Call for Papers for a special issue of Babel (70:1)

Text and Context reconsidered within the multimodal framework

Yves Gambier (University of Turku) and Olli Philippe Lautenbacher (University of Helsinki) have asked us to forward the below call for papers for a special issue of Babel with the title “Text and context reconsidered within the multimodal framework Reconsidérer les notions de texte et de contexte dans le cadre de la multimodalité” (fortcoming in 2024).

Guest Editor Contact Details
Olli Philippe Lautenbacher
University Lecturer
University of Helsinki

Yves Gambier
Professor Emeritus
University of Turku

Call for Papers

Text has been a challenging item in Translation Studies (TS). Does a literary translator refer to the same concept of text as a conference interpreter, a technical writer, a subtitler, a localiser, a journalist? Context is also an ambiguous concept since we can find as well in TS macro-/micro-context, situation, setting, in situ, environment, landscape, location, zone, reality, nature, etc. Morevoer, the translation of multimodal disembodied texts (combining images, sound and written language) is today a growing field of activity in our digital culture. Translation occurs in the film and videogame industries, in theatre and opera, in live performances and events, and on the internet (websites, Html texts) but it is also found in all kinds of communicative situations involving accessibility-enhancing processes. This has opened up new horizons concerning the very concept of translation and has created new concrete areas of interest and investigation, such as localization, transmodal translation, fansubbing, transadaptation/transcreation, transediting, multilingual text production, etc. Is there a common notion of text and context in all the new translation practices?

There is debate over whether these newer forms of translation are a part of Translation Studies (TS), although in their own way and to different extents they all raise fundamental questions that TS has been concerned with at different stages of its development, about the scope of translation, text, meaning, the relationship between oral and written languages regarding contextualisation, and the impact of technology on our conceptualisation of translation. Nevertheless, there is an urge today to strengthen the links between Multimodal Studies (MS) and TS, although a few publications have indeed recently dealt with the topic (O’Sullivan & Jeffcote, 2013; Dicerto, 2018; Tuominen et al. 2018; Bennett, 2019; Mus & Neelsen, 2021).

TS has traditionally tackled the non-linguistic resources as merely “contextual” (Ramos Pinto & Adami, 2020). One of the major questions is how multimodal resources and their combinations are interpreted when they appear in new surroundings, at other times and/or in different social spaces. In other words, what does recontextualization involve, admitting the definition given by Bezemer and Kress: “Recontextualization is, literally, moving ‘meaning-material’ from one context, with its social organization of participants and its modal ensembles, to another, with its different social organization and modal ensembles” (Bezemer, J. & Kress, 2016: 75)? How does meaning-making take place when a visual or aural element of a document does not carry the same semiotic scope for all its recipients? To what extent do viewers share the understanding of the inherent features of a picture? What does context mean and imply when navigating on websites, social media, and other digital platforms?  

Is contextual knowledge about the “start text” (i.e., not only time and space location, origin or cultural references, but also the semiotic roles all of these elements trigger regarding the document’s purpose or its diegetic construction) or can it be solely defined within reception? Recently, the “cancel culture” movement has strongly decontextualised events, banning historical figures, historical moves, in order to recontextualise them in line with a certain ideology. What are the cues in the multimodal material which identify the context? Is contextual knowledge part of the text in the process of comprehension and translating?

The guest editors welcome papers that reflect on social semiotic approaches pertaining to the concepts of text and context within the multimodal framework of translation, with a focus on any multimodal media (film, advertisement, graphic novels, web pages, social media, and audio and/or visual arts). Potential topics include (but are not restricted to) the following:

  • How to define the notions of (multimodal) text, co-text and context?
  • How to understand on line texts, out of context?
  • What cues do we use to apprehend mediated digital news texts?
  • Text-genres used in Machine Translation (MT): To what extent does MT take into account context?
  • Optimal relevance, semiotic redundancy and semantic convergence in multimodal communication
  • What is the semiotic background knowledge in pictures (static or mobile), in sound (natural or artificial)?
  • What are the processes involved in re-contextualization?
  • What about translation unit and translation strategies in translating multimodal communication?
  • What is the relationshipbetween quality and context in multimodal translation?
  • Contextualisation and reader-friendliness in multimodal communication
  • Accessibility and multimodality
  • Corpora and multimodality. What are the constraints and the conditions to set up a corpus of multimodal texts?
  • Historical approaches to the dynamics of multimodal communication
  • (…)

To propose a paper, please send your abstract (400-500 words, excluding references) by email to both guest editors of the special issue:


Adami, E. & Ramos Pinto, S. (2020). Meaning-(re)making in a world of untranslated signs: towards a research agenda on multimodality, culture, and translation, in M. Boria, Á. Carreres, M. Noriega-Sanchéz & M. Tomalin (eds), Translation and Multimodality – Beyond Words, London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-32442-8.

