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Edward Clay

Guest editor: Prof. Federico M. Federici

Interpreters and translators regularly work communicating hazards so that the recipients of information can take informed decisions on what risks they are prepared to take. Anthropological, cultural, and ethnographic studies have considered the influence of culture and ethnic backgrounds in the field of disaster risk reduction, but the impact of translation in all its modes and formats has been studied much less (see O’Brien and Federici 2019; Federici 2020). This is paradoxical as perception of risk is conditioned by emotive and cognitive responses (Ponari et al., 2015); humans avoid taking risks or engage with risks because of our evolutionary adaptive abilities (we adapt to the environment and adapt the environment to us). “People judge a risk not only by what they think about it but also by how they feel about it” (Slovic & Peters, 2006, p. 323), and we interact with risks in culture-specific ways (Appleby-Arnold et al. 2018; Cornia, Dressel, & Pfeil, 2014; Douglas & Wildavsky, 1983). Within social groups, humans frequently underestimate certain risks and over-estimate others.

Communicating risks to people, properties, and places is an act that relates to security and safety. In fact, the distinction between risks and hazards is crucial for translation and interpreting research: “The potential to harm a target such as human health or the environment is normally defined as a hazard, whereas risk also encompasses the probability of exposure and the extent of damage” (Scheer et al. 2014).

To secure the health of intercultural and multilingual populations, imminent risks, when hazards disrupt ordinary routines and a crisis erupts, must be communicated clearly. To ensure safety, information must also be trusted (Cadwell 2019). Additionally, the impact of any risk is closely linked to the vulnerability of the local populations, which is exacerbated by socio-economic and racial inequalities. Risk communication therefore is not only cultural, it is also a question of language clarity, language efficiency, and linguistic equality.

Translating hazards inherently refers to ecosystems and pertains to the increasingly devastating effects of climate change as much as to risk communication. Natural hazards are ever-changing in connection with humans’ abuse of our planet, but the risks that politicians and people are willing to take quickly alter our social, economic, and cultural vulnerabilities to such hazards and their cascading effects. Understanding risks and communicating them efficiently is crucial during the response to a disaster in a multilingual setting where interpreters are called to incredible efforts, as much as in scientific translation of papers enlarging our understanding of new phenomena that reveal the effects of climate change (Kelman 2020).

Recent publications have focused on aspects of language and culture mediation in emergency contexts (e.g. Alexander and Pescaroli 2019; Federici 2016; Federici and Declercq 2019; O’Brien and Federici 2019) and previously translation in conflict areas (e.g. Salama-Carr 2007; Tesseur 2019) and their narratives (Baker 2006). These works indicate that we have barely started investigating the relationships between risk perception and communication of hazards in superdiverse and linguistically complex societies. Interpreters and translators play significant roles that have remained under-researched. This special issue hopes to further the research agenda in connection with communicating risks and hazards and the centrality of culture, language, and society in individuals’ perception of them. The special issue invites contributions that explore translating, interpreting, and voicing risks and hazards in multimodal formats and with cross-disciplinary approaches.

Themes and topics focusing on translation, interpreting, and cross-cultural communication in relation to hazards may include but are not limited to:

  • Environmental hazards: climate change, changes to places, changes to populations, changes to cultures
  • Technological hazards: from communicating cybersecurity and attacks to telecommunications to risk perception in remote interpreting
  • Communicating health risks: local, cross-border, and global challenges
  • Financial and economic risks
  • Hazards and risks affecting professional translators and interpreters’ activities as well as those of ‘fixers’
  • Terminological challenges of translating ‘hazard’, ‘risk’, ‘security’, and ‘safety’ across distant and different legal and cultural systems
  • Accessibility, language equality, linguistic diversity, and risks
  • Infrastructural hazards and risks related to designing, devising, and deploying sophisticated translation technologies (e.g. server space, electrical consumption, HPC requirements)
  • Deontology and ethics of communicating hazards to multilingual audiences
  • Experimental research on risk perception in relation to first, second, third language and translation activity
  • Policy implications of communicating risks and hazards in multilingual contexts

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 30 October 2020

For more information, click here

Guest Editors: Dr Hannah Silvester, University College Cork & Dr Tiina Tuominen, YLE.

