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Tuesday, 15 September 2020 10:27

Call for Chapter Proposals: The Human Translator in the 2020s. Edited by Gary Massey, David Katan and Elsa Huertas Barros.

We are inviting chapter proposals for a volume entitled The Human Translator in the 2020s, to be  edited by Gary Massey, David Katan and Elsa Huertas Barros. The advance of machine translation  (MT) into the routine cognitive work hitherto done by translators creates an increasing demand for  

post-editing and related technology-led skills, but it is also opening spaces for adaptive experts able to  identify, deliver and advise on the added value of human translation and language service provision  beyond the scope of automation. Driven by evolving digital resources and socio-ethical demands, the  roles and responsibilities associated with the new and emerging profiles in the language industry are  rapidly and comprehensively transcending the traditional bounds of core activities and competences  prototypically associated with translation and interpreting. This volume will bring together a selection  of research-based and practice-oriented perspectives on the subject, shedding light on the new and  evolving roles, responsibilities and competences of the human translator in the 2020s. 

A preliminary proposal for the volume has been reviewed internally and conditionally accepted  for publication in the IATIS Yearbook series (Routledge) in 2022. The book will comprise eight to ten  chapters, plus an introduction and conclusion. Each main chapter will contain approx. 6,000 words,  including references. Chapter proposals will be reviewed by the editors. All chapters submitted at their invitation will be subject to a double-blind peer review. 


Digital transformation and demographic change are profoundly affecting the way our societies and  economies function, confronting the translation profession with challenges, but also with  opportunities. Accelerating technological developments, especially artificial intelligence, are  reshaping the way translators work, changing processes, tasking and demand structures in the  language industry. The advance of machine translation (MT) into the routine cognitive work hitherto  done by human translators has been creating an increasing demand for MT post-editing and related  technology-led skills, but it is also opening spaces for adaptive experts (Holyoak, 1991)1 able to  identify, deliver and advise on the added value of human translation and language service provision  beyond the scope of automation. Moreover, demographic developments and socio-ethical  requirements to provide inclusive, user-centred access to information and services are extending the  mediatory roles and responsibilities expected of human translators, supported by assistive  technologies, in a growing variety of contexts.  

A review of current job positions in the language industry demonstrates the proliferation of job  titles and responsibilities (Bond, 2018)2. Powered by evolving digital resources and socio-ethical  demands, the roles and responsibilities associated with these new and emerging profiles are rapidly  and comprehensively transcending the traditional bounds of core activities and competences  associated with translation and interpreting, the two key prototypes of language mediation. The  diversity of activities, roles and responsibilities is also reflected in two handbooks published this year,  the Bloomsbury Companion to Language Industry Studies (Angelone, Ehrensberger-Dow, and Massey  2020)3 and the Routledge Handbook of Translation and Technology (O’Hagan 2020)4. Localization,  transcreation, multimodal and audiovisual translation, user-centred translation, accessible barrier-free  communication, revision, pre-editing, post-editing, terminological services, linguistic intercultural  mediation, public service translation, language and communication consultancy are just some of the  areas in which the professional group (still) called translators and interpreters work. As translation and  related language mediation professions diversify, they are also increasingly converging with  professions such as organisational, technical and accessible communication, yielding new  interprofessional forms and fields of work oriented towards strategic trust- and reputation-building,  user experience and social inclusion. Yet, research on translators’ status and self-concept indicates that   

1 Holyoak, K. J. (1991) Symbolic connectionism: Toward third-generation theories of expertise. In K. A.  Ericsson & J. Smith (Eds.) Toward a General Theory of Expertise: Prospects and Limits, 301-335. Cambridge,  UK: Cambridge University Press. 

2 Bond, E. (2018) The Stunning Variety of Job Titles in the Language Industry. Slator News. Available online: undefined [accessed 20 April 2020]. 3 Angelone, E., Ehrensberger-Dow, M., and Massey, G. (Eds.) (2020) The Bloomsbury Companion to Language  Industry Studies. London: Bloomsbury Academic. 

4 O‘Hagan, M. (Ed.) (2020) The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Technology. London: Routledge.

they may be underequipped to embrace the changes, suggesting that competence profiles, role  awareness and the education that shapes them should better accommodate the added value of adaptive  human translation expertise to serve the broadening needs of a transitioning industry. 

Target audience 

The volume is intended to combine perspectives from research and practice, and should therefore  appeal to actors from both spheres. Addressing an international readership, its primary audience  consists of international translation studies scholars, intermediate to advance students of language  mediation, and language mediator educators and their institutions, all of whom/which are identifiably  affected by the increasingly rapid and widespread shifts taking place in the language industry in  general, and the translation profession in particular. The secondary audience comprises professional  practitioners and language managers working across the transitioning global language industry.  


Chapter proposals are invited on relevant research, practice, theory and/or pedagogy related, but not  limited, to 

- Modes and forms of value-added human translation (e.g. inclusive/accessible and/or  multilingual text design and production, transcreation, co-creation, intercultural mediation) - (Re-)Positioning the human translator in complex sociotechnical environments and/or at the  interface with assistive technologies 

- Evolving translator roles and responsibilities 

- New translator competences, profiles and/or their development 

- New approaches to human translation in translator education 

- New practices, workflows and/or (quality) processes centred on human translation  - Value-adding interprofessional convergence and interfaces (e.g. with organisational  communication, strategic communication, corporate communications, usability, technical  communication, inclusive/accessible communication) 

Deadline for submission of proposals: 31 October 2020

For more information, click here

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