Australian Society for French Studies Conference 2011

I travelled to Canberra this past weekend to attend the Australian Society for French Studies Conference at the Australian National University. To coincide with the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia and Australian Linguistics Society conferences also taking place in Canberra this week as part of Langfest, the three themes of the conference were translation, language teaching, and discourse analysis. Obviously I attended most of the teaching presentations, though I do have an interest in translation. The conference was bilingual but most presentations were in French. I was excited to find out that the 2012 conference will be at the University of Adelaide on September 27-28, so I hope other French researchers will join me there because I am definitely attending.

Béatrice Chassaing from the French Embassy offered some interesting statistics on Australian-French studies. About 6,000 students at Australian universities are studying French, but only 500 study abroad in France. In fact, less than 1% of all Australian students study abroad. In comparison, there are 3,700 French students currently studying in Australia. The French Embassy has recently started a program to increase Australian student mobility to France and to develop Australian universities / French companies partnerships by offering paid internships for Australian students in French companies established in Australia  or in Australian companies operating in France. For more information, download the Internship Program information sheet. And if neither study abroad nor internships sound appealing, the teaching assistant program is still an option. There are about 65 positions available for Australian citizens to teach English in primary or secondary schools in France or the DOM-TOMS (including New Caledonia) for seven months. The application deadline is December 12 to start teaching in October 2012.

Other plenary talks included Pierre Bondil reflecting on his translations of crime fiction (polars) over the years and Pierre Labbe explaining the concept of le Softpower à la française. Two adorable Americans who have lived in France for 45 years, Sheila Malovany-Chevallier and Constance Borde, also spoke about their translation of Le Deuxième Sexe (and I really hope they attend the conference next year because I loved talking to them about how great Australia is!) Unfortunately I had to leave early on the second day so I missed Philippe Met’s talk on “Le lendemain matin…”, ou la traduction d’une ellipse : scènes post-coïtales dans le cinéma français des années 30.

Australia-France websites to check out:

Dr. Wagner has a PhD in Linguistics and is dedicated to learning and teaching languages online and abroad. She has studied in Quebec and Australia, taught English in France, and is currently based in the US.