In the past two decades, we have seen a huge growth in research on audiovisual translation and accessibility. However, the findings of these research projects are often published in academic journals and books that are not always easily accessible to practitioners, or are not designed to address the practical implications of the research. With this special issue, we would like to offer an opportunity for practitioners to benefit from the flourishing research in the field, and for researchers to make their cutting edge AVT and accessibility research available and accessible to practitioners. The open-access Journal of Audiovisual Translation presents the perfect forum for this exchange. As Jorge Díaz-Cintas (2020: 216) has pointed out, “Striking a happy balance between [the industry and academia] is of paramount importance to safeguard the well-being of the discipline and the profession.” Indeed, Díaz-Cintas (2020: 216-217) mentions that a great deal of AVT research is informed by the industry, but there has been less activity in the opposite direction. We propose to address that shortcoming in this special issue. We invite audiovisual translation and accessibility researchers to highlight the practical significance of their work by publishing pieces that seek to answer crucial questions related to the work of audiovisual translation and accessibility professionals. We envision this special issue to demonstrate how research is useful to practitioners, how it can improve working practices and stakeholders’ experiences in the industry, and what the academic community can do to better communicate their discoveries to the professional audience. Our goal is to facilitate a dialogue between researchers and practitioners that will enrich the industry and academia alike. Through this dialogue, we hope that further avenues for collaboration and community-building can be explored. Authors should consider AVT and accessibility practitioners as their primary audience when writing their article. This will be an academic, peer-reviewed publication, but we would like the texts to be accessible to non-academics and applicable to their professional experience. We welcome contributions from all areas of AVT and accessibility studies, including, but not limited to, interlingual translation (subtitling, dubbing, surtitling, interpreting, voice over, video game localisation) and media accessibility (SDH, audio description, respeaking). The range of potentially relevant themes is broad, and could include, for example:

 the reception and use/usability of audiovisual translations and access services.;

 translation and production processes;

 the potential value of other disciplines (e.g. media studies, psychology, sociology, ethnography) in AVT and accessibility;

 AVT and accessibility policy;

 technological tools, including machine translation;

 AVT and accessibility professionals’ workflow, working contexts and conditions;

 analyses of different textual, cultural, linguistic and communicative aspects of audiovisual translations and access services;

 collaborative practices;

 studies of norms and guidelines;

 quality in AVT and accessibility.

Deadline for abstracts: 16 November 2020

For more information, click here

In no other part of the world are as many translations brought to market as in Europe. The unique diversity of languages makes translation an important tool for cultural transfer.

Digitisation, globalisation, and sociocultural influences are not only changing social and political structures. They are having profound effects on the way in which we approach language and culture, and therefore on all aspects of translation. The millennia-old art of translation is undergoing significant changes.

What types of translation are emerging from digitisation and the rise of Artificial Intelligence? How is the translator's role changing in in the face of challenges like globalisation, homogenisation and cultural diversity?

We kindly invite you to discuss these questions at our virtual web conference together with translators, cultural scientists and sociologists and thereby pay homage to the continent of translation.

For further information, please visit our website. No booking is required to take part in the web conference.

The link to access the conference livestream will be published a few days before the event on our website. 

For more information, click here

Guest Editors: Andrea Ciribuco and Anne O’Connor 

The coexistence of people in super-diverse spaces (Vertovec 2007) brings together not only different languages and cultures, but also objects: from food to clothing, from technology to books, from work tools to musical instruments. Wang (2016) notes that “the divide between people and things is perhaps the biggest ‘blind spot’ that prevents us from seeing the full picture and complexity of migration trajectories and pursuit”. Migrant objects, in fact, can take on meaning that goes well beyond their appearance and purpose: they have the power to link immediately to other parts of the world, becoming tangible proofs of the trajectories that bring people and goods around the globe. In this special issue, we intend to study the material dimension of migration, using the lens of translation to capture the role of objects in the relationship between migrants, refugees and the host community: as tools that make translation possible, as products of translation, or even as catalysts of translation.

