Keynote lectures


A multilevel systems approach to translation based on hierarchy theory and multilayer network analysis

Prof João Queiroz
Institute of Arts and Design
Federal University of Juiz de Fora,

According to a multilevel approach, a poem or an artwork is an “experimental laboratory” for performing semiotic experiments. Its experimental character lies in the fact that it allows for diverse possibilities of multilevel constraints which can be unusual in relation to routine uses of language. In this sense, a poem, for instance, submits the language to extreme conditions and provides a scenario for observing the emergence of new semiotic cognitive behavior as a result. The effects of this experimental process can be described as an epistemic engineering of language. In the domain of Situated Cognitive Science, epistemic engineers act to change the informational character of their environment. In our use of the term, poets and language experimenters are seen as modifiers of the informational character of semiosis as a result of various experiments with multilevel systems. Our research question here is: how to translate these multilevel systems? According to our perspective, translators operate with multilevel constraints so as to rebuild, in the target-language, language experiments made in the source-language. We approach this problem through a Hierarchy Theory  (Salthe 2009, Queiroz & El-Hani 2012) and Multilayer Network analysis (Martinčić-Ipšić et al, 2016). We exemplify this interlinguistic operation with Augusto de Campos’ translation of John Donne’s poem “The Expiration” to Portuguese and multiple translation of Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem Jabberwocky.


  • Martinčić-Ipšić, S.; Margan, D.; Meštrović, A. (2016). Multilayer network of language: A unified framework for structural analysis of linguistic subsystems. Physica A., 457, 117-128.
  • Queiroz, J.; El-Hani, C. N. (2012). Downward determination in semiotic multi-level systems. Cybernetics & Human Knowing -- A Journal of Second Order Cybernetics, Autopoiesis & Semiotics., 19, 123-136. 
  • Salthe, S. (2009). A hierarchical framework for levels of reality: understanding through representation. Axiomathes, 19, 87-99.


Rebuilding Babel: Cognition, translation and complexity from the representational mind to the wisdom of the crowd

Prof David Campola 
Department of Computer Science 
State University of New York, 

In an age characterized by the appearance of pervasive artificial intelligence and the rise of cognitive science, intellectual activities that have traditionally been considered in the domain of the humanities - such as translation studies - need to address developments from these contemporary fields. This talk will draw from areas as diverse as finite state machines, network theory and cognitive semiotics in order to supply a knowledge representation perspective on the role of complexity in translation. It is hoped that such an interdisciplinary ontology can bring about a discussion from a wide spectrum of researchers who are interested in translation studies.


T: +27 51 401 2240
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Katlego Mabulana: +27 51 401 2495
Nhlamulo (Lucky) Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3519
Juanita du Plooy: +27 51 401 3269

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