Bennett, K. (ed.) (2019). Intersemiotic Translation and Multimodality. Translation Matters 1 (2), online journal.

Bezemer, J. & Kress, G. (2016). Multimodality, Learning and Communication – A social semiotic frame. London/New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-70962-0.

Dicerto, S. (2018). Multimodal pragmatics and translation: A new model for source text analysis. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-3-319-69343-9.

Mus, F. & Neelsen, S. (eds) (2021). Translation and plurisemiotic practices/Traduction et pratiques plurisémiotiques. Journal of Specialized Translation 35, January 2021, online journal.

O’Sullivan, C. & Jeffcote, C. (eds) (2013). Translating Multimodalities. Journal of Specialized Translation 20, July 2013, online journal.

Ramos Pinto, S. & Adami, E. (2020). Traduire dans un monde de signes non traduits : l’incidence de la multimodalité en traductologie. Meta, 65 (1), 9–28.

Tuominen, T., Jiménez-Hurtado, C. & Ketola, A. (eds) (2018). Methods for the Study of Multimodality in Translation. Linguistica Antverpiensa 17, online journal.

Production schedule

Deadline for submitting abstracts to the guest-editors (400-500 words, excluding references)30 November 2021
Deadline for notifying contributors on the outcome of their submissions (all accepted contributors will receive further instructions and information with their notification of acceptance)31 January 2022
Accepted authors write their articlesFebruary–December 2022
Deadline for submitting full articles (no more than 9,000 words, including footnotes, references and appendices). Detailed style guidelines available at December 2022
Submitted articles undergo a double-blind peer-reviewJanuary–March 2023
Deadline for notifying contributors on the outcome of the double-blind peer review process31 March 2023
Authors revise their articles31 March – 31 August 2023
Deadline for submitting revised versions of papers31 August 2023
Final editing by guest-editorsSeptember–October 2023
Submission of full manuscripts and accompanying documentation to permanent editorsEnd of October 2023
Publication (Babel 70 (1))Beginning of 2024

CfP for EST Panel on ‘Exploring translation policy in translation publishing’

Conveners: Paola GentileJack McMartinReine Meylaerts 

This panel seeks to explore translation policy in literary publishing settings. As a concept, translation policy has most recently been used to explore legal, institutional and administrative aspects (Meylaerts 2011), e.g., how translation policy is enacted in the European Union, or how it is used by governments to guarantee or limit citizens’ right to understand information and access public services (González Núñez & Meylaerts 2017). However, translation policy also operates in “a wide range of relatively informal situations related to ideology, translators’ strategies, publishers’ strategies, prizes and scholarships, translator training, etc.” (Meylaerts 2011, 163). In recent years, researchers working at the intersection of translation publishing and the sociology of translation have foregrounded translation policy in the literary sphere by focusing on the transnational processes and institutions involved in the publication of translated works from the ‘periphery’ (McMartin & Gentile 2020), which are often facilitated by state-sponsored institutions with clear strategies for international literary circulation and promotion (Heilbron & Sapiro 2018). This panel seeks to further explore the link between translation policy and the publishing industry, with a special focus on the selection, acquisition, production, and marketing of translated literature, the institutions facilitating the production of translated literature, and the overlapping social spheres (cultural, commercial, political) and scales (local, national, regional, global) that shape how translated literature comes into being in the contemporary, globalized book market. Relevant topics include but are not limited to:

  • Theoretical and methodological reflections on translation policy in relation to the publishing industry
  • Case studies examining the translation policy of specific publishing houses or governmental institutions, or clusters thereof
  • The role of government organizations in literary transfer to and from (peripheral) cultures and languages
  • Links between the various institutional actors involved in the publication of a translated book
  • Translation policy as it relates to literature in contexts in which censorship is practiced.


González Núñez, Gabriel, and Reine Meylaerts. 2017. Translation and Public Policy. Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Case Studies. London/New York: Routledge.

Heilbron, Johan and Gisèle Sapiro. 2018. “Politics of Translation: How States Shape Cultural Transfers” In Literary Translation and Cultural Mediators in ‘Peripheral’ Cultures, eds. Diana Roig-Sanz and Reine Meylaerts, Palgrave Macmillan, 183-208.