In recent years, linguists have increasingly focused on the interaction between languages and the material contexts of interaction: studies on the ‘linguistic landscape’ have flourished (Landry and Bourhis 1997; Gorter 2013), and a growing area of research asserts the need to consider language, objects, and spaces together as a “semiotic assemblage” (Pennycook 2017; Zhu, Otsuji, and Pennycook 2017). In translation studies, the topic has received less attention, even though Littau has sparked a discussion with her 2016 paper in Translation Studies that called for greater attention to the material forms of communication and translation. The availability of specific media can influence translators, and have a concrete impact on the creation, circulation and reception of translations (Littau 2016; O’Connor 2019, 2020). The material dimensions of translation are a compelling issue for the field of translation studies as it seeks to understand not just the interaction between ‘carrier’ and translation practice, but also the interaction between humans and objects such as translation devices. The importance of translation devices for migrants is especially significant (Mandair 2019; Baynham and Lee 2019), and a growing number of studies underlines the importance of the smartphone as a machine translation device for asylum seekers (Vollmer 2018; Ciribuco 2020). For this publication, we ask scholars to engage with the study of translation tools in migratory contexts; but we also encourage them to expand their scope and think of all possible objects that constitute the tangible traces of translation:

- Tools for translation: from dictionaries to smartphones, what objects enable translation and help migrants or refugees negotiate the conditions of hospitality (see Inghilleri 2017)? How does the absence or unavailability of these tools hinder translation?
- Catalysts for translation: some objects (clothes, foods, and other artefacts) that were unmarked everyday objects in the migrants’ countries of origin can become catalysts for translation in the host community, due to features that make them unfamiliar in the new context. How are objects translated in the language and practices of the host country? Does that help them find purpose and legitimacy in the new context?
- Products of translation: this category includes not only translated books, magazines, and videos, but any object whose meaning has changed. In passing from one setting to another, the composition, purpose and functioning of an object may change, to adapt to new needs and possibly appeal to the host community. What is lost and what is gained in the process? Do objects retain their capability to mean the place where they come from?

The boundaries between these categories are obviously not clear-cut, which is why we ask all authors to reflect creatively on how their objects of choice fall within the categories. The goal is to blur the distinction between the human and the non-human, analyzing translation as a force impacting the concrete worlds that migrants and refugees inhabit. In doing so, we aim for methodological innovation, and will give precedence to works that are innovative and transformative in combining the theoretical framework of translation and interpreting studies with other disciplines such as: material culture, social semiotics, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, intercultural communication, linguistic anthropology, visual arts, biosemiotics.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 1 December 2020

For more information, click here

The Covid 19 pandemic has brought several challenges for teachers and learners in general and language teachers and students in particular. The crisis generated by the pandemic has had strong effects on public health and serious effects on education as schools have closed and teachers, students, and other staff have had to work from home. As a consequence of the lockdown measures enforced by different governments to mitigate the effects of the virus, teachers in general, and language teachers in particular, have been forced to adapt their teaching from face-to-face to online environments overnight. This unplanned and rushed move has shown the many aspects that need to be addressed for efficient and productive language teaching. Issues such as connectivity, access to technology, and willingness to use technology, as well as aspects related to designing appropriate activities and technology training, have started to emerge as challenges for language instructors and learners.

In this special issue, we seek to explore the different ways in which language teachers have overcome this challenge, what strategies they have implemented, what learning activities they are finding effective, what technological tools are being used and with what results. This special issue seeks to contribute to our understanding of how language teachers are successfully adapting their teaching practices to the online environment so the community of language teaching practitioners come out of the crisis generated by the pandemic, stronger and more informed. Authors are invited to submit research (empirical and case studies), theoretical, and methodological papers written in English or Spanish for this special issue.

