Call for Papers: Special issue of Target on indirect translation

Our two alumni, Hanna Pięta & Laura Ivaska, and a former member of our Summer School teaching staff, Yves Gambier, are organizing a special issue of Target (2022) on indirect translation. Submissions are now welcome!

Call for Papers


Special Issue of Target (2022)

What can indirect translation research do for Translation Studies?

Guest-edited by Hanna Pięta (University of Lisbon), Laura Ivaska (University of Turku) and Yves Gambier (University of Turku & Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University)

Call for papers
Indirect translation — understood broadly as a translation of a translation (Gambier 1994), and encompassing also relay interpreting — is an age-old practice (e.g., translation of the Bible, I Ching, Shakespeare, or the activity of the so-called Toledo School). It was and still is practiced in all four corners of the world and in myriad areas of society (Gambier and Stecconi 2019). What is more, the practice seems to be here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. For example, increasing global connectivity and transnational mobility of people and commodities often lead to situations where there is a sudden need to translate from a given language but there are not enough qualified translators working from this language to meet the demand. In such situations, translators are often expected to translate specifically for the purpose of further translation or from an already translated text, thereby actively engaging in the indirect translation process (Leppänen 2013; Davier 2014; Ustaszewski 2018). As a subfield of research, indirect translation is still relatively young. As shown in a recent bibliometric survey (Pięta 2017), systematic studies specifically focused on indirect translation date back to the mid-2000s. Most published studies are historically oriented (e.g., hardly ever covering the 21st century) and limited to literary translation (and to a far lesser extent, conference interpreting). They cover only a handful of linguistic and geographic areas (mostly in Europe, Asia and South America), look mainly at one platform, mode and medium through which indirect translation is carried out (the book), and are often heavily anchored in the equivalence or cultural turn paradigms. The opportunities for growth of indirect translation research are therefore vast, as is the potential of what is still a niche subfield to contribute to the development of Translation Studies in general. First, while looking into the complex source-mediating target text/language/culture situations, indirect translation research stresses the complex tripartite nature of many translation processes (Ivaska and Huuhtanen[submitted], Maia et al. 2018), thereby challenging the “exclusive, binary and unidirectional relationship between source text and target text” that characterizes the standard Western model of translation (Delabastita 2008, 239). Second, as instances of indirect translation can be found in many different forms and manifestations of translational phenomena, it can be conveniently used as a bridge concept that enhances the interconnection between different branches of the largely fragmented Translation Studies and, as such, promotes the ideal of consilience (Chesterman 2017). Third, since indirect translation research inquires into issues like the genealogies and circulation of texts and ideas, power struggles among dominant and dominated cultures and groups, or the implications of central language/culture mediation (to mention just a few key issues, cf. Assis Rosa et al. 2017), it may open up useful entry points for interaction with other disciplines that also ask questions about these matters. Last, research on indirect translation is likely to add complexity to ongoing debates in Translation Studies related to some of the main concerns of the world we live in — such as inaccessibility, inequality, language domination, migration crises — as they often imply or employ indirect translation in one way or the other (Pięta 2019).

This special issue wants to unleash and showcase this potential. The guest-editors therefore welcome conceptual and empirical contributions that work towards this aim. Potential topics include but are not restricted to:

  • rethinking basic concepts of Translation Studies through the lens of indirect translation (e.g., source text and target text, author and translator, original and translation, center and periphery, equivalence, direct translation)
  • core features or patterns of indirect translation verifiable across different translation domains (e.g., audiovisual, machine, specialized translation; community interpreting, audio-description, localization, transcreation,
  • indirect translation in other fields and disciplines (e.g., adaptation studies, forensic linguistics, gender studies, development studies, multilingual studies, international business studies, etc.)
  • indirect translation and hot topics in Translation Studies (e.g., social media, big data, multilingual crisis communication, etc.).

Preference will be given to contributions that address the abovementioned aim by tapping into recent methodological and theoretical developments in Translation Studies, covering present-day instances of indirect translation, and/or providing insights into still largely unexplored platforms, modes, media, geographic areas (e.g., Africa, Australia, the Middle East) or language mediation settings (e.g., the marketplace, international trains, museums, language classrooms).

To propose a paper, please send your abstract (700-800 words, excluding references) by email to all the guest-editors of the Special Issue:

  • Hanna Pięta (University of Lisbon):
  • Laura Ivaska (University of Turku):
  • Yves Gambier (University of Turku & Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University):



  • Assis Rosa, Alexandra, Hanna Pięta, and Rita Bueno Maia, eds. 2017. Indirect Translation: Theoretical, Methodological and Terminological Issues. Special issue of Translation Studies 10 (2). London: Routledge.
  • Chesterman, Andrew. 2017. “Towards Consilience.” Reflections on Translation Theory: Selected Papers 1993–2014, 35–41. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Davier, Lucile. 2014. “The Paradoxical Invisibility of Translation in the Highly Multilingual Context of News Agencies.” Global Media and Communication 10 (1): 53–72.
  • Delabastita, Dirk. 2008. “Status, Origin, Features: Translation and Beyond.” Beyond Descriptive Translation Studies: Investigations in Homage to Gideon Toury, edited by Anthony Pym and Miriam Shlesinger, 233–246. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Gambier, Yves. 1994. “La retraduction, retour et détour.” Meta 39 (3): 413–417.
  • Gambier, Yves, and Umberto Stecconi, eds. 2019. A World Atlas of Translation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Ivaska, Laura, and Suvi Huuhtanen. (submitted). “Beware the Source Text: Five (Re)translations of the Same Work, But from Different Source Texts.” Meta.
  • Leppänen, Saara. 2013. “A Case in Translation Archaeology: Explanatory Peritexts in Finnish Translations of Japanese Literature.” New Horizons in Translation Research and Education 1, edited by Nike Pokorn and Kaisa Koskinen, 45–59. University of Eastern Finland: Joensuu.
  • Maia, Rita Bueno, Hanna Pięta, and Alexandra Assis Rosa. 2018. “Unleashing the Potential of Indirect Translation.” Poster presented at the International Conference on Publishing in Translation Studies. September, KU Leuven, campus Antwerp.
  • Pięta, Hanna. 2017. “Theoretical, Methodological and Terminological Issues in Researching Indirect Translation: A Critical Annotated Bibliography.” Translation Studies 10 (2): 198–216.
  • Pięta, Hanna. 2019. “Indirect Translation: Main Trends in Practice and Research.” Special issue of baltijskij accent 10 (1): 21–31.
  • Ustaszewski, Michael. 2018. “Tracing the Effect of Pivot Languages in Indirect Translation.” Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies Conference, Louvain-la-Neuve, 12–14 September, 2018, edited by Sylviane Granger, Marie-Aude Lefer and Laura Aguiar de Souza Penha Marion, 174–176. CECL Papers 1. Louvain-la-Neuve: Université Catholique de Louvain.

For more information, see this link.

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