David Katan

Keynote speaker


David Katan taught at the Interpreters school in Trieste for 20 years before taking up the chair at the University of Salento (Lecce), where he teaches translation and intercultural communication. He has given Doctoral and Masters courses in Hungary, Poland and Spain and has been an invited speaker at UCL London.   He has also been on a number of doctoral commissions in Italy, the UK and Australia. He is Senior Editor of Cultus: The Journal of Intercultural Communication.

He spent 4 months lecturing in Southern China and 3 months giving lectures in South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, including the plenary session at the Media4All conference in Sydney (on creative subtitling).

His specialisation in intercultural communication began with his qualifications as Practitioner and Master in Neurolinguistic Programming and work as trainer with TCO-International Diversity Management in the 1980’s.  He is now qualified as a consultant in  “The International Profiler”, WorldWork, UK.

Current research interests: Status of the translator, Creative subtitling, Tourist Gaze and Translation.

He has published over 70 articles on translation and intercultural communication. Example Publications:

  • Translating Cultures (2004/2014) St. Jerome, Routledge.
  • «Translation as Intercultural Communication» (2008) Handbook of Translation Studies, Routledge.
  • «Status of the Translator» (2011) Handbook of Translation Studies, Routledge.
  • «Intercultural Mediation» (2013) Handbook of Translation Studies, Routledge.
  • «Cultural Approaches to Translation» (2013) The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, Wiley-Blackwell.


Title and summary of the keynote speech

Beneath the Tip of the Iceberg: exploring the hidden patterns of culture in translation.
The aim of this talk is to investigate the how the hidden aspects of meaning in communication are bound by cultural norms and orientations relating to accepted practice, and how this affects translation and reader reaction. We begin by taking it as axiomatic that translation is potentially a powerful form of communication, and that miscommunication in translation is due to ‘silent’, ‘hidden’ or ‘unconscious’ factors. Malinowski was one of the first to notice this, coining the terms “context of situation” and “of culture”. But it was E.T. Hall who popularised the idea that these factors might be patterned, and organized culture into levels using the iceberg as a convenient metaphor. Hence the talk will focus on each level of Hall’s Cultural Iceberg in terms of language, communication and translation strategies.