Suggested topics:

  1. The use of educational technology for language teaching in times of Covid. A research perspective
  2. Pre, while, and post effects of the Covid 19 pandemic on language teaching and learning. A look at tools, strategies, task design and assessment.
  3. Teachers skills and readiness to teach languages online or mediated by technology in the new times
  4. Changes required in teacher professional development to adapt to the new times.
  5. Connectivity and other language teaching challenges for different settings and populations in the new times

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 1 December 2020

For more information, click here

This book sheds new light on translation competence and its development. After reviewing recent theoretical and empirical perspectives, the author presents the methodology and results of one of few comprehensive, longitudinal, combined process/product studies of translation competence acquisition, which has cognitive and pedagogical implications. Carried out among translation students with varying levels of foreign language proficiency before and after their first 7.5 months of translator education, the study investigates translation product quality, the strategicness of the translation process, the strategicness of external resource use, and translation principles. It also examines perceived translation difficulty and quality as well as the impact of directionality and foreign language proficiency.

For more information, click here

By Leah Gerber and Lintao Qi

This book delves into the Chinese literary translation landscape over the last century, spanning critical historical periods such as the Cultural Revolution in the greater China region. 

Contributors from all around the world approach this theme from various angles, providing an overview of translation phenomena at key historical moments, identifying the trends of translation and publication, uncovering the translation history of important works, elucidating the relationship between translators and other agents, articulating the interaction between texts and readers and disclosing the nature of literary migration from Chinese into English.

This volume aims at benefiting both academics of translation studies from a dominantly Anglophone culture and researchers in the greater China region. Chinese scholars of translation studies will not only be able to cite this as a reference book, but will be able to discover contrasts, confluence and communication between academics across the globe, which will stimulate, inspire and transform discussions in this field.

For more information, click here

Edited by Veljka Ruzicka Kenfel and Juliane House

This book comprises studies on death in Spanish, British/American and German children’s literature, cinema and audiovisual fiction; several translations from English and German into Spain are analysed. References to death were censored in Spain, as they were omitted or softened not to traumatise young readers. However, in the last twenty years, this taboo theme has been included to enable children and young adults to overcome the loss of a loved one as a necessary part of growing up. Contributions to this book show the historical development of this topic in different films and literary genres following, among others, a fantasy-mythological approach or a realist and objective one, helping children and young adults face death maturely and constructively.

For more information, click here

The focus of this year’s conference is on the challenges and opportunities opening up in an evolving translation and interpreting landscape, especially during this time of insecurity and rapid change in the profession.

For more information and registration, click here

Editors: Enza De FrancisciUniversity of Glasgow & Cristina MarinettiCardiff University

This special issue seeks to begin a discussion about the particular contexts, material conditions, and individuals that have enabled authors, texts, and performance traditions to travel through translation. Covering theatre, opera and song from a range of different languages and time periods, we aim to shed light on the contexts and networks of agents – actors, singers, singing/acting masters, censors, directors, critics, writers and translators – who have intervened in the circulation of translated texts in a range of performance cultures. While cross-cultural encounters and transnational exchanges have characterized theatre history from its inception, little attention has been paid to the agents mediating those encounters and to the multiple forms of translation they engendered. Engaging with the growing academic interest in theatre translation, this special issue aims to advance research by bringing this area into dialogue with broader discussions around world literature and the sociology of translation.

Abstracts are invited for articles exploring the translation of plays, opera and song in different time periods and performance cultures. Contributions are invited on any of the following topics (but other issues and questions are also very welcome):

  • Exploring the labour of the theatre translator and its relationship to its objects, environment and collaborators;
  • Celebrity capital and the rewriting of theatre texts: actors, directors, singing/acting masters as agents of translation;
  • Direct and indirect censorship: the role of censors and institutional gatekeepers on the selection, rewriting and circulation of foreign drama and song;
  • Uncovering theatre translation networks around the world, shedding light on how they have contributed to the process of theatre making across time;
  • The economics of drama translation: copyright, performance rights, and their impact on the translator’s visibility/invisibility;
  • Theatre archives as an alternative source of knowledge for translation research

Deadline for submissions: 21 December 2020

For more information, click here

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