McMartin, Jack, and Paola Gentile. 2020. “The transnational production and reception of ‘a future classic’: Stefan Hertmans’ War and Turpentine in 30 languages”. Translation Studies 13 (3): 271–90.

Meylaerts, Reine. 2011. “Translation policy”. In Handbook of Translation Studies – Volume 1, eds. Yves Gambier and Luc van Doorslaer, 163–68. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

To submit a proposal, please follow the instructions on the official EST webpage. The deadline is 15 October.

EST Congress 2022 – Call for Papers for our thematic panel on ‘Popular music and cultural transfer’

As in earlier EST congresses, the 10th EST Congress will mainly be organized around thematic panels.  Papers can adopt various (inter)disciplinary, methodological, conceptual, professional, historical or geographical approaches relating to the concept or experience of the conference theme Advancing Translation Studies.

Below, you can find the description of a thematic panel that is organized by CETRA members Francis Mus (University of Antwerp) and Pieter Boulogne (KU Leuven), about ‘Popular music and cultural transfer’.

Popular music and cultural transfer

Conveners: Francis Mus, Pieter Boulogne

The complaint that “translations have by and large been ignored as bastard brats beneath the recognition (let alone concern) of truly serious literary scholars” (Holmes 1978, 69) has functioned more or less as the birth certificate of our discipline, but there are still “bastard brats” around that we ourselves have been overlooking. The translation of popular music, for instance, has not yet received a great deal of attention. When in the 1990s the translation of music grew into a normal object of study, canonical genres (opera, art songs) were privileged. The first studies dealing with translated popular music tended to be carried out by practitioners in the field rather than by scholars. Since two decades or so, song translation is receiving more and more academic coverage. Even so, as Lucile Desblache (2019, 27) denounces, “musical transnationalism, transculturalism and translation in the narrow (translation involving song lyrics or writings about music) or wide (transcreation or mediation of musical styles and genres) senses of the word, remain largely unexplored.” Drawing on insights from both Translation Studies and Cultural Transfer Studies, this panel aims to shed light on the various ways in which popular music, be it in the original form or in translation, spreads around the world, both historically and currently. Clearly, popular music tends to circulate and cross national borders at a very fast pace. When the lyrics are translated, the translation strategies applied to vocal music can greatly differ. In other cases, a full comprehension of the original lyrics is considered of minor importance. Sometimes, the relative inaccessibility of the song text in a given receiving community can even be advantageous to its success. Envisaging a scholarly discussion that goes beyond individual case studies and the multimodal comparison of source texts with corresponding target texts, this panel proposes to focus on the general mechanisms that are brought into play when popular music is transferred to a new cultural environment. Possible subtopics and approaches may include but are not limited to:

  • What are the similarities and differences between the transfer of popular music and the transfer of other cultural products, such as poetry?
  • What are the motives for the (non-)translation of popular songs?
  • What selection mechanisms and translation strategies are adopted for popular music?
  • What factors determine whether a translated version of a popular song is received as an autonomous cultural product?
  • What is the status of the author/translator/performer in the case of translated popular music?


DESBLACHE, Lucile. 2019. Music and Translation. New Mediations in the Digital Age. London : Palgrave Macmillan.

FRANZON, Johan. GREENALL, Annjo, K. KVAM, Sigmund. PARIANOU, Anastasia. (eds.) 2021. Song Translation: Lyrics in Contexts. Berlin: Frank & Timme.

GORLÉE, Dinda L. (ed.). 2005. Song and Significance: Virtues and Vices of Vocal Translation. Amsterdam/New York : Rodopi.

HOLMES, James S. 1978. “Describing Literary Translations: Models and Methods.” In Literature and Translation: New Perspectives in Literary Studies, edited by James S. Holmes, José Lambert & Raymond van den Broeck, 69-82. Leuven: Acco.

MINORS, Helen. (ed.) 2013. Music, text and translation. Camden : Bloomsbury.

SUSAM-SARAJEVA, Sebnem. 2008. Translation and Music. Special issue of The Translator. 14-2.

For an overview of the different thematic panels, see At the upcoming EST conference, there is also another panel dedicated to the topic of music and translation. It indicates there’s a growing scholarly interest in this fascinating research topic.

Papers presentations would comprise a presentation of 30 minutes in total, 20 minutes for presenting and 10 minutes for discussion. Papers can be submitted as part of a particular panel or as an individual presentation. Submissions to panels are highly encouraged.

