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Conference “Translation and Transfer” of the Transottomanica Network (DFG SPP 1981), Marburg 6–9 October 2021

The DFG Priority Programme (SPP) “Transottomanica: Eastern European-Ottoman-Persian Mobility Dynamics” looks at social and (trans)cultural ties between the Muscovite Tsardom and/or Petersburg Empire, Poland-Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire, Central Asia and Iran from the early modern period to the beginning of the twentieth century. After the completion of the first phase of the project (2017–2020) and the forthcoming publication of four thematic volumes (see:, the second phase will look more closely at specific phenomena of transregional mobility within the region under study.


Practices of translation between languages and the pragmatic transfer of translated texts into actual usage have emerged as the topic central to the majority of the sixteen research projects in our network. To discuss this topic in greater detail, we invite interested scholars to the medieval town of Marburg to share their expertise with us at a conference in October, 2021.


There are many aspects of the topic such as actual written translations in the Transottoman region and translators who earned their living through their expertise. Possible questions to be discussed at the conference include what functions these translations – full or partial, systematic or occasional – had and why people became translators with a broad or narrow functional focus. Within our Transottoman focus we are interested in multi-lingual brokers of languages who were negotiating and constituting the practical nodes of the shared social, commercial, diplomatic, political, or private worlds. 


The actual usage of translations by specialists in the military or administration, for example, but also in church structures or in everyday life in general constitutes a second main aspect of the planned conference. Here, themes around translated terminologies, genres, narratives, concepts or individual books and their usage in a new linguistic environment become relevant. 


While we are well aware of the broader implications of the translational turn, the conference will stress the pragmatic implications of the translation of texts in its narrower sense and the translators involved in activities across or within the Transottoman focus region. For a closer look at this and the multiple projects within this framework, please visit our website at


Costs for travel and accommodation in Marburg will be provided for successful applicants for the duration of the conference.


Please send a description of your proposal, including the topic, the specific approach, and the sources used (one page) and a short academic CV by 31 January 2021 to: