. A translational eco-environment is construed as a highly integrated entity that comprises the actual text, the cultural context and the human agents, as well as other tangible and intangible ingredients. In a translational activity, a translator both adapts and selects (or makes choices) in accordance with the specific configuration of the translational eco-environment. Eco-translatology thus describes and interprets translational activities (including the essence, process, criteria, principles, methods, and phenomena of translation, and the entire translational eco-system) in terms of such ecological principles as holism, relevance, dynamics, balance and harmony, together with ecological esthetics. Ancient Chinese/Eastern philosophies and cultural essentials are projected in this nascent field.