This line of research builds on cross-border studies and their criticisms of nation-centred research and deals with circulation and non-circulation, and mediations and mediators in terms of global literary translation flows and transnational agents and agencies (translators, publishers, literary agents, institutions, festivals, literary and translation prizes, and book fairs) at large-scale. Many studies on translation and cultural mediation still favour major metropoles like Paris, London, and New York as centres of cultural production. However, other cities and megacities that are not considered global cultural centres also feature vibrant translation scenes, such as Buenos Aires, Trieste, Cape Town, and Lahore. The same goes for some regional scales such as the Caucasus or Latin America.

Illustration by Blanche Ellis

In this respect, we aim at decentering literary and translation history by proposing the term of global translation zones as spaces of translation that can be thought of in the long durée and in the framework of a non-European timeline and a translation history that is complex and multilingual. To do so, we theorize global translation flows taking on board notions such as significant geographies and the use of digital tools to study these flows at large scale. This approach (that we have defined as Big Translation History) challenges previous research on the prevailing role of European and US-American major metropoles and Northern centres of cultural production by rethinking major national literatures and broader regional configurations, as well as the place of smaller and less-translated literatures (for example, indingenous literatures) and transregional translation flows (Walloon and Catalan literatures) and how they relate to the wider world. Comparative literature, world literary studies, and translation history have generally focused on central languages or, at best, on the relationships between central and peripheral literatures, but there is still a lot of research to be done regarding interperipheral literary exchanges. Thus, we seek to abandon the focus on “innovative” centres and “imitative” peripheries and study new or lesser-known global translation zones within a gender, ethical and digital perspective that takes into account the circulation of translations both in book format and periodical publications or in the website. We also explore the relationships between power, culture and translation through the study of translation policy, both in the past and in the present.