Center for Studies of Translation, Interpreting and Cognition (CSTIC) opens as UM hosts International Workshop on Biological Foundations of Languages

2 Dec 2014

The Center for Studies of Translation, Interpreting and Cognition (CSTIC) of FAH was launched on 9th November, 2014 as it hosted the two-day International Workshop on Biological Foundations of Languages. Reaffirming UM’s aspiration of becoming a world-class university, leaders in the academic community officiating the ceremony point out that the multidisciplinary initiative, which brings humanities, natural sciences and social sciences together, has happened at the right place at the right time.


Professor Wei Zhao, Rector of the University of Macao, addressed the launching ceremony of CSTIC and the opening ceremony of the workshop.

‘The new campus came into operation just two months ago and today’s event is the very first of its kind happening here,’ noted the Rector. He observed: ‘When we built the new campus, we’re determined to build a campus for a world-class university. One thing first-class universities have in common is that they always have first-class departments/centers in their own mother-tongue languages. We have three mother tongues here in Macao, namely Chinese, English and Portuguese. So we’re determined to build up our Faculty of Arts and Humanities, especially the Departments of Chinese, English and Portuguese. As for sciences, one of the major sciences for the 21st century is life science. So we have established the Faculty of Health Sciences dedicated to the research and teaching of life sciences. This workshop is right at the intersection of languages and life sciences. We hope such platforms will help us build a better university to serve Macao, and hopefully we will become a world-class university one day.’

Professor Ovid Jyh-Lang Tzeng, Chancellor of the University System of Taiwan, said: ‘This is the third time I am at this campus. Every time there’s new hope, there’re new possibilities on this campus. I would like to continue to see this campus grow the way we’d like it to be.’

Professor Martin Montgomery, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities remarked: ‘If language itself is complex, then how we encode – not just from meaning to form – but also recode between one form and another in real time – is possibly the most complex of all human activities. To study this process will require skills and insights from more than one discipline; so, in setting up the Centre for Studies of Translation, Interpreting and Cognition, we are creating the cross-disciplinary platform for these insights to come together. And it is especially apt, I believe, that we do so in the context of a meeting on Biological Foundations of Languages.’

Professor John Corbett, Head of the Department of English, pointed out: ‘Translation Studies has firmly established itself alongside Linguistics and Literary Studies as one of the three pillars of our department here at the University of Macao. It is extremely satisfying to me and to the department to be able to celebrate the launch of this interdisciplinary research platform in the company of scholars participating in the Workshop. Hosting international workshops of this kind is also a fantastic way of stimulating the research culture of UM.’

Introducing the aims and missions of CSTIC, Professor Yuanjian He of the English Department, who initiated the establishment of the centre, said: ‘The mission of the Centre is to probe into the underlying cognition of translation and interpreting. It is the very type of research that is directly relevant to the global effort of the 21st century trying to unveil the intriguing and mysterious workings of the brain, particularly those that have to do with language processing.’

The academic leaders presided at the ceremony also include Professor Haydn H. D. Chen, Vice-Rector of the University of Macau, Professor Xu Jie, Associate Dean of FAH, Professor William Shi-Yuan Wang, Director of the Joint Research Centre for Language & Human Complexity, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Professor Li Defeng, Director of CSTIC. 47 scholars from the United States, Spain, Israel, Finland, the Chinese Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao attended the workshop organized by UM’s newly established CSTIC, the University System of Taiwan and the Joint Research Center for Language and Human Complexity of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.   The workshop highlighted four themes: language vs gene, language & reading, language & neuroscience, and language & language impairment.