A proposal should consist of name and affiliation of the paper/poster presenter(s), a title, a general description of approx. 350 words, and an essential bibliography (max. 5 publications).

Please send your proposal by October 15, 2021. Notification of paper acceptance will be given by December 20, 2021.

To submit your proposal, please follow the instructions on this EST web page.

Register for the online lectures of Brian J. Baer, the 32nd CETRA Chair Professor

Today, the 32nd CETRA Research Summer School in Translation Studies began. This year’s CETRA Chair Professor is Brian James Baer, Professor of Russian and Translation Studies at Kent State University (Ohio, US). His inspiring opening lecture, ‘The Cultural Work of Translated Texts, or Translation and the Semiotics of Culture’, will (relatively) soon be published on the blog of CETRA.

Meanwhile, you can register for his upcoming online lectures:

  • Translation and the Making of Literary History: The Cultural Work of Anthologies on Tuesday 17 August at 10.30.
  • Translation in Diasporic Communities: Is This an In-between? on Thursday 19 August at 9.00.
  • What Translation Can Do for Global Sexuality Studies on Monday 23 August at 10.15.
  • Queering Translation, or What Queer Theory Can Do for Translation Studies on Wednesday 25 August at 9.00.

You can find abstracts of these lectures and a short bio by the Chair Professor at      

Participation is free, but registration is required. To register, please send an email to our administrative administrator Steven Dewallens: 

The Martha Cheung Award for Best English Article in Translation Studies by an Early Career Scholar: Call for Applications

The SISU Baker Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, Shanghai International Studies University, is pleased to announce that the Martha Cheung Award for Best English Article in Translation Studies by an Early Career Scholar is now accepting applications for the 2021/22 round. 

The Award is established in honour of the late Professor Martha Cheung (1953-2013), formerly Chair Professor of Translation at Hong Kong Baptist University. It aims to recognize research excellence in the output of early career researchers, and since its establishment in 2018 has attracted a substantial number of high quality applications that have positioned it as one of the top awards in the field.

The Award

The award is conferred annually for the best paper published in English in the previous two-year period, and takes the form of a cash prize of 10,000 RMB (equivalent to around 1,500 USD). A certificate from the SISU Baker Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies will also be presented. The work of the award winner and any runners-up is publicized widely by the Centre and featured on the website (see


Application closing date for the 2022 Award:           31 October 2021

Announcement of award winner:                               31 March 2022

Eligibility and Submission Criteria

Applicants must have completed their PhD during the five-year period preceding the deadline for submission of applications or be currently registered for a PhD, and their article must be single-authored. The article must have been published between 30 September 2019 and 30 September 2021.

For further details of the Award, including the full set of eligibility and submission criteria, please visit the Award website at:

Call for book chapters: ‘Translation flows: Exploring networks of people, processes and products’

“Following from the 2019 Congress of the European Society for Translation Studies, we are compiling an edited volume under the provisional title Translation flows: Exploring networks of people, processes and products, to be published by John Benjamins Publishing. The book will be a peer-reviewed volume of full-length contributions showing the interconnectedness of different thematic fields in translation studies through the productive framework of networks and flows.

The 2019 Congress theme of “Living Translation” included numerous current topics, such as the role of translation in the lived experience of the Other, in fake news, mass communication, power and ideology, oral histories, the hegemony of English, accessibility, inclusivity, education, gender, and transformation, since these practices all imply, implicate or employ translation in some way. Furthermore, the interaction between translation studies and many other fields of study was also foregrounded, both in traditional links like those with linguistics, cultural studies and literature, or with more recent developments and concerns like Big Data, the Anthropocene, globalization, and the like.

A common theme that came to the fore in numerous contributions, whether as a methodological or analytical basis, or as a subject in itself, was that of “flows”, both within networks and between them. Translation and translation studies are clearly concerned with flows of languages, peoples, cultures, products, and numerous other societal and technical aspects. Furthermore, translation studies in itself is dynamic and ever-changing, fluid and flowing in its own right.

We hereby invite you to submit a chapter based on the work that links to the theme of this book.

Confirmation and abstract submission

1. Please submit your abstract to Ilse Feinauer at by no later than Monday 19 July 2021.

2. Abstract requirements:

a. Please relate your abstract clearly to the main book theme of “flows”.

b. Please include 5 keywords.

c. Length: 400-500 words (excluding references)

3. Technical requirements for chapters, including length requirements and referencing standards, will be communicated upon acceptance of your proposal.

4. Completed chapters will be expected by 30 November 2021, after which the peer review process will commence.”