Marina Dossena & Polina Shvanyukova University of Bergamo and University of Florence “Introduction.”
This volume of Token: A Journal of English Linguistics originates from an international research project funded by the University of Bergamo between 2015 and 2017 within its ‘Excellence Initiatives’ programme, and which also profited from the participation of students and staff from the Universities of Alcalá (Spain) and Giessen (Germany). The general topic of the project focused on the circulation of knowledge in the West, highlighting the important link existing between research and teaching, especially at the MA level. For this reason, it addressed the issue of knowledge dissemination from an interdisciplinary perspective; in particular, the project aimed to offer historical and methodological insights on the topic of translation, seen as an especially significant channel for the circulation of contents, both in the sense of representation of reality and in the sense of argumentation.
The diachronic perspective of the project deserves to be underlined because translation is addressed as one of the possible forms of cultural transmission from the past to the current world; it is therefore seen as a privileged tool for the cross-fertilization of cultures, not only for the linguistic and stylistic skills it implies, but also for the specificity of the cultures under comparison. It is on these grounds that this volume has chosen to address the topic of translation in a historical framework, taking into consideration how documents were translated, what tools the translators could rely on, and what instances of linguistic contiguity can be found even in monolingual texts in which social and geographical variation is discussed. At the same time, further reflections are offered on contemporary translation both in literature and in different media, not least in a didactic perspective.
The multidisciplinary nature of the studies conducted over the two years allowed valuable exchanges through contributions from different disciplines, which were nonetheless homogeneous in their methodological approach. In line with the specific areas of interest of the participants, the research areas mainly concerned the Italian, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Hispano-American, and Anglo-American languages, cultures, and literatures since the connections between them are as extensive as they are unavoidable, and therefore lend themselves to investigations also of a comparative nature. This multilingual approach has led to the preparation of different publications (in Italian, German, French, Spanish and English, all due to appear in 2018) in which the results achieved in the various branches of the project could be circulated. We are very privileged to offer this issue of Token as one of these publications, in the belief that it will prove of interest to our international readers.